Monday, November 17, 2014

Der störrische Esel und die süße Distel

Monday, November 17, 2014
oldbearnews editor

Der störrische Esel und die süße Distel

(Karl Heinrich Waggerl)

loosely translated by Reinhold Muller

The stubborn donkey and the sweet thistle:

When St. Joseph in a dream was told that he had to flee from the wickedness of Herod and his family, in this evil hour the angel awakened the donkey in the stable. "Get up!" he said condescendingly. "You may carry the Virgin Mary with the Lord to Egypt." The donkey did not like that. He was not a very pious ass, but rather a little stubborn in mind. "Can you do this not yourself?" he asked sullenly. "You have wings, and I have to haul anything on my back! Why to Egypt, it is so far away!"
"Safety first!" said the angel, and that was one of the sayings that must be obvious even to a donkey. When he trotted out of the barn and got to see what Joseph had collected as cargo for him to carry, the bedding for the new mother and a pack of diaper's for the baby, the little box with the gold from the kings and two bags of frankincense and myrrh, a loaf of cheese and a smoked meat, the rod of the shepherd, the water hose, and ultimately Mary herself and the well-fed boy, he immediately began again grumbling and went on and on. And truly no-one understood him except the baby Jesus. "Always the same," he said, "with the poor beggars! With nothing they came, and already they have a load for two pair of oxen together. I'm not a hay wagon," said the donkey, but he looked like one, as Joseph took him by the halter, you hardly could see the hooves. The ass arching his back to push around the load in order to evenly re-distribute the load, and then he ventured a step carefully, because he thought that the tower would collapse on him as soon as he put one foot ahead. But strangely, suddenly he felt wonderfully light on his feet, as if he'd been carried himself, he danced almost over every rock and branch into the darkness.
Not long, and that annoyed him again. "Will you mock me?" he growled. "Am I not the only donkey in Bethlehem, which can carry four bags of barley at once?" In his anger he suddenly put his legs in the sand and went a step no more from the site. "If he beats me even now," thought the donkey bitterly, "then he has all his stuff lying in the ditch!" Alas, Joseph did not hit him. He reached under the bedclothes and looked for the ears of the Donkey, to scratch him in-between. "Run a little more," said St. Joseph gently, "we rest soon!" Then the donkey sighed and sat back in trot. "This is meant to be a great saint," he thought, "and does not even know how to drive a donkey!" By now it was day, and the sun was burning hot. Joseph found a thicket, which was dry and thorny in the desert, in his meagre shade he wanted to rest Maria.  He unloaded and made a fire to cook a soup, the donkey saw it full of distrust. He waited for his own food, but only so he could despise it. "I'd rather eat my tail", he muttered, "than your dusty hay!" However, there was no hay, not even a mouthful of straw, for St. Joseph in his concern for his wife and child had forgotten it totally. Immediately, the donkey got an irrepressible hunger. He let his bowels growl so loud that Josef to be looked horrified, because he thought a lion was sitting in the bush. Meanwhile, the soup was cooked, and all of them ate, Mary ate some, and Joseph spooned down the rest, and the child drank at his mother's breast, and only the donkey stood there and had not a single blade of grass to chew. The only thing growing were some thistles in the rubble. "My Lord!" said the donkey angry and sent a long speech to the baby Jesus, a donkey talk, but truly astute and uncommonly clear in all, what was the suffering creature to complain before God. "I A   he cried at the end, that is:"as I am a donkey" The child listened to everything attentively. When the donkey was finished, it bent down and broke a thistle stalk, which it offered to him. "Good!" he said, offended to the core.
"So I just eat a thistle!" But in thy wisdom thou shalt foresee what will happen then. The spines will puncture my belly, so that I must die, and then you see how you travel to Egypt!" Furious, he bit into the hard herb, and immediately his mouth was open. Because the thistle tasted absolutely not, as he had expected, but after the sweetest honey clover, after spiciest vegetables. No one can imagine something so delicious, unless you would be a donkey. For this time the Donkey forgot all his resentment. He put his long ears reverently together, which means with a donkey as much, as if we fold our hands in prayer.

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