An Aesop fable re-told by Andrew Wright
There was once a donkey who lived on a farm with her mother and father. She was a happy little donkey and she was healthy and beautiful. The grass in the field was very green and very good.
In the forest, next to the farm there was an old lion. He was ill and he was not strong. He was very hungry.
A fox looked after the lion. The fox was the lion’s nurse. One day the lion said, ‘Nurse, I haven’t eaten any meat for a long time. Please find me some meat.’
‘Don’t worry, master,’ said the fox, ‘There’s a fat, young donkey in the farm next to the forest. You can eat her. I will bring her to you.’
The fox went through the forest to the farm. He looked at the young donkey in the field. ‘Oh, my master is right! You are so beautiful! So beautiful!’
The little donkey was happy. She smiled. ‘Who is your master?’ ‘My master is the lion. He wants you to come to see him in the forest. He wants to look at you and to talk to you.’
‘Oh, no! I mustn’t go into the forest. I mustn’t go to a lion’s home! It is too dangerous!’
‘Oh, don’t worry little donkey! My master is very ill and he cannot run and jump anymore. He just wants to look at you because you are so beautiful.’
So the fox opened the gate and lead the little donkey into the forest. The lion saw the little donkey. ‘Oh, you are so beautiful! Come a little closer so I can see you better.’
The little donkey went closer to the lion and then he jumped. Well, he tried to jump but he was not very good at jumping, anymore. He scratched the little donkey. The little donkey turned around and kicked him and she ran back home through the forest to the field. She was very upset.
The lion was angry and very hungry. He dreamt about the fat and beautiful little donkey. Day and night, day and night, day and night, he dreamt about her. He wanted to eat her.
‘Nurse! Try to bring the little donkey again. Tell her, I love her. Tell her, I dream about her. Tell her, I am sorry I gave her a shock. Tell her, I only wanted to kiss her! Tell her, she is the most beautiful animal in the forest!’
So the fox went to the little donkey again. ‘Little donkey! The lion is so sad! The lion is so sorry! He dreams about you! He loves you! He only wants to look at you! Please come and see him! Perhaps these are his last days!’
The little donkey was very kind. She was sorry for the lion. ‘Alright, I will come but the lion must not jump at me again!’
‘No, of course not!’ said the fox. ‘He knows he must only look at you.’
So the fox opened the gate and lead the little donkey into the forest.
The lion saw the little donkey. ‘Oh, you are so beautiful! But my eyes are not very good! Come a little closer so I can see you better. Come a little closer! Come a little closer! Come a little closer! Got you!’
And the lion ate the little donkey.
I have re-told this fable so that it is easy to tell to a class of children. I have used everyday language and in short sentences. Also I have thought about how the teller can act so that the meaning of each sentence is understood by the children. And, of course, the children can act it out, easily.
It is a very nasty theme: learning not to trust the smooth words of a stranger. We may want to keep nastiness away from our children. But most of us agree that immunisation is necessary to protect our children.
I see stories, like this one, as immunisation.