Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Sixth Story: The Donkey Girl

Name of story: The Donkey Girl

Origin: Iraq: Oral Tradition

Page Numbers: 202-208


The Rabbi decides to visit a friend of his and on the way he meets an old who happens to be a witch and is mistreating the donkey who is the friend Rabbi wants to see. He and the witch exchange some words, and the witch then curses the Rabbi's unborn child, saying it will have a head of the donkey, which is what happens.

They secluded the daughter in a room and the Rabbi taught her Torah and whatnot and she became apt and wise. Many years later a student came to the Rabbi desiring to learn only Torah. The Rabbi taught him Torah and one day he asks a question that Rabbi doesn't answer, but the girl does. Immediately the student becomes lovesick and wants to marry the woman and nothing the Rabbi says or does makes an impression on him.

The marriage is carried through and due to a law that a groom cannot see the bride until the wedding night, he has no idea she has a head of a donkey. When he sees her, he wants to leave her. She asks him to spend a night with her, and he gives her three gifts; a right, book and a prayer shawl with his and his father's name written on it. At daybreak he leaves.

When her parents learned the news, the mother was grief stricken so she died. She found out she was pregnant and gave birth to a child that looked exactly like the father; no donkey head. The grandfather, the father of the daughter, begin to teach the boy Torah and he was intelligent and succeeded mightily in his studies.

At an exam he learns that the Rabbi is grandfather instead of father and is urged to find his own father. After confirming the truth from his mother, he is given three gifts and despite the mother's pleas, he takes provisions on the road to start searching for  his father.

He has a dream of Elijah the Prophet where he tells him to take up the leaves, boil them and give them to his mother to drink, for the leaves can cure her. He is also told that in the third city he will find his father. In the third city, he meets his grandfather who then takes him to meet his father. He convinces his father to return with him. The mother, when she drank the tea leaves became healed and the family became whole once more.

As for the witch, she mistakenly turned herself into the donkey. When the man saw that, he kicked her, became a man and forced her to serve him.

Theme: Don't give up. Miracles can happen.

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