The Good Sambaran Donkey

A life lesson waiting at the side of the road.

Donkey by Fence.pixabay PD.AnnaER 201570

Photo credit: AnnaER (public domain)


Marna offered her hand.  “Up you go.”

“But…”  The old woman frowned at her muddy rags.

“You shouldn’t walk another step on that foot.”  Marna hoisted her onto the donkey.  “First healing, then supper.”

“You’d do that for a stranger?”

Marna gazed ahead.  “When I was young, my father fell ill at market.  I carried both our baskets, practically carrying him too.  Nobody helped.  They thought him drunk, perhaps, or plagued.”  She shrugged.  “A donkey approached and nudged my father.  Finding no owner, I put him on her back.

“I returned the donkey immediately, fearing her owner’s wrath.  A man called to her.  ‘Anagra, was this girl good to you?’  When Anagra nuzzled me, he smiled, saying, ‘She likes helping.’  He even gave me food for my father.”

The old woman nodded.  “So, a role model for being selfless.”

“Both of them.  See how lightly Cara here carries another’s burden?  When I die, I only hope Sambar judges me to be as worthy as my donkey.”

Marna scratched Cara’s chin.  Cara sniffed, and walked on.

Submitted for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers photo prompt challenge.  Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting it!  Click here to see other stories, or to submit your own.  Here’s the original photo prompt (I figured a donkey by the side of the road was the closest I could get in Eneana!):

Bike for FFfAW

Photo from

24 thoughts on “The Good Sambaran Donkey

    • Thanks – glad you liked it! And glad the donkey is close enough too. I tried SO hard to find a photo of a donkey standing next to a wall, like the bike in the photo, and just came up blank!


  1. This is a very good story. Almost a parable. I think in your store you indicate that more people should be like that donkey and the man who helped her father. It’s sad though, people don’t stop to look around against the hub-bub and noise. No one stops to look and see what is happening for real. I’m glad that this lady is helping the old women the same way she was helped. Do unto others . . . Great writing!


    • I was thinking of it like a parable, glad that came across! I figure this is an early version of a story that becomes canon for the Sambaran religion. I’m trying to mix up the symbolism so that my religions don’t sound too much like real ones, and it makes sense really that donkeys could be considered noble, generous animals — especially in this part of the world, where they don’t (yet) have horses yet and donkeys are incredibly important to their economy.

      I also feel like I’ve been only showing the negative side of the Sambarans in recent stories, and they do have this deep commitment to helping the poor and unfortunate — they run all the free schools and soup kitchens, for instance.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It reminded me of when Jesus was carried on a Donkey on Palm Sunday in Christianity. It is symbolic bc it shows he is a regular guy who came for the poor and down trodden, not someone who was like the earthly kings of the time. Interesting that you are creating your own religion. I guess all religions have similarities.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly the frustrating part, really. There’s hardly anything you can put in your made-up religion that isn’t already in some real-world religion or another! My best bet seems to be to mix them up in different combinations — but of course they still have to make some sense combined that way.


    • Thank you, glad you think so! Yes, I’ve been writing some pretty sad pieces lately (including some dark spots in my novel, which won’t make it to this blog for quite a while), so I thought it would be nice to write something a little more hopeful and positive this time! Probably back to doom and gloom and death the next prompt, we’ll see. 😉


  2. This is a lovely story, Joy, with such a great message. The act of selflessnes described is appropriate to people of any time or place and of any religion or age – whether it involves a good Sambaran donkey, good Samaritan…or whatever. The dialogue is excellent, as is the way your characters are depicted. Very nicely done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your high praise, Millie! This is one of those that got me frustrated, having to cut down to fit into the word count, so when I read it I see all the description that’s missing and the dialogue that seems too clipped to me. It’s so nice to hear that it works well as it is.


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