Monday, January 11, 2010

Donkeys versus Mules

Dear Fenway,

I understand that mules are the epitome of equine grandeur, so please don't take offense at my silly question that I shall present you with. Farmwife has explained to me the advantages of a mule over a horse, but what are the advantages of a mule over a donkey?

In Ponderment,

Dear Rachelle, 

It is natural to wonder about the virtues of my father and mother, especially given the splendid nature of their offspring, and I couldn't possibly take offense at your interest in my dear sire and his kin. He was a lovely fellow, I presume (I never did meet him), and there is certainly no reason you cannot enjoy the company of someone of his sort. 

The choice between a mule and a donkey comes down to individual preferences. A donkey has a very good sense of self-preservation, which for me means doing the FarmWife's bidding while preserving life and limb, and which for the donkey means taking his own sweet time about everything except what was his and only his idea in the first place. Where a mule might say, "I know better but because I love you I will try this thing you suggest, so long as we do not hurt ourselves," a donkey might say, "I know better and if you think I'm burnin' these precious calories carting your ass up that trail then you got another think comin'." No pun intended. In any case, if you prefer to stay at home and watch someone eat hay, a donkey is a valid choice. If you prefer to go on ambitious rides, you'd better get a mule or learn to be a seriously good negotiator. 

There is certainly no reason you cannot ride a donkey, except perhaps that there is a good chance he will not always take you where you want to go. There are people who ride donkeys every day and give every appearance of having fun. Just look at this happy showman: He obviously loves his donkey, but do note that his web address is Looks like he plays for both teams.

The other thing you might have guessed about donkeys is that they tend to be a pinch tiny. That is, they tend not to even be as tall as me, Fenway Bartholomule, and I have to tilt my head back to see most of the fancy schmancy dressage horses that my FarmWife used to go on about. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule, but I'll bet you it would take you a good long time to find a donkey as tall as your average draft mule. No biggie, unless you want someone to carry your fat relatives around when they visit, or plow a couple of acres without breaking a sweat. But there might be times when you want to do just that. 

The other thing about a donkey . . . they look like tables. Really. Where does one put the saddle? You may have already heard that I require the aid of several supportive devices, including a breastplate, a special mohair girth, and extensive breeching, just to keep my saddle and FarmWife from slipping about all hitherdy-thitherdy when we go up and down precipitous slopes. Imagine how hard it would be if I had a back like this!! (Thanks, Cedar Oaks, for the picture of the coffeetable-like but otherwise adorable critter). Withers? What withers?

The last and perhaps most decisive reason for my personal preference of mules over donkeys is the comparative qualities of our voices. A horse sounds like an overexcited soprano before a proper warmup. A donkey? Like a huge, rusty saw cutting wet old growth. SeeeSAAAAWWWWWseeeSAWWWWWWseeeeeeeeSAWWWWWWWWWW! Me? I sound like pure joy. Think lusty peacock meets Freddie Mercury. Fabulous . . . . . Oh, and for those who missed it the first time around, here is my singing voice for your delight and enjoyment. Share it with your family, listen to it often, and most of all, good luck with your donkey versus mule decision. You may end up with one of each. 

Fenway Bartholomule

1 comment:

  1. Goodness me, I almost forgot the most important difference between me and a donkey. I have a real tail!


Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!