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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Runaway Donkey

Willie was a mischievous lad and rather cheeky too. He never did what his mum or dad asked him to do, even though they went out of their way to try to please him. One afternoon they took him down to the beach. He went on the carousel; he got an ice-lolly from the ice cream man, and looked for crabs under the rocks. His dad went with him for a swim in the sea. They splashed and jumped in the waves. They even hunted for seashells, but no matter what they did, Willie wanted to do more. He spotted Norton, the donkey, tied up to a pole. "I want a donkey ride!" Willie demanded. He ran towards Norton. "I want a ride!" he shouted at Murdoch.

"You can have a ride as long as you pay 50p," Murdoch told him.

Willie ran towards his mum crying, "I want 50p. I want a donkey ride!" His mum handed him the money and he ran back to Norton.

Murdoch lifted Willie on Nortonís back, grabbed hold of the rope and walked along the seashore. Willie looked down at the waves and saw a big seashell come washing onto the sand. "Stop! I want that seashell!" he commanded.

Murdoch looked at the spoiled lad. "We canít stop. If you get off now, Iím afraid your ride has ended."

Willie started shouting and crying. "I want that seashell and I want a longer ride. Stop this donkey right now!"

Murdoch kept walking. Willie started kicking his sandy, bare heels into Nortonís side. Norton let out a loud bray. When Murdoch turned around to see what was wrong, Willie kicked again and Norton pulled the rope out of Murdochís hand and ran off, with the boy on his back. Willie grabbed the rope and held on tightly. "Stop! Stop running, donkey. I donít want to fall off!" he shouted.

Murdoch chased the donkey. Willie, realizing he wasnít going to fall off, began to enjoy his ride. He kept kicking Norton in the sides and Norton kept running. He ran and ran and ran until he was out of breath. When he stopped, he was so far down the beach that he couldnít see Murdoch or anyone else. Willie jumped off the donkey. "Why did you stop? There are no seashells here!" He looked around on the sand and seeing none, tried to get back on Nortonís back. He was too small and couldnít climb on. Norton started walking slowly back along the beach toward Murdoch. Willie sat in the wet sand and cried. "Come back, donkey. I want to get back on! I want a seashell!"

Finally, Murdoch caught up with Norton. "Good donkey," he said, petting Nortonís back. He saw how tired he was. "Iíll take you back to the barn now. Whereís the lad?" Norton panted softly and brayed. He had no idea. "You stay here, Norton. Iíll go and look for him." Murdoch walked further along the beach and found Willie crying, sitting in the sand as the waves splashed around him. "Come on, lad. Letís get you back to your mum." He grabbed Willieís hand and they walked over to Norton.

"I want to get on the donkey. Iím tired," Willie complained.

"Sorry, lad. Nortonís too tired for a ride. You shouldnít have run away with him like that. Now no other lads or lassies can have a ride on him the rest of the day."

When Willie saw his mum, he ran towards her. Murdoch explained what had happened. She was annoyed with Willie for his bad behavior. "Weíre going home now, Willie and thereíll be no more donkey rides for you for a long time." She apologized to Murdoch and Norton and then took Willieís hand and headed for their car.

Norton spent the rest of the afternoon in the barn, resting and nibbling on the hay. Murdoch brought him a big red apple and petted his neck. "Itís been a busy day for you, hasnít it, Norton?" Norton sighed and munched his apple all up. He hoped that tomorrow his day would be much quieter.

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