This part of my story begins at the riverbank, where I was grazing on dry stalks with some of my donkey friends. My owner was snoozing beneath a tree, leaving us to our own devices. There was so little grass we could barely find a mouthful. Frustrated and hungry, we moved along the bank seeking more. After a while we arrived at a place where the river narrowed, and we paused to look across at the long brown grass which stretched into the distance beneath scattered bushes and the occasional tree. We didn’t need convincing. In a few strides we were there, and oh boy did it feel good to get a full mouthful of food at last! But our joy was short lived.
The sound of men’s voices seemed to come from nowhere. I lifted my head and snorted loudly to warn my friends. As the voices grew louder, we trotted towards a group of bushes and hid, watching warily as a large group of men gathered by the edge of the river. They were carrying things made of metal and wire and were putting them in the sand. It seemed they were tying things to the grass as well.
It felt as though they were there forever, but eventually they finished their task and walked back the way they had come. As they did, I caught a glimpse of a dead animal under one of the men’s arms. They were laughing, joking amongst themselves and patting each other on the back.
As soon as they were out of sight we came out of hiding, curious to see what they had been doing. Strangely, we found the sand undisturbed and the grass as straight as ever, so we lowered our heads and continued to eat.
Suddenly there was a snapping sound, followed by a donkey’s scream. I’d never heard anything like it in my life! I spun on my heels and leapt forwards into a gallop, closely followed by my friends. I thought we’d be out of there in a flash, but something caught on my back leg. I kicked out, hoping to free myself, however whatever it was only tightened its grip and slowed me down.
My owner, wakened by the sound of thundering hooves, came rushing towards us. I swerved to avoid knocking him down and ground to a halt. My friends stopped with me, and we stood, sides heaving from running with full bellies. It was then that I noticed blood dripping from one of my friend’s noses. I looked more closely and to my horror saw part of her nose was missing! No wonder she had screamed in pain!
My owner came over to me and ran his hands gently over my stressed and sweaty body, slowly making his way towards my hind leg which by now was aching. I turned my head and saw a wire noose just above my fetlock. Blood oozed around it, but the strange thing was I couldn’t feel my hoof.
Softly whispering words of encouragement, my owner wrapped his arm over my neck and began to walk me home. My poor friend walked next to me, and we all began the slow and painful journey back.