The Road to Jerusalem
Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right
Got to keep going but it’s getting warm now.
The road’s getting steep here, so I must be careful not to slip or trip.
What are all these people doing? They’re waving their arms and shouting. I can’t understand what they’re saying, though.
Now what are they doing? Oh, they’re cutting down branches from the trees and throwing them on to the road. I’ll have to be even more careful – they could be slippery. I don’t want to trip up or fall over – if I did it would hurt the person I’m carrying and I don’t want him to come to any harm.
Oh, sorry, I should have said before – I’m a donkey. I’m only young and not very big. My name? I haven’t got one. Donkeys aren’t important enough to have names in my country. We’re just there to carry things around and do as we are told.
There I was, outside my master’s house, when two men came over and said “The Lord needs them”. My master let them take me and they brought me to this man I’m carrying now. I’ve never been ridden before but he seemed very calm and that made me think I could do it, even though I’ve never done it before.
I wonder who he is – a King, perhaps, with all these people cheering and shouting. But no, he can’t be. Kings wouldn’t ride a donkey. They would ride a horse and have an army following them. Mind you, there are enough people following us to make up an army. I wonder what he’s going to do. It’s strange not knowing why we’re going along here but all the people seem to know and seem to be celebrating something.
I’ve got an uncle – he’s quite old now. He’s told us of a story from when he was young. He went on a long journey from a village called Nazar-something to a town called Bethlehem. A man and a woman went with him. The woman was expecting a baby, so my uncle carried her. When they got to Bethlehem, the man and woman shared my uncle’s accommodation – a nice warm comfortable stable. While they were there, the woman’s baby was born – it was a little boy.
Then strange things began to happen. First a group of local shepherds came to visit them and then some foreigners arrived and brought gifts for the baby. My uncle said they were very grand. Then, all of a sudden, they had to pack up everything very quickly and they set off on another long journey – to a country called Egypt, my uncle said, wherever that is. They stayed there for some time before they eventually went back home to Nazar-whatever.
I wonder what happened to that baby. He must be around thirty-something by now, according to what my uncle said. Ah well, perhaps we’ll never know.
Still, we’ve got to carry on. I wonder how much further we have to go.
Left, right, left, right ………
John Hall, April 2020