Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

Art Linkletter (American radio broadcaster, television personality, author, b.1912)

I first saw this short story, Donkey in a Well, when I was released from the hospital in 2003.  I had forgotten about it until Nelson RN had posted his version.  He is a terrific writer and photographer.  It is well worth your time to stop over and check out his blog.  Shortly after seeing his post, it became a Facebook favorite and a common forward in emails. Most recently, a reader of my blog sent it to me as a suggestion for my weekly quotes and thoughts series.  I’ve researched the original author but cannot find who deserves the credit.  Thank you, Jennifer, for forwarding this version of the story to me.  I appreciate all comments and emails with suggestion of quotes and thoughts that have inspired you.  Please see my About page for my email address.

Donkey photo courtesy of MorgueFile


One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The farmer heard his animal cry piteously for hours as he tried to figure out what to do. Finally this farmer decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway.  It just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began shoveling dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on all of us, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. With shaking the dirt off and finding strength to stand again, you can get out of the deepest wells just by never stopping and never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!


Comments on: "Weekly Serving of Optimism: Quotes & Thoughts (Donkey in a Well)" (6)

  1. I one I got from another stroke survivor is about frogs:
    Two Frogs
    By: Author Unknown
    A number of frogs were traveling through the woods. Two of
    them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered
    around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they
    told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.
    The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out
    of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept
    telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead.
    Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs
    were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.
    The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could.
    Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the
    pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made
    it out.
    When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear
    us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He
    thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
    This story teaches two lessons:
    1. There is the power of life and death in the tongue. An
    encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up
    and help them make it through the day.
    2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be the
    push over the edge. Be careful of what you say. Speak
    life to those who cross your path. Anyone can speak
    words that can rob another of the spirit to push forward
    in difficult times. “Acceptance” is a destructive word.

  2. Great story, great retelling. A winner.

  3. Oh my… I’m deeply honored… for mentioning my blog on this site. Thank you!
    Yours is such an inspirational site and I always drop by when I feel like I need to “find the strength to stand again.”
    I also tried to find who wrote this originally, but I couldn’t. Our special thanks to whoever he is.
    The story of the donkey in the well is so inspiring, and I’m glad that many people are reposting and forwarding it.
    Have a great day 🙂

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