This is the story of The Washerman’s Donkey. The moral is to never fall for the same trick twice.
Warning – the moral is brought home in quite an unsentimental way!
A hare arranges for a donkey to marry a lion – of course it is a trick because the lion wants to eat the donkey.
Read by Richard Scott. Lightly adapted from George Bateman’s Zanzibar Tales 1901. Proofread by Jana Elizabeth If you have heard our tale about the Monkey and the Shark, you will know that the monkey has said that he is nothing like the washerman’s donkey. The shark is very keen to hear the story that explains why that might be so. So are you curious too? Here is the story that the monkey told to the shark about The Donkey and the Lion.
A washerman owned a donkey, of which he was very fond. One day however, it ran away, and made its home in the forest, where it led a lazy life, and grew very fat.
One day Sungura, the hare, passed that way, and saw Punda, the donkey.
Now, the hare is the most cunning of all beasts – if you look at his mouth you will see that he is always talking to himself about everything.
So when Sungura saw Punda, he said to himself: “My, this donkey is fat!” Then he went and told Simba, the lion.
Simba had hurt his leg, and he was still so weak that he could not go hunting. He was pretty hungry.
Sungura called out: “Hey Simba, I’ll bring enough meat tomorrow for both of us to have a great feast, but you’ll have to do the killing.”
“All right, good friend,” exclaimed Simba, joyfully. “You’re very kind.”
So the hare scampered off to the forest, found the donkey, and said to her, in his most courtly manner: “Miss Punda, I am sent to ask your hand in marriage.”
“By whom?” simpered the donkey.
“By Simba, the lion.”
The donkey was greatly elated at this, and exclaimed: “Let’s go at once. This is a first-class offer.”
They soon arrived at the lion’s home, were cordially invited in, and sat down.
Sungura gave Simba a signal with his eyebrow, to signal that this was the promised feast, and that he would wait outside. Then he said to Punda: “I must leave you for a while to deal with some private business. You stay here and converse with your husband that is to be.”
As soon as Sungura got outside, the lion sprang at Punda, and they had a great fight. Simba was kicked very hard, and he struck with his claws as well as his weak health would permit him. At last the donkey threw the lion down, and ran away to her home in the forest.
Shortly after, the hare came back and called: “Haya! Simba! Have you got it?”
“I have not got it,” growled the lion. “She kicked me and ran away, but I warrant you I made her feel pretty sore, though I’m not strong.”
“Oh well,” remarked Sungura. “Don’t put yourself out about it.”
Then Sungura waited many days, until the lion and the donkey were both well and strong, when he said: “What do you think now, Simba? Shall I bring you your meat?”
“Ay,” growled the lion fiercely. “Bring it to me. I’ll tear it to pieces!”
So the hare went off to the forest, where the donkey welcomed him and asked the news.
“You are invited to call again and see your admirer,” said Sungura.
“Oh dear!” cried Punda. “That day you took me to him, he scratched me awfully. I’m afraid to go near him now.”
“Ah, pshaw!” said Sungura. “That’s nothing. That’s only Simba’s way of caressing.”
“Oh well,” said the donkey, “let’s go.”
So off they started again, but as soon as the lion caught sight of Punda he sprang on her and ate her up.
And that was the story of The Lion and the Donkey. When Kima the monkey had finished telling it to Papa the shark, he said:
“Are my ears long? Are my eyes dull? Do I have a tail like a switch of dusty old creepers? In short, do I look like a donkey to you?”
And Papa the shark had to admit that Kima looked nothing like Punda the donkey. He realised from this tale that the monkey was not one to fall for the same trick twice, and he swam out to sea understanding that his cause was lost.
In our story, the Monkey and the Shark, the monkey told the shark that he was nothing like ‘The Washerman’s Donkey’.