Griffin the donkey was a sad little guy, the saddest donkey I’ve seen. And I’ve seen some sad donkeys. But Griffin’s sadness exceeded the normal sadness one expects in donkeys. He was forlorn, dreary, bereft—downright unhappy. Let me tell you why.

Until he was four years old, Griffin lived on a nice little two-acre tract of land with another donkey, Patsy. Griffin and Patsy belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Proctor, who fed them well, gave them plenty of soft hay for their covered stalls, and treated them as family.  But when he was four years old, Mr. and Mrs. Proctor moved to the city, where they could be with their children.

Griffin and Patsy were taken to two different places. Mrs. Proctor’s friend, Mrs. Smith, gave Patsy a new home just down the road from where Griffin and Patsy had lived. Mrs. Smith had an acre of land with several trees, a comfortable barn, a nice watering hole, lots of hay, and a shady spot near the road where Patsy could stand and watch the cars drive by, the children in the back seats waving at her. Mrs. Smith had wanted to take Griffin, too. But Mrs. Proctor needed some money for the move to the city, so she put a “donkey for sale” sign up in front of her house.

Mr. Jones, a bad-tempered farmer neighbor, bought Griffin. Mr. Jones tied Griffin to a post inside a little twenty-foot by twenty-foot fenced enclosure. The one tree inside the enclosure was tiny and didn’t offer much shade or protection from the wind. And there was no stall and no barn. A galvanized steel bucket that rarely had anything in it was Griffin’s only source of water. Mr. Jones fed Griffin only every other day. And when he did, he yelled at Griffin and called him a no-good-for-nothing jackass.

Well, after six months of being tied to a post, hungry and thirsty most of the time, Griffin was as skinny as a post and as sad as a donkey can get. That’s when, as I went out for a long walk one day, I came upon Mr. Jones’ farm and a deeply unhappy donkey named Griffin. I asked Griffin what was bothering him and he told me the whole story. As you might imagine, I was very upset to hear how badly Mr. Jones treated Griffin.  So, I hatched a plan.

The following day, which would be the day Mr. Jones would bring feed for Griffin, I would walk back down to Griffin’s enclosure, climb over the fence, hide behind the tiny tree, and wait for Mr. Jones to arrive. Griffin agreed to the plan, so I went back home to prepare for the next day.

Early the next day, I took a shovel out of my barn and walked back down to Mr. Jones’ place. I climbed the fence and hid behind the tree. When Mr. Jones opened the gate to Griffin’s enclosure, I jumped from behind the tree and popped Jones on the head with the shovel. When he fell to the ground, I popped him with the shovel a few more times. Then, I dug a deep hole and buried the vile monster under a pile of Griffin’s post-digested meals. Griffin’s slight smile was all the evidence I needed that I had made him a little less sad.

Then, I walked Griffin down the road to Mrs. Smith’s place and asked her if she’d like to give Griffin a home. She said “yes, I surely would,” and took Griffin by the halter and led him to the spot where Patsy was watching cars. Griffin and Patsy, delighted to see one another, did a little donkey dance. Their broad smiles were wonderful sights to behold. I knew then that they were, once again, two very happy donkeys.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to see Griffin and Patsy and Mrs. Smith these days because I’m in prison, sitting on death row.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Griffin

  1. Intersting twist… when we read, we always read ahead, as I read this I first thought your main character was going to be the donkey’s voice and give Mr. Jones the shock of his life. you took it a totally different direction. Lesson???

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