The story was told by an American gentleman who spent several years in Spain, engaged in business. He found that the donkey is a special favorite with the peasantry of Spain, and is treated almost as a member of the family. The women and children of the household feed him from their own hands, and pat him, and speak kindly to him. He knows them all, and loves them all. He will follow his master, and come and go at his bidding, just as an intelligent child or servant would do. He loves to have the baby placed on his back, and then he will walk gently round with him on the grass-plot in front of the cottage.
The gentleman of whom we are speaking was told of a peasant, in the neighborhood of the place where he lived while in Spain, who had for many years carried milk into the city of Madrid, to supply a set of customers. Every morning he and his donkey, with baskets well loaded, went their accustomed round. One morning the peasant was attacked by sudden illness, so that he was unable to go round with his milk, and had no one to send in his place. His wife advised him to trust their faithful donkey to go by himself, as he always knew just where to stop. The baskets were accordingly filled with cans of milk, and the priest of the village wrote, in a large hand, on a card which was fastened to the donkey’s neck, a request to the customers to measure out their own milk, and send back the empty cans. Then the donkey was told what to do, and set off with his load. The doorbells in Spain have a rope hanging outside the house, to which a wooden handle is fastened. The donkey would stop before the house of each customer, and, after waiting what he thought was a sufficient time, would pull the bell-rope with his mouth. And when he had gone through the entire round, he trotted home with the empty milk cans on his back. He continued to do this for several days, till his master got well again, and he never missed a single customer.