"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

12/11/15

Precious Cargo - a 5th Annual Holiday Contest Entry

Yes - I know I have neglected my blog. This is my first post since April, but when I saw Susanna Hill's 5th Annual Holiday Contest, and checked out the topic, I got an idea immediately - and posting the entry on your blog is kinda part of the process. See the rules - and the other contributions - at her blog. But the basics? 350 words or less, holiday themed, and with a specific first several words (or variation)

So - I got the idea when I looked at the post Monday, but I didn't get it finished until (literally) just now. I hope you like it. (And just FYI: "Chaim" - the Hebrew word for "life," is basically pronounced "HI-yum" - but combined into one syllable)

Precious Cargo

by Joanne Sher

Grazing near the hitching post behind The Belthlehem Inn, Chaim the donkey searched in vain for a water trough. People? Everywhere. Hay? Plenty. But water? Nowhere.

Chaim stretched out his back, working the kinks out. Not only had he traveled all the way from Nazareth, but he'd had precious (and heavy) cargo on his back. His rider was going to have a baby, so he'd tried to walk smoothly and gently, but now his muscles ached.

Chaim dropped to the ground and scratched his back against the brush. “So much better. Now where can I get a drink?”

Fumbling as he attempted to rise, the donkey spotted a small building off in the distance. “Looks like a stable.”

Chaim strode toward it, his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth. He sped up as he heard rustling inside, but as he approached, his eyes widened. Human voices? A giggle?

Chaim's ears perked up. He knew those people. But why were they in the stable?

A high pitched wail rang through the stable walls, then ended. As Chaim walked in, he smiled at its source.

His former rider and her husband, standing over a water trough – and inside, a newborn baby wrapped in cloths. Chaim inspected the little one, rubbing up against him and sniffing his tiny fingers. The baby responded with a sigh, and his mother with a rub on Chaim's back. Chaim stuck his dry tongue out in the hopes of a few drops around the child in the trough. Again, nothing.

“You won't find any water here – just our precious baby.” Mary smiled and gazed down at the infant.

The donkey let out a dry cough. Joseph carried a small bucket and placed it under Chaim's nose. “For you, my donkey friend. I am afraid we have been busy since we left you.” He and Mary chuckled.

As he lapped up the water, he heard another strange sound.

“An angel told us to come here to see the Savior.”

Chaim gazed at the shepherds in awe. He had been carrying precious cargo.

**

Hope you enjoyed the story - be sure to stop by Susanna's post and see all the other amazing entries!

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

21 comments:

  1. Beautiful story! And I love it coming from the perspective of the donkey! Great job!

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  2. If my kids read this, I may find a thimble of water by the donkey in my nativity! I loved this story.

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    1. Thanks, Jen :) I hope I started a new tradition. ;)

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  3. Lovely story, Joanne, and original POV. Well done!

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  4. I absolutely pictured Chaim's fuzzy face taking it all in. Very cute story.

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    1. Thanks so much, Wendy - it was fun to write :)

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  5. Joanne, I love the pov of the donkey. Gives us a beautiful spin of a beloved story.

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  6. Joanne, I love the nativity from the Donkey's perspective. Very nice.

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  7. What a lovely version of the Christmas story from the donkey's POV! Love it, Joanne! And of course he would be thirsty, and they would be busy :), but how nice that they remembered him when they could! Happy Holidays and thanks so much for joining in the contest fun!

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    1. Thank YOU, Susanna, for the contest - and commenting, and the encouragement. It was a fun piece to write :)

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  8. Precious. Would you mind if I used it for our Wednesday Friends and Heroes children's group at church. It's a special night and this would just add to it.

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    1. Oh, Lollie - I would be absolutely honored! Thanks so much for asking - and for stopping by to comment :)

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  9. Thank you, Joanne, for a fabulous narration from a very interesting perspective! We really liked it. Jane will read it to our children today. Happy holidays!
    With warm hugs,
    Fred and Jane
    Commented on Charity Actions at essay-writing-place.com

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    1. Thanks so much Fred :) I definitely enjoyed writing it - I hope your kids enjoy it!

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    2. Oh, they just adore your story, Joanne! Jane had to read it at least three times for them:) They liked the Donkey so much! Thank you so much!
      Fred and Jane

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    3. SO very glad to hear it! Merry Christmas!

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    4. Thank you! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
      Sincerely,
      Fred and Jane
      Commented on Love In the Heart

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