Thank you for joining me for part four, where I discover that hidden in every struggle, is a blessing.
I trotted beneath the setting sun, energized by the smell of water. After a short time, I came to a massive hole in the riverbed which had been dug by nearby villagers. I went close to the edge and peered in. There was a metal drum inside, with no top or bottom. From what I could see this allowed water to seep in, so the people from the village could collect it.
I inched closer, overwhelmed by thirst. But the sand was like quicksand, and I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper, until it was almost up to my belly! Frightened, I tried to turn, but the sand was loose, and my hind legs fell into the drum. Deeper and deeper, I sank until my front legs hooked over the top of the drum.
My whole body tensed, and I tried to bray, but nothing came out. My ribs stung, and I struggled to breathe.
What felt like an eternity passed. Darkness fell and there was nothing but starlight, the occasional hoot of an owl, and endless pain. I drifted in and out of sleep, dreaming of mum and happy times with our owner.
At last, the sun rose over the horizon. By this stage though I could barely move a muscle and my back ached so much!
Suddenly, I heard something close, and moments later a man peered into the hole. Well, you can just imagine the look on his face when he saw a donkey stuck in the drum! For a minute he stood with his mouth open, eyes as wide as my feed bowl. Then he dropped his bucket, which nearly hit me, turned, and ran off! I tried to call out to him, but still nothing came out.
I was in luck though, for a while later a group of people from the village arrived carrying ropes. They tied one rope round my neck and the men standing at the top of the hole started to pull. But my body didn’t budge. Only a loud screech came from me, at the pain from my broken ribs. At least I had my voice back! The men realized they were getting them nowhere, so they sent some of the others to get more help.
A man and a lady arrived, and they organized and explained what should be done. Three strong men grasped my front legs, the others with ropes started to pull, and eventually I was hauled out and I lay in a crumpled heap.
I wished I could wake up. Have mum lick my face and tell me this was all a bad dream.
I gulped, and as I looked around me, I had to accept this wasn’t a dream and mum wouldn’t be coming back.
Most of the people had to get on with their days work as the sun was high in the sky and it was getting hotter by the minute. Fortunately, the lady stayed to look after me. She knelt next to me with a small bucket and encouraged me to raise my head and take a few sips. I wasn’t allowed to have too much, in case my tummy got sore.
Her soft voice comforted me, and after a while I managed to stand up. I took a few shaky steps, then sipped more water. A child from the village gathered seed pods and fed them to me. Though I was still in a lot of pain, I began to feel a sense of hope again. The kind lady led me slowly to a safe place where she and the man with her were staying, and this became my home for a while.
After a few days of food, water, and tender loving care, I was on the
road to recovery. My ribs were still very sore though, and the bruising would take time to heal.
I learnt that the lady and man were visitors to the area. They were teachers too and were helping the local people learn how to care for their donkeys.
They took photos of me and showed them to nearby villagers, seeing if they could find my owner.
In a village just a few kilometres away, a young man was quite beside himself
because he had lost his two donkeys. He heard the lady and man were asking if anyone had lost a donkey, and his hopes rose. It was worth a shot! He went to visit the lady and man to see.
When he saw me, an enormous smile spread across his face. I let out a loud bray and stumbled over to him as fast as I could. He rubbed his hand on my nose, so happy to have found one of his donkeys. I felt sad he would never know what happened to mum. Oh, how I missed her!
I stayed with the lady and the man for a few more days until they were sure I would make a full recovery. Every day my owner brought food and was taught animal care.
When they found me in the drum, the lady and man said I was lucky and my story travelled fast – I was the lucky donkey who had been pulled out of the well.
Boy oh boy was I pleased when my owner changed my name. I was Lucky, the famous donkey. How proud mum would have been.