The bird said, “It’s the bats. They carry the disease through their claws.”
The snake said, “It’s the rats. They carry a disease through their teeth.”
The wolf said, “It’s the serpent whose revenge will get us all.”
The lion king abruptly stated, “No, it is our actions that caused this plague. As king of all animals, I say we confess our wrongdoings and pinpoint the worst animal of all. That animal would have caused this mess. I will begin. I have many lionesses, and they are all lonely. I am wrong for causing them to fight.”
The bird replied, “No, King. You need to create many heirs to govern the other animals. With your strong traits, your heirs will rule the land for a millennium years to come.”
The snake confessed, “It is I who has sinned. I danced with my beloved rat and got the disease from her by accidentally killing her. When I saw her carcass, I fed upon her without thinking. We both loved each other, yet I could not help myself.”
The wolf said, “No, it is my fault. I tricked the serpent into killing sheep while I did nothing. I ran off with the kill. When the serpent chased me, I severely hurt him. He then cast a curse on me and those I associate with.”
After a long awkward moment, the donkey chimed in, “Well, I was so hungry, I ate grass from another animal’s land.”
The lion roared, “What?! You knew it was his land yet you atrociously ravaged his grass?”
Seeing the lion’s disapproval, the bird shrieked, “Get him!” They all chased the donkey so quickly that animals along the road thought a dust storm was approaching.
As the donkey ran, he yelled, “Why get me when you all did worse?” Then, he saw a herd of donkey, and pleaded, “Help, friends. I am in dire stress. Animals are trying to kill me for no reason.”
Seeing the donkey’s dismay, the herd of donkeys stood still and put on their meanest face. The chasing animals saw the group and immediately ran the other way because they were outnumbered.
The head of the herd advised, “Next time, stay away from that lot. The lion could have easily killed you, and shared you with the others. They are up to no good.”
The donkey said, “But they’re the only people I know. I have been roaming alone the whole time until I found them.”
The head donkey said, “Son, if they think of killing you, they are not your friends. Safe travels.” He then motioned for all the donkeys to continue their planned path.
The donkey longingly looked towards the direction where his ‘friends’ ran off. He glimpsed at the other group that was not too far away, and ran after them.
He caught up to the head donkey and asked, “Thank you for your help, Mister. May I join your herd?”
The head donkey smiled and nodded his head. The other donkeys introduced themselves to him, eager to know him.
A few months later, the donkey saw his old company far off in the distance chasing the wolf. He shook his head and joined his herd.
(Donkey: Wiki Commons)
Author’s Note. In the original story, The Animals and the Plague, from Aesop for Children by Winters, the animals actually had a plague and confessed their wrongdoings like the beginning of my story. However, the difference is that the donkey was beaten up by the other animals. While reading the story, I felt injustice for the donkey. Therefore, I wrote this story so that the donkey would live in another dimension other than his original story.
Bibliography. Aesop for Children by Milo Winters; link to reading online.