Morris the useful donkey


I have been training Morris on long reins for a few weeks and finally we have arrived at the point where he is learning to pull the cart and follow a few basic instructions like, “Don’t crash the cart Morris!”  Mostly he ignores important instructions. The above photo is taken just after Morris ignored the instruction, “Stay on the road Morris!”


After three years of donkey walking, exercising the donkeys and getting quite exercised myself, it is really great to sit down in a cart and just let the donkey do all the work. The  next stage is to put a cold box in the cart with a few bottles of Estrella Galicia beer and begin to enjoy the ride. This year, the routine trips to Playa Torres beach may involve the cart, with picnic and beach furniture. But this is still  early days.

My neighbour Elisabeth told me yesterday that her olive trees had been cut. Three big trees! Loads of olive branches were piled up in her garden and she offered them to the donkeys. After the cart training, Morris was ready for action.  I loaded the cart up with a huge stack of olive branches and good old Morris hauled the load up the hill.

morris cart 029

We returned for a second load – twice the weight – and Morris happily pulled the cart up the hill.

morris cart 032

Then I decided that it was the moment to put into action the next stage of the donkey walking scheme: attach donkeys behind the cart to get exercise while Morris pulls the cart and I sit in it getting no exercise.  (A reasonable arrangement, I think.)  I hitched up Rubí at the back of the cart and away we went. Morris could hear Rubí’s hooves plodding along behind, so he went faster. Then we ended up in a gallop. It quickly became a rather exhilarating Ben Hur chariot race situation and Morris was not bothered about me pulling hard on the reins and shouting “Whooooooaaaa!!!!”  He had other plans.  How we made it around the last sharp bend before home, downhill at 30 miles per hour, with Morris kicking out and Rubí braying at the back, I do not know. Suffice to say, they are enjoying supper and I have a beer, and we all lived to tell the tale.

morris cart 041



About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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5 Responses to Morris the useful donkey

  1. There is a fine line between bravery and madness…….
    Haven’t laughed that much for ages!

  2. hannahmoth says:

    Ha ha ha – that sounds absolutely terrifying! Glad you all survived.
    Have you just attached the cart to a pack saddle? I’d love to give this a try one day…

  3. Frere Rabit says:

    Yes, the cart is presently attached using an improvised strap arrangement. In fact the pack saddle is only there because I am using pack saddle straps to hitch the cart – the wooden croisillon does not perform any function. I did buy a set of cart harnesses suitable for Morris a long while ago, but he outgrew them even before I started training him! Consequently, I am using some harness straps and mainly the undergirth straps from the pack saddle. He walks along in a complicated web of many straps!

    In fact you could say Morris is a strapping lad…

    Oh dear.

  4. Alys says:

    It does sound hilarious, but the LIVING to tell the tale part is key… Have you considered wearing your bicycle helmet? – You could customise it in a Ben Hur fashion! For inspiration:

    By the way, this pre-braying version stars many flapper donkeys of the silver screen.

  5. Way to go Morris! Well, except for that last bit:)

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