If you are a Catholic and you also have the added grace which God gives to those who keep His donkeys, there is no better start to Palm Sunday than looking at your donkeys and wondering which of them Jesus would have chosen to ride into Jerusalem.
Rubí is a very contemplative spiritual donkey but undoubtedly too awkward to be ridden, and she would have stopped to eat all the palms put down on the road, thereby ruining the whole occasion by delaying Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem. Morris is a very strong donkey and could have easily borne the Saviour on his bull-like back, but he would have spent the entire journey trying to draw the attention of the crowd to himself, becoming the whole focus of attention, thereby undermining the saving mission of the Messiah. Aitana would simply have turned around and gone in the opposite direction, probably in the direction of Jordan, which would have ruined the entire episode and spoiled God’s plan for salvation.
So clearly, Matilde must be the right donkey for the job. Not only does Matilde look the part (she has a carefully calculated persecution expression) but she is also proudly middle-eastern demeanour. As a part breed Andalusian donkey she can trace her roots to Moorish Spain, and beyond… to the donks of Jerusalem. In fact, the more I look at Matilde, the more I wonder if she WAS the actual Palm Sunday donkey.
And that is the start of a story. This Easter I shall be in England for a few days and the story of the Palm Sunday donkey – which will be based on Matilde – may become a children’s story. I am starting discussions with a well-known illustrator of children’s books. We shall see how things develop.
Here in El Caserio, Barbara is coming down from France and takes over for a week looking after the donkeys. She is going to explore the Camino de Levante (maybe all the way to Compostela) after I return home from my Easter break.
After the horrendous business with the hunters of Finestrat, I thought my trials were over. No chance. Now I have another minor annoyance on my doorstep: Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do not joke.
The people next door to me are English. Some of you will remember the incident last year when they first arrived, when my donkeys’ field was flooded through the sluice being left open and unattended for hours. To this day, I have no idea why that happened: he had no business to tamper with it and said he just “wanted to see how it worked” ! This cost me a huge bill in veterinary fees and medication for the donkeys to prevent infection from bad water.
As if that was not a bad enough demonstration of poor neighbourliness, see what happened yesterday, the last day of Lent. The woman from next door arrived with some apples for the donkeys, which at first sight seemed very kind, but this was a pretext to tell me about a Jehovah’s Witnesses meeting she wanted to invite me to. I managed to avoid swearing. However I did use the word “heretic” in my response to her (which I do not regret.)
Honestly! Have these Jehovah Witness people no sense but to crap on their own doorstep? I have already been worn down these past weeks by the aggression of the hunters, and now I have the entirely unwelcome revelation that I have members of a satanic sect living next door.
I just came here for a quiet life in the country! GIVE ME A BREAK! (Oh yes, I’ve got one… nine days break coming up.)