When they came, those strangers from the Galilean region, and started to untie the rope that held my colt…I shouted at them to stop.
I ran from the other side of the field where I was working, shouting, and waving at them not to take him.
And when I reached them, I was breathing so hard I could not hear what they were saying, something about the “Master having need of him”….and something, I don’t know what, but something, made me stop myself from beating them off like robbers.
Then I got my breath back and I told them that he was a wild one this one, never been ridden by anyone, not even me and I rode every wild mule this side of the mountain.
“He won’t let you take him” I said, “He’s not broken yet, never been away from the field he was born in” But they just repeated what they had said before, “The Master has need of him” and again, …again, I felt that strange unfamiliar feeling in the pit of my stomach….and I knew I would have to let him go.
I told them that I must come with them and I grabbed the rope from the rough gnarled hands that were untying it. I guessed they were strong men, but not from the land, more like fishermen I shouldn’t wonder, and there’s a big difference between a shoal of fish and a wild donkey!
I have to say, they looked scared and anxious and very relieved when I said I’d go with them, and no wonder, with the animal rearing up and wrestling with me all the way down the path.
I held on tight to the rope as he railed against its control, pulling against me, causing the rope to burn deep into my hands as I pushed against his struggling body.
I tried to tell these men…these strangers who didn’t have a clue about donkeys, that nobody would be able to ride him……he had never been led, let alone ridden…..not so much as a rug had been put across his back let alone a man. They could see I was right, as he tossed his head and reared at every leaf that flew in the breeze, but they just kept on walking, keeping their distance mind! And they just smiled, a kind of knowing sort of smile, and said again “It’s alright, the master has need of him”
So, I thought to myself, this Master, he was like their Lord….and they were obeying Him like my colt would, hopefully one day obey me, when he trusted me…
Well, I just hoped they trusted their master with this one…because right now, I didn’t!
Then we came to the place where he was waiting. There were some other guys around him, and I noticed they had the same kind of appearance, but the one who was their Master.. …He was different. I don’t know what it was,….. just different, and when I saw Him it was as if He had always known me and trusting Him would be easier than I had ever trusted any one in all my life.
He held out His hand, and I let him toke the rope from my burning palm, and then I realised that the animal was no longer writhing. His whole body was still and he was standing there looking at the Master. His head was no longer shaking and twitching and his breathing was calm and quiet, d’you know, he was as docile as a little baby! And then I realised that the guy was stroking his head, just gently smoothing his tangled mane and talking to him as he looked into his eyes.
And my animal, that colt that I was putting off breaking-in, because he was so wild, he was nuzzling this stranger as if he was his dearest friend. I hardly dared to breath, I could not believe what I was seeing!
Then, before I could say anything about not riding him, someone threw a cloak over his back and, gently, smoothly, like an expert horseman, the Master, for that surely was exactly what He was, got on the back of this unbroken creature and sat there quietly talking to Him and telling him it was going to be just fine……and at that moment, standing there in the shade of a tree, I knew it would be fine. I knew that my animal, my wild, untamed beast, had looked into the eyes of this stranger and seen his Master, the one person who he could trust and obey.
And I knew that he would take Him anywhere…..anywhere He needed to go.
Published in ‘A Passion for Shoreham’ 2013