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Easter: Dan the donkey

Dan the donkey

A story for Easter.

Themes: The festival of Easter. Palm Sunday. Jesus' journey to Jerusalem.

Synopsis: Dan is the youngest and smallest donkey in the field where he lives.

Dan is teased by the other donkeys - especially when he reveals his big dreams for the future. But one day Dan's dreams come true...

Two men appear. They tell Dan's owner that he is needed - by Jesus...the 'master'. Dan looks to his mother and she smiles back at him reassuringly.

Jesus takes his place on Dan's back and together they journey down the hill into Jerusalem. A crowd of people has gathered and palm leaves are thrown at Dan's feet amid shouts of 'Hosanna!'

Dan realises that this journey is his special task - the thing that he has always dreamed of - and let's out a 'Hosanna!' of his own.

Click on the link below to download or print the story.

Easter: Dan the donkey - supporting resources:

  1. Transcript of story to print

Text of story

Dan was a small donkey with big dreams. He lived in a little village called Bethphage at the foot of a mountain not far from Jerusalem.

Most of the time he was happy playing with the other young donkeys who were turned out into the field with him. They chased each other about, kicking up the dust under the trees, or in the hottest part of the day, they lay down in the shade and flicked the flies off each other with their tails.

But Dan was the smallest of all the young donkeys in the village, being the youngest - and he was always being teased for it, especially when he wondered out loud about the things he dreamed for his future...

Dan would often stand at the edge of the field and gaze longingly as the adult donkeys were loaded up with figs from the trees, ready to sell at the markets. ‘Heee-Hawww,’ he would say to his friends - ‘One day, I’m going to be just like them and carry heavy, heavy loads to market. Just you wait and see - one day soon! Heee-Hawww!’

Other times he would watch as families loaded up their donkeys to go on a long journey, maybe to visit friends or relatives in another town and say ‘Heee-Hawww. One day, maybe I’ll have a really important job to do, just like that! Heee-Hawww! One day...you wait and see.’

All the other young donkeys would raise their eyes and shake their heads. ‘You’d rather be doing all that work than be here with us playing in the fields. Hee-hawww - what a loser you are Dan! You’re the smallest of all of us - you’ll never be good at anything!’

And so, eventually, Dan stopped dreaming out loud and as time went by he even began to believe that what his friends said might be true - maybe he was too small and insignificant to do anything useful. But one day, something happened that would change his life forever...

It was the week before Passover and the whole village was buzzing with the preparations for this important celebration. Dan had been tied up with his mother outside the little house where his family lived. He was feeling particularly fed up because he just didn’t seem to be growing up fast enough to do anything useful...

As he stood by the house, his head hanging down sadly, two men rushed up and began to untie him. For a moment he was too startled to think what was happening; but before he could say anything, his owner had appeared at the doorway and was asking the two men what they were doing.

‘Jesus - the Master - needs him,’ was all the men replied, which seemed to be enough of an answer, because Dan’s owner let them lead him away.

What were they going to do with him? He was far too small and unimportant to be doing anything out of the ordinary - especially today. He looked nervously round at his mother, who whispered gently to him: ‘Go on Dan! You can do whatever the Master asks of you.’

For the first time in a long while, Dan felt a little bubble ripple inside him, as if his dreams maybe weren’t going to be dreams for much longer. Could this be the same Jesus he had heard people in the village talking about..?

He was about to find out!

The two men led him just outside the village where ‘the Master’, as the men had called him, was waiting. So this was the Jesus he had heard so much about, and he could see why people were so desperate to meet him. Jesus had kind eyes and he reached out his hand to stroke Dan’s nose, as if he had known him his whole life long. A shiver of excitement ran through the little donkey from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. The two men with Jesus placed their cloaks on Dan’s back for Jesus to sit on and the journey began.

Strangely enough, Dan didn’t really notice that he had something quite heavy on his back! He was prouder than he’d ever been before and just went wherever Jesus wanted him to go. At the edge of the village, just before the descent into Jerusalem, Dan couldn’t help but gasp in amazement at the view he saw - Jerusalem was such a big, big place and oh, so beautiful, with the roofs of the houses glistening in the sunlight.

As they got nearer to the city the crowds began to get bigger and when people saw Jesus coming on the little donkey they stopped to make a pathway. Some of them laid their cloaks down on the dusty road for Dan to walk on, others tore branches down from the palm trees growing by the side of the road. And then they began to shout...

‘Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in God’s name! Hosanna!’ and they waved their palm branches high on the air.

At that moment, Dan realised that this was what he had been waiting for all his life - this was his important job, and it was more important than any job that any other donkey would ever be asked to do. Jesus - the Master - the King - was coming to Jerusalem...on his back.

And with a whoop of joy like he’d never felt before Dan let out his own hosanna: ‘HEEE-HAWWWW! HEEE-HAWWWW!’

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