The donkey rider’s drama: A fable

The donkey rider’s drama: A fable

They really looked like the main characters depicted in the two-volume canonical Spanish novel from the early 17th century which centers on the protagonist’s distortion of perception and the wavering of their mental faculties. Perhaps they still do. 

The lead protagonist is the Ingenious Gentleman who set out to revive his ancestors’ religious chivalry, undo wrongs and bring justice to the world – and build a kingdom with the world’s biggest palace. The Ingenious Gentleman recruited an ambitious learned man from the madrasa as his squire. The learned man became the willing donkey rider following the knightly Ingenious Gentleman on their holy mission.

They loved noisy rhetorical orations on antiquated knighthood. They were both excellent at that. Unluckily, they did not see the world for what it was, especially the difficult terrain they travelled in. They often preferred to imagine they were living out a holy knightly story. They dreamed of a homeland they would cleanse of sin. They dreamed of neighboring foreign lands they would cleanse of sin, too, and make subservient to their future kingdom – all sin-free – just like their noble ancestors once did.

They would fight and kill all the infidels in the territories they deemed holy, stretching from one foreign city to another. They would reconquer the lands their noble ancestors had once conquered but their less noble ancestors lost to the infidels. 

The squire was so devoted to the holy “cause” that he even turned a blind eye when the Knight indiscriminately killed the enemies of the cause, looted their towns and stole their gold. That is bad behavior, the pious donkey rider privately thought, but it should be ignored in the name of the cause. If one day I became the Knight… No more injustice…

The learned man/donkey rider was honest, but dogmatically too blind. Privately, he did not approve of the Knight’s ruthless, unjust, selfish and greedy manners. If only he became the Knight one day… Everything in home and neighboring lands would come up roses. The incorrect flow of history would finally be corrected but without him looting infidels’ gold or persecuting them. It would be a peaceful conquest. He was an ideal cut to become a Knight. 

The learned man who had become the donkey rider dutifully accompanying a Knight on a holy journey would become the conqueror of hearts and minds of the pious in all neighboring lands that once belonged to his noble ancestors. He was too loyal to his Knight. He would never betray the Knight who was not just fighting the infidels but also armies of intergalactic forces, aliens and phantoms, in addition to just ordinary people. All that sacrifice in the name of the cause… The donkey rider was privately dismayed when the Knight allied with bandits. But that too should be tolerable in the name of the cause. After all this is a holy – and Machiavellian – mission. With God on our side, our sins will be forgiven.

But after all that holy war, did the donkey rider not deserve a horse, at least? Indeed. If the Knight permitted. But he would not. A squire should always remain a squire. The donkey rider was offended, but smiled happily as they had a war to win. One had to make endless sacrifices in the name of the holy cause.

He recalled his days at the madrasa. Was he not a more peaceful soul then? Maybe. But someone had to fight the infidels in the name of the cause. He was the chosen one, not by a simple man-made decision; there has to be something holy in this course of events. 

Not giving up his quest to become a horse rider instead of a donkey rider, one unusually cool summer night in La Mancha, the learned man of the madrasa, the donkey rider, who would fight infidels and reconquer his noble ancestors’ lands, found out that he had lost his donkey. 

Never mind. The donkey rider’s fable would have major influence on the future literary community interested in rewriting “The Three Musketeers” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”