The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

A wild canary was out gathering seed for her breakfast one day when a very strong gale came up.  The canary tried to fight against the wind which was blowing in a direction away from her nest – but it was too strong.  Finally, the tired bird decided to ride the wind wherever it would take her and, when she had re-gained her strength, find her way home after it had subsided.

The wind set her down in a large farm yard.  Directly in front of her was a young donkey.  The two strangers looked at each other for a few moments and then the donkey said, “Hello.  What are you doing in my farm yard?”

The canary explained what had happened and introduced herself.  “My name is Liberty,” she said.

The donkey brayed for a moment and said, “What an unusual name.  I don’t believe I’m familiar with it.”

The canary asked the donkey’s name.  He replied,

“My name is Ross T. Fario,
And it’s all about me.
That’s the way it’s always been,
And that way shall it always be.”

“How peculiar,” thought the canary to herself.  “A poetic jackass.  I wonder if he also does musical impersonations.”  (Of course, she was too much of a lady ever to express these thoughts out loud).

So the two of them began to chat – the kind of small talk in which new acquaintances engage.  Where are you from?  What do you do?  You know the kind.

The canary explained that she had been born a few miles west and that was where she still made her home.  “And you, Ross T. Fario, where are you from?”

The donkey replied, “Well my father is from Hither and my mother is from Yon.  I just tell people that I was born here.  It makes things so much easier.”

“And you, Liberty, how do you spend your days?”

“Well, I sing my sweet song which all who wish may hear.  And, of course, I have to hunt for my meals – that takes up quite a bit of my time.”

At this point Ross T. Fario interjected – “Hunt for your meals?  Do you mean that they are not provided for you at the appointed time?”  Liberty looked a bit confused and said, “I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Nothing could be clearer,” the donkey said.  “My owner is required to bring me my hay every evening at six o’clock.  That is his obligation in order that I continue to grace his farmyard with my presence.”

“My name is Ross T. Fario,
And it’s all about me.
That’s the way it’s always been,
And that way shall it always be.”

(The donkey obviously liked the poem he had composed).

“I mean, really, having to work for your existence.  What insane screwball ever thought that up?”  As he said this he pulled back his left upper lip in a scornful sneer.

“Well, you know,” said the canary, “it’s really not bad.  I get to go out every day and see the world and meet new creatures.  And I am obligated to no one nor dependent on them.  I’m my own boss – and I like that.”

“Well, if that’s what you want then I’m happy for you.  But to be truthful, I much prefer my life and my view of the world to yours.”

At that point the canary said that she had been away from home for too long and needed to return there.  But she asked if she might come back and visit the donkey.

“Of course, my dear.  You are an amusing if somewhat twaddle-headed creature.  Do stop by again.”

So the canary came by to visit the donkey several days later.  She and Ross T. Fario talked about all sorts of things.  He was a decent enough chap – even if his view of the world was rather limited.  And she shrugged off the little insults and petty barbs that he threw at her.  She realized that he was somewhat unsophisticated and really had never acquired much culture.

So the visits went on, several days a week for a number of months.

One day rather than come in the morning, Liberty had eaten an early supper and she decided to join the donkey for his evening meal.  She got there just when it was supposed to be served – at six o’clock in the evening.  She landed on a wood post a few feet from Ross T. Fario and the two of them awaited the arrival of his food.  But it didn’t come.

Little did either the canary or the donkey know that the man who owned Ross T. Fario had flown with a friend that morning in a small aircraft which had crashed deep in a heavy mountain snow about two hundred miles away.  It would be months before rescuers would find the plane or their bodies.

Well at six thirty, Ross T. Fario’s stomach began to growl and he was becoming noticeably cranky.  He was hungry.  So the sparrow flew into the barn and came back out.  She told the donkey, “You know, there are hundreds of bales of hay in the barn – enough to feed you for a whole year.  Why don’t you just go in and help yourself?  The door’s wide open.”

The donkey shot her a glare that, if it had come from a sorcerer, would have smashed Liberty into a million atoms.

“My name is Ross T. Fario,
And it’s all about me.
That’s the way it’s always been,
And that way shall it always be.”

“Well, yes I know,” said the canary.  “But since your owner is not taking care of your needs – don’t you think you should take care of them yourself?”  It seemed an obvious solution to the canary.

The donkey was above even giving that question a response.  To do so would have been beneath him.  Didn’t everyone understand?  He was entitled – and he was going to extract every bit out of that entitlement that he could.

Liberty could see that the donkey’s hunger was growing stronger and he was definitely getting more testy.  So she said that she had to go but would be back the same time the following day.

Well, of course, the following day nothing happened at six o’clock.  No supper for Ross T. Fario.  So he turned to one of the sows who happened to be walking by and said, “Hello, mother sow.  Be a good girl, go in the barn and roll out a bale of hay for my supper.”

The sow looked at him rather scornfully and said, “Sorry Cheech – that’s not my job.  If you’re hungry, the barn door’s open.  Go get it yourself.”  (Pigs are very smart animals, you know).

The donkey could barely tolerate this suggestion and began stomping his feet in derision.  The canary tried to calm him down and said that now two animals, she and the pig had made the same suggestion.  Wouldn’t he at least consider it?

The donkey was beginning to wonder why he had ever accepted this canary as a friend of his.  She really was a cretin – and the pig wasn’t much better.  No, he would stand there until he was fed by his owner.  And, of course, that day the owner didn’t come again.

This was repeated a third and fourth day – the canary always standing by her friend the donkey and encouraging him to help himself by going in the barn.  He obstinately continued to refuse to do so – and grew weaker and weaker until on the fifth day when she came for her visit, she found the donkey lying dead of starvation in the farm yard.

The other animals, who had mostly been able to fend for themselves were generally not unhappy to see him go.  He had managed to insult most of them at one time or another.  But they weren’t a malicious lot and with Liberty’s encouragement buried the donkey and put up a headstone which read:

“My name is Ross T. Fario,
And it’s all about me.
That’s the way it’s always been,
And that way shall it always be.”

One of the animals added a postscript to the epitaph which said,

“UNTIL IT WASN’T.”

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Comments on: "THE DONKEY AND THE CANARY" (7)

  1. Reblogged this on nebraskaenergyobserver and commented:
    A wonderously apt fable for today.

  2. I loved this one. The meaning is very clear and put in a humorous way. I really loved the “poetic jackass” title. LOL. I think that would be a good description of some of our politicians here.

  3. I originally wrote this as “poetic donkey” … but as I thought about it – well you saw the final version. As to your politicians – considering our massive trade deficit – I think we would be happy to export some of ours to you. But I don’t think they would fetch much on the open market.

  4. I nearly snorted my morning coffee out of my nose. Well-turned indeed! I shared this to Facebook 🙂 Peace be with you. — Kelly

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