Rubí donkey’s Tuesday blog
I thought there may be a problem today, after telling Rubí it was Tuesday last Saturday, and getting her to write “Pandora’s Box.”
When I reminded her today was Tuesday, she was being a scratching post for Matilde who was rubbing her neck along Rubi’s irregular spine.
She said, “Tuesday? That was a quick week.” I explained it was because the clocks went back. After a momentary look of deep wisdom, she said “Einstein has a lot to answer for.” Then she got on with the business of writing her blog.
When Morris reached the age of six on 1 October, I told him what a lovely parroty-faced foal he was. He went round all day saying proudly, “I was a parroty face.”
For a few days he developed a new fascination with the chickens. Then he asked me, “Was my father really a parrot?”
I nearly laughed, just like I’ve nearly brayed several times but I didn’t quite get there. “Of course not, Morris. Your father was a donkey.”
“What donkey?” Morris asked. I could not hold back the tears. I had never thought about this question arising, so I was unprepared.
“I’m busy eating, Morris. I will tell you when the time is right.”
“That’s not fair!” Morris objected. “It will be six months until the time is right, because the clocks just went back!” Morris returned to reading his favourite book, and was engrossed in it for a week. I write my blogs but I can’t read: Morris is the opposite. His very first book at the age of two (it is good to get them started early) was a birthday present: A Passion for Donkeys, Elizabeth Svendsen’s story of founding the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
“You’re spending a very long time on your book this week, Morris,” I said. He was under the pine trees in the shade. “Is that because there’s not much wind this week to turn the pages?”
Morris looked sulkily up at me, his neck still lowered over the book. “I’m doing researching. If you won’t tell me who my father was, I’ll have to find him myself.”
I felt awful. I didn’t know where to start. Later, I saw Morris by the drinking fountain. He just said, “Well?” and he stared at me. I walked away, straw in my mouth, pondering the matter.
Part 2 Sorry, I took a break. There was a wild boar crashing around in the valley and I needed to spend the middle part of the day glaring down into the valley and making aggressive snorting noises at the forest. I feel better for it.
Morris’s father… Where do I start? His name was Ferdinand. He was a donkey with great ambition. He was always being led back into Paco’s stable in Parcent by a stable boy after another attempted escape, dressed in peasant clothes he’d hidden away in a manger.
Ferdinand was a great reader and he once found a scrap of newspaper when he tunneled out of the stable and found himself in the sheep shed in Parcent. When he was led back to the stable he had the piece of newspaper in his mouth.
Now he had a dream. “I’m going to be an opera star,” he said. “Look. This is the Arena in Verona with a production of Aida. All those Egyptians! Isn’t it marvellous?”
“You can’t sing,” said Matilde. “You’re a complete arse, Ferdinand.” Matilde was always rude to Ferdinand because she liked him but he was too short so couldn’t be of much use when she was trying to tell him she was in a romantic mood.
“I can be an Egyptian musical braying donkey during the mass appearance of the Egyptian slaves in the Verona opera. They need loads of donkeys for the set piece scenes.”
“Fool!” said Matilde. “How will you get to Verona?”
“I’ll join a travelling circus like donkey I saw in a French film once.”
“We don’t see films in this stable,” I said.
Ferdinand looked me in the eyes and said, “When I escaped once I hid in a cupboard in the Union Hall in Parcent where they showed a French film called Au Hasard Balthazar with a very miserable actress but a damned good donkey in the main role. Being in a circus would be good preparation for the opera in Verona.”
Such a wonderful character was Ferdinand: a donkey who wore his trousers with panache. I noticed the way Morris is always licking the Peasant’s trousers. Did he intuitively know that peasant trousers smelling of donkey were the clue to his paternity? In the Rubí Tuesday blog next week I will explain the end of the story of Ferdinand the circus opera donkey. Also how I told Morris about his father. (And how Ferdinand is also Aitana’s father.)
Thank you Rubí and we look forward to next Tuesday’s Rubí blog. Readers unfamiliar with the great Robert Bresson film Au Hasard Balthazar, and who stumble upon it through the above YouTube link, should avoid the last scene unless they have tissues ready.