“One day a farmer’s donkey fell down a dry well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn’t worth it to him to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Moral of the story?

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping…never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.”

Thanks to Jerry Goldman and Linda Fisher for this inspirational story.


Note and confession: OK. There’s actually an extra punchline to this, but I decided to post it the way it is now since this way it provides a nice reminder that there’s always something we can do – even in the darkest moments. It also reminds us that where we might at first glance see nothing but a stupid donkey, we could be missing something truly amazing.

Oh…and also don’t be so quick to shovel dirt on your problems! See what you might be able to learn from them. Then look for the most generous and compassionate solution you can find. This way you won’t wind up looking like an ass!

Awww…how could I resist? (-;

(In case you’re curious, I’ve posted the whole thing with original punchline on my Work Coach Just for Laughs page.)