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51963.  Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:55 pm Reply with quote

Donkeys' coats aren't waterproof (unlike ponies) - so they aren't best suited to British weather. Or, they didn't used to be - but it never seems to rain any more. Has anyone else noticed that?

52251.  Fri Feb 17, 2006 5:33 am Reply with quote

Done nothing else all week where I am, Flash. Perhaps I could come and plant my bloody shallots in your garden?

55768.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:54 am Reply with quote

“In Martock, a stone horse trough commemorates 400,000 horses, asses and mules lost in the South African Boer War.”

- Your Somerset, January 2006.

Frederick The Monk
56766.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:21 am Reply with quote

There's a Donkey' at the Australian National War Memorial.

John Simpson joined the Australian Medical Corps in the First world War and, both he and his donkey become famous for their efforts to bring the wounded from the battle field to the rear under continious enemy fire.On returning to the rear with more wounded he was gunned down and died. Pte John Simpson was buried on the beach of Hell Spit.

56778.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:52 pm Reply with quote

Donkeys aren't natural jumpers, but that doesn't stop insane English people from trying:

According to that site, China has the largest population of Donkeys, with 11 million.

Frederick The Monk
56822.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:39 pm Reply with quote

China must have the largest population of an awful lot of domestic animals.

Molly Cule
58342.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:58 am Reply with quote

Donkeys are often fielded with horses for their calming effect.

Frederick The Monk
58351.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:40 am Reply with quote

Perhaps we should put one in the audience to deter streakers.

Then again..........

59650.  Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:30 am Reply with quote

“Dead donkeys were leaped over for luck [doesn't say when or by whom]: they were considered extremely rare, since the common belief was that a donkey at death’s door would sneak off and conceal itself.” [Similar to the elephant’s graveyard?]

and elsewhere:

“An old saying claims that no-one ever sees a dead donkey; however, there is also a tradition that to see a dead donkey means great good fortune, and even as recently as this century it was considered a good-luck charm to leap over the carcass of a dead donkey three times.”

hence a question:

Q: What should you do to a dead donkey?
F: Drop it.

Other donkey superstitions:

“Christian tradition stated that donkeys originally had unmarked hides, and that it was only after Christ's entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey that they received the dark cross on their backs. The hairs from the cross were widely believed to cure a number of ailments, and were often worn in a charm around the neck to guard against whooping-cough, toothache, fits, and to ease teething pains in babies. [u]Sometimes the hairs were eaten in a sandwich instead[/u]. Riding a donkey was also believed efficacious, especially if the rider faced the donkey's tail end, and was sometimes used as a preventative for toothache, measles and other children's complaints. One cure for whooping-cough and ague stated that the patient should be passed under a donkey and over its back either three or nine times; the trick of feeding an animal some of the patient's hair to transfer the illness was also used with donkeys. The donkey was also used to help cure the complaints of other animals; letting a black donkey run with mares in a field was thought to stop the mares miscarrying.”

“Vitamin Q” by Roddy Lumsden (Chambers, 2004).

61841.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:04 am Reply with quote

Here’s a son of a donkey who was awarded an old age pension:

“It is right for a good man to feed horses which have been worn out in his service, and not merely to train dogs when they are young, but to take care of them when they are old. When the Athenian people built the Parthenon, they set free the mules which had done the hardest work in drawing the stones up to the acropolis, and let them graze where they pleased unmolested. It is said that one of them came of its own accord to where the works were going on, and used to walk up to the acropolis with the beasts who were drawing up their loads, as if to encourage them and show them the way. This mule was, by a decree of the people of Athens, maintained at the public expense [including free meals] for the rest of its life [as was generally done for great athletes].” - Plutarch.

Sources: The Donkey Sanctuary Newsletter , Spring 2006.

Incidentally, Chambers English Dictionary (1988) says that donkey was considered a slang term (for ass) as late as 1823.

63756.  Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:10 am Reply with quote

"A donkey is like a housewife. In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master,"

Rajasthani school text book.


141409.  Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:21 am Reply with quote

Almost a year ago,

Matc wrote:
“Who remembers the Blondin Donkey, the lauded tightrope-walking mule of the 1880s?”

Source: ‘Inventing the Victorians’ by Matthew Sweet (Faber, 2001).

No-one, according to google, and Sweet gives no further information. Can anyone find anything? I’d love to know more about a tightrope-walking mule.

I fear this may not be as exciting as you expected Mat.

Here's a poster describing the Blondin Donkey

OK, so far, but you'll notice that as well as sharing a bill with Will Oliver, "The thin comedian and popular favourite", an act called "The Bros. Griffiths" appear.

Sadly, this site gives a little more info about the Griffithseses and the Blondin Donkey:

Brothers Griffiths: They performed a variety and pantomime act “The Blondin Donkey Act”, with the brothers who performed as “skin” or animal artistes.

I'm sure you all know, being well versed in affairs of the big top, that "skin artistes" are what "back-ends of a pantomime cow" write on their CVs.

So it seems that the Blondin Donkey was actually a pair of gymnasts, dressed in a pantomime donkey suit, who walked across a tightrope. A decent trick, but hardly in the same league as Nero's funambulating pachyderms.

141480.  Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:01 am Reply with quote

That is one classy piece of research. What about the Blondin Horse, though? Not as good as the Donkey, I've heard, put perhaps more equine?

GH Chirgwin the White-Eyed Musical Kaffir should be approached immediately as a potential panellist.

141495.  Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:36 am Reply with quote

Nice stuff, Egg! What a shame, though.

If you can't get Chirgwin, Flash, is GH Elliott still working?

141656.  Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:10 pm Reply with quote

The Chocolate-Coloured Coon, you mean? Do you know, I haven't seen him around lately. I'll ask.


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