Thank you for saving Eugeniusz!
As soon as he came to us, the blacksmith took care of his hooves, which had been neglected for months, and it was the second gift for an old donkey for the upcoming Christmas after You gave him his life. Another will be a lifetime guarantee for a sense of peace and security, the company of other donkeys, as well as plenty of delicacies and the best care. On behalf of Eugeniusz, we thank you for these gifts for him!
Eugeniusz, the donkey, for the record. What a dignified name! A final attempt to restore dignity. And if dignity meant only to have own name, Eugene would have nothing to wish for. Because he would have everything.
And let’s be clear, there is nothing in this world. For the donkeys of this world are as poor as a church mouse. Eugeniusz has only scraps of hope, the last of his strength, bits of memories and overgrown hooves wrapped high, pointing to the sun, although he rarely sees the sun. To be more precise, he hasn’t seen the Sun in several years.
Because Eugeniusz has already lived through the sunny and windy days, if we I could say that. He was an ornament of a small farm. The trader says so. He bought it for pennies, the owner urgently needed money so he sold it almost for nothing. The trader put it in the barn, tied it on a chain and waited for the client. And that’s how Eugeniusz lived for over 4 years. Four warm springs, four cold winters, and four hot summers when he could have basked in the shade of the sprawling trees and run through the green meadows. He could have, becouse non of that ever happened.
This is how the fourth golden Polish autumn is passing for him. He will not manage till the first frosts. When the first star rises, Eugeniusz will be somewhere next to it.
He will leave behind him years of living in the dark, damp and obscure barn. Because he’s standing alone here. And no customer has ever showed up. Who would look for a donkey in a forgotten village at the end of the world. And even if someone did get here, who would buy an old donkey that doesn’t even walk but stumbles and falls over.
There are no customers for old, crippled donkeys. There is no tomorrow for them, nor the sun, frost and rustling autumn leaves. The only thing waiting for the old donkeys is the roar of the gangplank in the middle of the night, so that no one can see them. There is a place for old donkeys next to the first star as they arise. Because up there, all beings are equal. It’s only here on earth, we have everything mixed up …
Eugeniusz does not look at us when we enter the barn with the trader. Not because it’s too dark to see. He just doesn’t care who passes the concrete threshold and who lets in the few rays of the cold November sun. He no longer believes anything will change.
I come closer. I look into those big dark donkey eyes. I look at those twisted legs. Eugeniusz lowers his head as if he is ashamed of what he looks like. He doesn’t want the sun rays to touch him. Hidden in the darkness, an image of misery and despair, he wants someone to execute his sentence. As long as there were no more days and nights that would bring nothing and their hope was alien to them. If death is about to come, why is someone torturing him while waiting for it?
I stroke his large ears tenderly, the ears that almost reach the sky. And ears of Eugeniusz climb towards falling plaster and mold that has spread everywhere on the walls and ceiling. Nobody wants to spend a minute here. Years have passed for him. Perhaps the most beautiful, which no one will return to him.
Exactly, I’m not gonna lie to you. We will not give back these spring and summer evenings, that are lost for Eugeniusz already. He will probably never gallop over the piles of golden autumn leaves that someone has swept. But we may still have time to let him hide in the shade of the sprawling trees when summer comes. And lie there, carefree, for hours. Because there is a place for old donkeys. Not here, in the dark, in the damp and at the end of the world.