One day, a first grade teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to her class. She came to the part of the story where the first pig was trying to accumulate the building materials for his home. She read, “…And so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said, ‘Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?’”
The teacher paused then asked the class, “And what do you think that man said?”
One little boy who lived on a pig farm raised his hand and said, “I know! He said ‘Wow! A talking pig!’”
Before cable TV, the four channels we had often left something to be desired as far as choices. Sunday morning was the dead zone. If you got up early, you could catch a couple of claymation features- Davey and Goliath, which was frankly boring, and Gumby, which was creepy. But then, a real show- one of our favorites in fact- came on: Mister Ed.
Mister Ed was a talking horse. It just doesn’t get any better than that. We would sit mesmerized as Mister Ed and his human, Wilbur, overcame life’s challenges with wholesome humor and sage horsey wisdom.
Evidently, equine comedy was en vogue for a time in Hollywood, as there was also another famous hoofed orator- Francis the Talking Mule.
I remember wishing I could meet a talking horse. Or a talking dolphin or tiger, which were my favorite animals. I especially wished dogs could talk. I thought that would be cool.
One of my favorite Bible stories is about a talking donkey. As the children of Israel journeyed after leaving Egypt, they came upon the land of Moab. The King of Moab, Balak, sought to hire a sorcerer, Balaam, to curse the Israelites. However, before the kings emissaries arrive, God tells Balaam not to do it.
Numbers 22- 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25 And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again. 26 And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. 28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay. 31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
I think if my donkey spoke to me, I would have been like the kid in the joke- wow! a talking donkey! But perhaps Balaam was stunned, as he did only say ‘Nay’. But, it was a yay-nay kind of question, wasn’t it.
It’s interesting to me that God didn’t put words in the donkeys’ mouth- he gave the donkey the ability to speak his mind. He was remarkably articulate and made a cogent point.
I guess the moral of the story is: if an animal is asking you questions, things are about to get real.
Read your Bible everyday! It is an interesting adventure.