The Horse and The Donkey


The horse was always much too sure of himself, so it was no surprise at all when he was the first to place a bet on the upcoming marathon.  It was an annual tradition for all the horses in the barn to secretly gather around the farmer’s window to watch the humans run long distances for glorious prizes. The horses had never let anyone in on this betting secret, nor did they plan on doing so. This particular year, however, was different.

It was two weeks before the marathon, and the horses were going wild with excitement, taking and placing bets, praying for their own success and hoping for others to get unlucky. Though their elation was evident, the other barn animals took no notice of it, because they were usually the liveliest of all the animals. However, one certain animal knew. He had known for years, but had never mentioned it, for fear of the teasing and exclusion he would face. This animal was a donkey, and was always being laughed at by the horses, as he was not a proper horse, however much he may look like one. This year, he had finally gathered his courage, and had devised a plan for him to finally be included.

He walked up to the crowd of horses during lunch, with the shy trot that he had adopted ever since the horses had started bullying him. A small cough interrupted the laughter of the horses, and they all turned around of to see the small form of the donkey. The largest horse let out a laugh,

“What do you want, runt?”

“I know about the marathon bets. I want to participate in your betting this year,” he said, after taking a deep breath.

“You? Participating in our betting? Our annual bets are only for us real horses! These marathons are unpredictable. We all know you will lose. Are you prepared to lose everything?”

“I don’t want to bet on the marathon. I want to bet on you,” Donkey said calmly. The horses looked at him in shock and wonder.

“I bet that you will lose everything on betting on this marathon. If I am right, you have to give me everything that you have bet. If I am wrong, then all my food shares go to you.” With that, Donkey walked away. He didn’t have to stay and wait for them to make the deal, for he already knew that they would accept. No one in the barn would be able to refuse the offer of extra food shares, as they never had very much to eat. The horses would be thinking now that he was going to lose everything. And they were right.

The horse that Donkey had bet on was an extremely old horse. Though he wasn’t the nicest horse, he was wise, and Donkey knew that he was obviously going to be correct on his bet. You see, the farmer’s cat had heard him and his wife talking about sending the horse to the glue factory in three weeks time, right after the marathon. While the other animals were relieved to be rid of him, no matter how cruel it was, Donkey didn’t feel that it was right. He was going to make Horse’s last moments on earth as enjoyable as possible, despite the fact that the horses had never been kind to him in any way. He was just had a naturally kind and forgiving personality.

Two weeks passed, and on the day of the marathon, the horses gathered around the farmer’s house to watch it on the television. Donkey followed as well, sitting down behind the bushes, so he would be well out of Horse’s way, but still able to know what was going on. He sat there for ours, listening to the occasional cheers of victory and yells of frustration. At last, there was the sound of a huge uproar, hooves were stamping on the ground and loud yells rang through the air. Donkey peeked out of the bush, and saw that the marathon had ended. He slowly made his way up to them, being careful not to be trampled by the stamping hooves.

“Well?” he said in a timid voice. Horse turned to him, an obvious smirk on his face.

“Looks like you’ll be going hungry, runt.” All the horses let out laughs and jeers clearly delighted at the donkey’s loss. They were too busy laughing, however, to notice that Donkey was smiling.

Everyday for the following week, during breakfast, lunch and dinner, Donkey would walk over to the horses’ table, bringing with him the food that he had received from the farmer on that day, and give the food to Horse. And everyday, Horse would say “Thank you” in a mock grateful voice. Donkey never responded. While the horses would laugh at his misfortune, but little did they know that Donkey didn’t care that he was hungry. He knew he would get his food back in a few days, so he was glad to help Horse gain more food.

The day had come. The farmer walked into the barn early in the morning, and tied a thick rope around the neck of the old horse. He started to pull him away, and Horse turned his head in the direction of the donkey. He saw Donkey’s lips move, forming the silent words,

“You’re welcome.”

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