Journey With Story


Journey With Story

Why the Burro Lives with the Man:E147


Why the Burro Lives with the Man:E147

A Mexican folktale about a donkey called Benito, who discovers there is a price to pay when he leaves his mesa home and goes to live with the man in order to be safe from mountain lion.  (duration 10 minutes) An episode from Journey with Story, a storytelling podcast for kids.

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Discover Why the Burro Lives with Man in this Fun Mexican Folktale 


Why the Burro Lives with the Man 

E 147  

Have you ever heard the saying, Far off fields look green?  Do you know what that means?  Yes, it means that from a distance, something might look very good and inviting, but when you get up close, you might just discover it is not quite as good as you imagined. 


Hello everyone. I ‘m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story.  Today’s episode is a tale from Mexico about a little donkey, called Benito, who discovers just that, when he leaves his life on the mesa (that is just a high desert plain where there is very little water) to go and live with the man where the grass is green and there is lots of water. 


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Let’s take a journey with Why the Burro Lives with the Man 


Long ago, there lived a burro called, Benito, who lived in a place where there was only sagebrush and cactus to eat.  Sometimes, Benito complained,”Hee-haw, hee-haw, How I wish I could live somewhere that has green grass to graze upon and cool water to drink.  I don’t like this sandy desert place.” 


But even though, he complained, Benito did not try to leave this mesa, because here, at least he was safe from Mountain Lion, and he knew Mountain Lion would never come to such a place that had so little water to drink. 


One day, tired of eating only cactus and sagebrush and of being afraid of Mountain Lion, Benito pranced around the mesa and said, “If I ever meet Mountain Lion again, I will not be afraid of him.  I will turn my backside toward him and with my hind legs, I will kick him all over this mesa.”  With those bold words, Benito galloped around and around, kicking every sage brush bush in sight. 


Now just as Benito and finished a flurry of big kicks, he thought he heard something behind him.  As he turned, he saw Don Coyote. 


“Buenos dias, Senor Benito,” said Don Coyote.  “I am very pleased to see you are enjoying your new home on the mesa.” 


“Why did you sneak up behind me?” asked Benito.  “I thought you were Mountain Lion.  Have you no respect for others, that you sneak up behind them and frighten them?” 


“Oh, amigo,” said Don Coytoe.  “Are you not glad to see your dear friend?  Yes, no?” 


“I know you too well, Don Coyote.  What is it you want from me?” asked Benito. 


“Well, Amigo Benito, just this morning, I was speaking of you when I met Mountain Lion.  He said, “Do you know where Benito is?  I am looking for him.” 


In my mind, I thought, well therea re only two places where Benito can be, here, or there.  Since he is not here,  Benito must be there.   Now where could there be but over on the mesa.  So I decided to pay you a visit and see if you were there.  And you are. You are here on the mesa. 


“Did you tell Mountain Lion where you were going to look for me?” asked Benito. 


“No,” said Coyote, “but he wants me to tell him where you are.” 


“You mean varmint, Don Coyote.  You would tell the lion where to find me?  You deserve to be kicked!” 


Benito turned to kick Coyote with his hind legs, when Coyote seiad, “Oh, amigo, you are wrong.  I did not tell Mountain Lion where to find you.  I came her to tell you that Mountain Lion was looking for you, not to show Mountain Lion where to find you.” 


“Hmm, I don’t know whether to believe you or not, Don Coyote.  You are a sly one.” 


“How would you like to live where it is safe from Mountain Lion?” asked Don Coyote, “in a place that is lush with green pastures and much cool water to drink?” 


“Where would that be?” asked Benito. 


“At the foot of those hills below the mesa,” he answered, pointing over the cliff to the green pastures below.  “That is where the man lives.  The man is the only creature Mountain Lion fears.  You will be safe there.” 


“I know about the man,” said Benito.  “The animals that live behind his fence must work for him.  He gives them green pastures and much cool water to drink, but they are not free.  The fence keeps them from going where they want to go.” 


“But the fence keeps Mountain Lion from eating the animals,” said Don Coyote. 


“Why do you care what happens to me if I am safe”” asked Benito. 


“Amigo, amigo, when I think of vicious Mountain Lion and the harmless animals he attacks, I am always concerned for the safety of one as good asyou.” 

“Is that all that concerns you?” asked Benito. 


“Well, amigo, there is just one other little thing. I hear the chickens that are kept behind the man’s fence.  I hear them clucking and squawking and crowing, saying that they want to be free.  They even scratch along the fence trying to dig a way to get out.  I would just like to set the chickens and the roosters free from behind the fence.  I have tried to set them free many, many times, but the man will not let them go,” said Don  Coyote, close to tears now.  


“Benito, amigo, Benito, I could lead you tot the man’s land-to a place where you will always be safe from Mountain Lion.  A place where the grass is always green and the water is always cool.  When we get there, you could jump the fence and kick a hole in it with your strong hind legs.  Through the hole, you could pass the chickens out to me, so that I can set them free.  I will help you and will help me free those nice, plump…I meant those poor chickens wanting to be free.” 


Benito looked at Don Coyote. Don Coyote looked at Benito with a pleading look in his eye.  “Don Coyote, I am an honest burro.  You just want me to help you steal those chickens from the man.” 


“This is how you repay me, by suspecting me of wanting to steal the chickens!  You deserve to be eaten by Mountain Lion,” scoffed Don Coyote. 


“Get off my mesa, Don Coyote!”  And with those words, Benito turned around and kicked Coyote with his strong hind legs.  He kicked so hard that Don Coyote flew through the air, over the cliff, and landed below on a cactus bush.  


 Don Coyote scrambled up and ran away as fast as his coyote legs would carry him.  He yelled back to Benito, “Now I will tell Mountain Lion where to find you.” 


“Hee-haw, hee-haw,” laughed Benito, as he set off in a trot to the man’s green pasture.  He jumped the fence and asked the man if she could stay behind the fence, where the grass was green, the water was cool, and Mountain Lion could not get in. 


The man agreed but said that he would have to work for his keep. And so, to this day, the burro works for the man in exchange for green grass and cool water.  And, whenever burro hears a coyote coming near the chickens, you can hear it, “Hee-hawing, hee-hawing,” and kicking up its hind legs. 


Well, if you were Benito, would you choose to live on the mesa or on the man’s land?  Why?

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