Pin The Tail On The Donkey

My Spirit Animal is the donkey, because it is an understated symbol of determination and they represent strong will.  The donkey encourages me to help others, lending a hand to those in need and being available for them.  They are very dedicated, and they don’t tire easily.  They are used for their milk, meat, shoe leather and transportation, because donkeys are very strong and durable, but if the burden becomes too much, they will grow tired.  Samson slew the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, and Jesus made His very dramatic entrance into Jerusalem riding on the back of a donkey.

My destination was to attend the festival of Vestalia, a holiday feast that celebrates the ass.  Vestalia is a weeklong festival, where the women of Rome take gifts to the Temple of Vesta and it is also a holiday for bakers.  The inner sanctum of the Vestal Temple is opened for all women to visit, once they remove their shoes.  The Vestal Virgins make sacred cakes to serve to all the visitors.  They use water carried in consecrated jugs from a holy spring.  This water is mixed with sacred salt into the specially refined grain.  This holiday is for all the people who work with grain, such as millers and bakers.  The people in Rome will hang flower garlands and small loaves of bread from their millstones and shop stalls to honor their hard-working donkeys that are used to grind the grain, so it can be made into bread.

Grain is used to make bread and the donkeys are used to grind the grain, so the first day in the festival pays tribute to these tireless animals who allow the Romans to bake bread.  No work is done on this day, giving all the donkeys a day of rest.  The donkeys were all decorated with garlands and they followed the Vestal Virgins at the back of the parade, as no one wanted to walk behind the animals, in case they had an accident.  My job was to clean up anything that they left behind.  It is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

I was being punished for messing up at last years’ festival, as the people in charge of the parade received multiple complaints that I had done a bad cleanup job.  I was selected to locate the tail of a donkey, or else I would be sacrificed in the Coliseum, but this was no ordinary donkey, it was the donkey-god Pales, the consort of Vesta.  Someone had taken Pales’ tail and I needed to find it and reattach it.  Pales had the body of a human with the tail and the head of a donkey.  I needed to find it by tomorrow, as that was when the festival started.

I figured that I should begin my journey by interviewing Pales and asking him what he thought happened to his tail.  He told me that he was out traveling yesterday, when he got stuck in a hole for hours and finally a picaroon came along and said that he would help him out in exchange for his tail, as he wanted to use it to flavor his soup.  Pales went with me and we found the scoundrel, just outside of Rome as he was finishing his soup and he was about to bite into the tail.  I gave him 10 denarius for the tail and I was able to paste it back onto Pales with this glue that the warriors used to hold their helmets, shields and other battle gear together.  I was happy to have accomplished my mission, but before I completed my journey, on the way back to Rome I stepped into some poop left behind by one of Hannibal’s elephants and I learned that the world is full of shit.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt “Spiritual Quest” hosted by Yves. The challenge is to Pick A Spirit Animal, Pick A Destination, Pick An Activity, Include An Obstacle and A Lesson Learned.

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