In the blockbuster animated movie Shrek, we are introduced to numerous fairy tale creatures. They come from a variety of sources, including classic fairy tales (ex. Snow White) and nursery rhymes (three blind mice). But Donkey’s origin remains a mystery. Unlike all the other donkeys in the world, he talks, thus clearly making him a fairy tale creature. But where did he come from?
You need wonder no more, for I have found the answer.
In the book of Numbers of the Old Testament, chapter 22 tells the story of a man named Balaam, a soothsayer. The Moabites wanted to defeat the Israelites in battle, so they offered Balaam a reward if he would curse the Israelites, thus enabling the Moabites to win. Instead of cursing them, Balaam blessed them. Obviously, this did not satisfy the Moabites, so they continued to pester him.
Balaam invited the Moabite messengers who had come to see him to stay the night. Balaam asked God if he could go with them, and God said Balaam could go with them, as long as he only said what God told him to say.
The next day, Balaam saddled his donkey to go with the Moabites. God sent an angel with a sword to block the path. Balaam couldn’t see the angel, but his donkey could, and she refused to go forward. Finally, Balaam in anger started to beat his donkey.
The donkey says in verse 28: “What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?”
Without skipping a beat, Balaam replies “Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill thee.”
The story continues after that, but what always struck me as odd, besides the donkey talking, is that Balaam doesn’t find it strange that his donkey is talking to him. However, it wouldn’t be strange in this instance if the donkey were a talking donkey. It would also explain why Balaam was so quick to beat the donkey: even though she’s perfectly capable of explaining why she’s being unruly, she doesn’t.
Balaam’s donkey is indeed a she, which must mean that Donkey from Shrek must be her son.
Now that I have solved this mystery for you, share your newfound knowledge (and this blog post) with your friends on social media!