The Donkey in the Well

The parable of the donkey in the well is like all parables; its purpose is to teach a life lesson. Parables have been used for teaching valuable lessons for eons. Here is the parable of the Donkey in the Well or The Donkey and the Miner or The Donkey and the Farmer or...

One day a miner was returning from his mine with his donkey. The miner relied on his donkey to earn his living and they had been working together for many years. Six days a week the miner would arise with the sun, pack some food and his tools and head up into the hills with his donkey. At the end of the long day he and his donkey would return with the ore he had collected from his mine that day. He would store the ore in a barn and then once a month would load up a wagon, hitch his donkey to it and go to the market where he would sell his ore. It was a routine he and his donkey had been doing together for years.

One particular day, the miner was more tired than usual, hadn’t been feeling well, and wasn’t really paying attention to where they were going as he and his donkey made their journey down the mountain and through the village to their home out beyond the village center. His donkey as always simply had is head down and kept on walking. They weren’t far from their humble home when suddenly, the miner heard his donkey let out a tremendous bray. Without realizing it, the miner had wandered off the path and his donkey fell into an old well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the miner tried to figure out how he was going to get his donkey out of there. Finally, as much as the idea pained him, he decided the animal was old, probably he should be getting a new younger donkey, and the well needed to be covered up anyway, so he decided to get a couple of his neighbors to come over and help him bury his poor, old donkey and fill in the old well at the same time. The neighbors grabbed a shovel and came to help. Of course, in a small village word got out and everyone turned out to see the donkey in the well. The entire village watched as they began to shovel dirt into the old well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. The sound of the donkey crying piteously sickened the miner, but he simply kept shoveling as he couldn’t think of any other possible solution. Then, to everyone’s amazement, the donkey quieted down.

...the donkey was doing something amazing, something unimaginable.

The Donkey in the Well: the Amazing and Unimaginable

Those shoveling kept on shoveling and never really let the sudden silence sink-in so they didn’t stop the shoveling. There was one lad though who had to investigate. Out of curiosity one of the neighbors sons inched forward and looked down into the well. The boy cried out, “Dad! Dad! Look what the donkey is doing.” His father stopped along with a couple of the other men who were shoveling and they too peered into the well. What they saw caused them all to smile and shake their head in dismay. The boy’s father exclaimed, “Well, what do you think about that? Keep shoveling men, keep shoveling!” The miner was stupefied but couldn’t bring himself to look into the well as he was afraid of what he would see. He simply gave a puzzled look to the his neighbor who just smiled at him and said, “Keep shoveling.”

What was happening down in the well? With each shovel of dirt that hit the donkey’s back, the donkey was doing something amazing, something unimaginable. He would shake off the dirt and take a step up. As the miner’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. It wasn’t too long when to everyone’s amazement the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

What lessons can we learn from this parable of the donkey in the well? How does it speak to mindset? Have you ever felt like the donkey in the well?

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