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Donkey Child Donkey Child ˈdɑŋki ˈtʃaɪɫd

Written by Lindiwe Matshikiza

Illustrated by Meghan Judge

Read by Darshan Soni

Language English

Level Level 3

Narrate full story

Autoplay story


It was a little girl who first saw the mysterious shape in the distance.

It was a little girl who first saw the mysterious shape in the distance.

ˈɪt ˈwɑz ˈeɪ ˈɫɪtəɫ ˈɡɝɫ ˈhu ˈfɝst ˈsɔ ˈðə mɪˈstɪɹiəs ˈʃeɪp ˈɪn ˈðə ˈdɪstəns


As the shape moved closer, she saw that it was a heavily pregnant woman.

As the shape moved closer, she saw that it was a heavily pregnant woman.

ˈæz ˈðə ˈʃeɪp ˈmuvd ˈkɫoʊsɝ ˈʃi ˈsɔ ˈðæt ˈɪt ˈwɑz ˈeɪ ˈhɛvəɫi ˈpɹɛɡnənt ˈwʊmən


Shy but brave, the little girl moved nearer to the woman. “We must keep her with us,” the little girl’s people decided. “We’ll keep her and her child safe.”

Shy but brave, the little girl moved nearer to the woman. "We must keep her with us," the little girl's people decided. "We'll keep her and her child safe."

ˈʃaɪ ˈbət ˈbɹeɪv ˈðə ˈɫɪtəɫ ˈɡɝɫ ˈmuvd ˈnɪɹɝ ˈtu ˈðə ˈwʊmən ˈwi ˈməst ˈkip ˈhɝ ˈwɪð ˈəs ˈðə ˈɫɪtəɫ ˈɡɝɫz ˈpipəɫ ˌdɪˈsaɪdɪd ˈwiɫ ˈkip ˈhɝ ˈænd ˈhɝ ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈseɪf


The child was soon on its way. “Push!” “Bring blankets!” “Water!” “Puuuuussssshhh!!!”

The child was soon on its way. "Push!" "Bring blankets!" "Water!" "Puuuuussssshhh!!!"

ˈðə ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈwɑz ˈsun ˈɑn ˈɪts ˈweɪ ˈpʊʃ ˈbɹɪŋ ˈbɫæŋkəts ˈwɔtɝ @puuuuussssshhh


But when they saw the baby, everyone jumped back in shock. “A donkey?!”

But when they saw the baby, everyone jumped back in shock. "A donkey?!"

ˈbət ˈhwɛn ˈðeɪ ˈsɔ ˈðə ˈbeɪbi ˈɛvɹiˌwən ˈdʒəmpt ˈbæk ˈɪn ˈʃɑk ˈeɪ ˈdɑŋki


Everyone began to argue. “We said we would keep mother and child safe, and that’s what we’ll do,” said some. “But they will bring us bad luck!” said others.

Everyone began to argue. "We said we would keep mother and child safe, and that's what we'll do," said some. "But they will bring us bad luck!" said others.

ˈɛvɹiˌwən biˈɡæn ˈtu ˈɑɹɡju ˈwi ˈsɛd ˈwi ˈwʊd ˈkip ˈməðɝ ˈænd ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈseɪf ˈænd ˈðæts ˈhwət ˈwiɫ ˈdu ˈsɛd ˈsəm ˈbət ˈðeɪ ˈwɪɫ ˈbɹɪŋ ˈəs ˈbæd ˈɫək ˈsɛd ˈəðɝz


And so the woman found herself alone again. She wondered what to do with this awkward child. She wondered what to do with herself.

And so the woman found herself alone again. She wondered what to do with this awkward child. She wondered what to do with herself.

ˈænd ˈsoʊ ˈðə ˈwʊmən ˈfaʊnd hɝˈsɛɫf əˈɫoʊn əˈɡeɪn ˈʃi ˈwəndɝd ˈhwət ˈtu ˈdu ˈwɪð ˈðɪs ˈɑkwɝd ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈʃi ˈwəndɝd ˈhwət ˈtu ˈdu ˈwɪð hɝˈsɛɫf


But finally she had to accept that he was her child and she was his mother.

But finally she had to accept that he was her child and she was his mother.

ˈbət ˈfaɪnəɫi ˈʃi ˈhæd ˈtu ækˈsɛpt ˈðæt ˈhi ˈwɑz ˈhɝ ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈænd ˈʃi ˈwɑz ˈhɪz ˈməðɝ


Now, if the child had stayed that same, small size, everything might have been different. But the donkey child grew and grew until he could no longer fit on his mother’s back. And no matter how hard he tried, he could not behave like a human being. His mother was often tired and frustrated. Sometimes she made him do work meant for animals.

Now, if the child had stayed that same, small size, everything might have been different. But the donkey child grew and grew until he could no longer fit on his mother's back. And no matter how hard he tried, he could not behave like a human being. His mother was often tired and frustrated. Sometimes she made him do work meant for animals.

ˈnaʊ ˈɪf ˈðə ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈhæd ˈsteɪd ˈðæt ˈseɪm ˈsmɔɫ ˈsaɪz ˈɛvɹiˌθɪŋ ˈmaɪt ˈhæv ˈbɪn ˈdɪfɝənt ˈbət ˈðə ˈdɑŋki ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈɡɹu ˈænd ˈɡɹu ənˈtɪɫ ˈhi ˈkʊd ˈnoʊ ˈɫɔŋɡɝ ˈfɪt ˈɑn ˈhɪz ˈməðɝz ˈbæk ˈænd ˈnoʊ ˈmætɝ ˈhaʊ ˈhɑɹd ˈhi ˈtɹaɪd ˈhi ˈkʊd ˈnɑt bɪˈheɪv ˈɫaɪk ˈeɪ ˈhjumən ˈbiɪŋ ˈhɪz ˈməðɝ ˈwɑz ˈɔfən ˈtaɪɝd ˈænd ˈfɹəsˌtɹeɪtəd ˈsəmˌtaɪmz ˈʃi ˈmeɪd ˈhɪm ˈdu ˈwɝk ˈmɛnt ˈfɔɹ ˈænəməɫz


Confusion and anger built up inside Donkey. He couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t be like this and he couldn’t be like that. He became so angry that, one day, he kicked his mother to the ground.

Confusion and anger built up inside Donkey. He couldn't do this and he couldn't do that. He couldn't be like this and he couldn't be like that. He became so angry that, one day, he kicked his mother to the ground.

kənˈfjuʒən ˈænd ˈæŋɡɝ ˈbɪɫt ˈəp ˈɪnˌsaɪd ˈdɑŋki ˈhi ˈkʊdən ˈdu ˈðɪs ˈænd ˈhi ˈkʊdən ˈdu ˈðæt ˈhi ˈkʊdən ˈbi ˈɫaɪk ˈðɪs ˈænd ˈhi ˈkʊdən ˈbi ˈɫaɪk ˈðæt ˈhi biˈkeɪm ˈsoʊ ˈæŋɡɹi ˈðæt ˈwən ˈdeɪ ˈhi ˈkɪkt ˈhɪz ˈməðɝ ˈtu ˈðə ˈɡɹaʊnd


Donkey was filled with shame. He started to run away as far and fast as he could.

Donkey was filled with shame. He started to run away as far and fast as he could.

ˈdɑŋki ˈwɑz ˈfɪɫd ˈwɪð ˈʃeɪm ˈhi ˈstɑɹtɪd ˈtu ˈɹən əˈweɪ ˈæz ˈfɑɹ ˈænd ˈfæst ˈæz ˈhi ˈkʊd


By the time he stopped running, it was night, and Donkey was lost. “Hee haw?” he whispered to the darkness. “Hee Haw?” it echoed back. He was alone. Curling himself into a tight ball, he fell into a deep and troubled sleep.

By the time he stopped running, it was night, and Donkey was lost. "Hee haw?" he whispered to the darkness. "Hee Haw?" it echoed back. He was alone. Curling himself into a tight ball, he fell into a deep and troubled sleep.

ˈbaɪ ˈðə ˈtaɪm ˈhi ˈstɑpt ˈɹənɪŋ ˈɪt ˈwɑz ˈnaɪt ˈænd ˈdɑŋki ˈwɑz ˈɫɔst ˈhi ˈhɔ ˈhi ˈhwɪspɝd ˈtu ˈðə ˈdɑɹknəs ˈhi ˈhɔ ˈɪt ˈɛkoʊd ˈbæk ˈhi ˈwɑz əˈɫoʊn ˈkɝɫɪŋ hɪmˈsɛɫf ˈɪntu ˈeɪ ˈtaɪt ˈbɔɫ ˈhi ˈfɛɫ ˈɪntu ˈeɪ ˈdip ˈænd ˈtɹəbəɫd ˈsɫip


Donkey woke up to find a strange old man staring down at him. He looked into the old man’s eyes and started to feel a twinkle of hope.

Donkey woke up to find a strange old man staring down at him. He looked into the old man's eyes and started to feel a twinkle of hope.

ˈdɑŋki ˈwoʊk ˈəp ˈtu ˈfaɪnd ˈeɪ ˈstɹeɪndʒ ˈoʊɫd ˈmæn ˈstɛɹɪŋ ˈdaʊn ˈæt ˈhɪm ˈhi ˈɫʊkt ˈɪntu ˈðə ˈoʊɫd ˈmænz ˈaɪz ˈænd ˈstɑɹtɪd ˈtu ˈfiɫ ˈeɪ ˈtwɪŋkəɫ ˈəv ˈhoʊp


Donkey went to stay with the old man, who taught him many different ways to survive. Donkey listened and learned, and so did the old man. They helped each other, and they laughed together.

Donkey went to stay with the old man, who taught him many different ways to survive. Donkey listened and learned, and so did the old man. They helped each other, and they laughed together.

ˈdɑŋki ˈwɛnt ˈtu ˈsteɪ ˈwɪð ˈðə ˈoʊɫd ˈmæn ˈhu ˈtɔt ˈhɪm ˈmɛni ˈdɪfɝənt ˈweɪz ˈtu sɝˈvaɪv ˈdɑŋki ˈɫɪsənd ˈænd ˈɫɝnd ˈænd ˈsoʊ ˈdɪd ˈðə ˈoʊɫd ˈmæn ˈðeɪ ˈhɛɫpt ˈitʃ ˈəðɝ ˈænd ˈðeɪ ˈɫæft təˈɡɛðɝ


One morning, the old man asked Donkey to carry him to the top of a mountain.

One morning, the old man asked Donkey to carry him to the top of a mountain.

ˈwən ˈmɔɹnɪŋ ˈðə ˈoʊɫd ˈmæn ˈæskt ˈdɑŋki ˈtu ˈkæɹi ˈhɪm ˈtu ˈðə ˈtɑp ˈəv ˈeɪ ˈmaʊntən


High up amongst the clouds they fell asleep. Donkey dreamed that his mother was sick and calling to him. And when he woke up…

High up amongst the clouds they fell asleep. Donkey dreamed that his mother was sick and calling to him. And when he woke up...

ˈhaɪ ˈəp əˈməŋst ˈðə ˈkɫaʊdz ˈðeɪ ˈfɛɫ əˈsɫip ˈdɑŋki ˈdɹimd ˈðæt ˈhɪz ˈməðɝ ˈwɑz ˈsɪk ˈænd ˈkɔɫɪŋ ˈtu ˈhɪm ˈænd ˈhwɛn ˈhi ˈwoʊk ˈəp


… the clouds had disappeared along with his friend, the old man.

... the clouds had disappeared along with his friend, the old man.

ˈðə ˈkɫaʊdz ˈhæd ˌdɪsəˈpiɹd əˈɫɔŋ ˈwɪð ˈhɪz ˈfɹɛnd ˈðə ˈoʊɫd ˈmæn


Donkey finally knew what to do.

Donkey finally knew what to do.

ˈdɑŋki ˈfaɪnəɫi ˈnju ˈhwət ˈtu ˈdu


Donkey found his mother, alone and mourning her lost child. They stared at each other for a long time. And then hugged each other very hard.

Donkey found his mother, alone and mourning her lost child. They stared at each other for a long time. And then hugged each other very hard.

ˈdɑŋki ˈfaʊnd ˈhɪz ˈməðɝ əˈɫoʊn ˈænd ˈmɔɹnɪŋ ˈhɝ ˈɫɔst ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈðeɪ ˈstɛɹd ˈæt ˈitʃ ˈəðɝ ˈfɔɹ ˈeɪ ˈɫɔŋ ˈtaɪm ˈænd ˈðɛn ˈhəɡd ˈitʃ ˈəðɝ ˈvɛɹi ˈhɑɹd


The donkey child and his mother have grown together and found many ways of living side by side. Slowly, all around them, other families have started to settle.

The donkey child and his mother have grown together and found many ways of living side by side. Slowly, all around them, other families have started to settle.

ˈðə ˈdɑŋki ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈænd ˈhɪz ˈməðɝ ˈhæv ˈɡɹoʊn təˈɡɛðɝ ˈænd ˈfaʊnd ˈmɛni ˈweɪz ˈəv ˈɫɪvɪŋ ˈsaɪd ˈbaɪ ˈsaɪd ˈsɫoʊɫi ˈɔɫ ɝˈaʊn ˈðɛm ˈəðɝ ˈfæməɫiz ˈhæv ˈstɑɹtɪd ˈtu ˈsɛtəɫ


Written by: Lindiwe Matshikiza
Illustrated by: Meghan Judge
Read by: Darshan Soni
Language: English
Level 3
Source: Donkey Child from African Storybook
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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