BunniHoTep and the Donkey’s Boy – a Yule Story

Once upon a time BunniHoTep was sitting on the Temple porch. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and every one was out celebrating the Inundation. The porch was cool and there was a breeze blowing through the pillars that just lightly lifted her fur. BunniHoTep was happy but then she was happy most of the time.

BunniHotep was startled by a noise not very far away. What was a donkey doing braying out in the Temple district? She could hear the braying getting closer and closer and she got up to see what the commotion was all about.

A donkey came running down the avenue with a small boy bouncing on his back. The little boy was having a fine time yelling at the top of his lungs along with the donkey but the donkey didn’t look very happy as he ran.

BunniHotep stepped off the porch in front of the donkey and the donkey skidded to a stop. “What’s all this noise about?” BunniHotep asked the donkey.

“He’s supposed to be studying with his father and instead he’s making me run around the town.” replied the very disgruntled and angry donkey.

The boy was looking curiously at the rabbit goddess and the donkey as they talked. He looked to be about three years old and had a mop of curly dark brown hair that kept flopping in his face. BunniHoTep thought it was about time his mother sheared this sheep. The boy smiled down at her.

“Why aren’t you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?” She asked the boy.

“I’m tired of studying and Donkey didn’t look like he was busy.”

“I was busy resting.” said the donkey. “Your father has me hauling timber all the time. It was my turn to rest, you little monster.” The donkey seemed resigned. It obviously wasn’t the first time this had happened.

“He wants to drive camels and he thinks he can practice on me instead of learning to be a carpenter like his father. He’s supposed to be learning to do his measurement tables.”

“I already know them.” The boy told the donkey.

“How could you? Your father only showed them to you this morning.” The donkey scoffed.

“Enough!” cried BunniHoTep, “Your bickering is hurting my ears. And how can you understand what Donkey says?” BunniHoTep was curious. Human boys didn’t generally understand the speech of animals. The child was clearly no Egyptian godling. He didn’t look Egyptian at all.

“I understand the speech of all animals. I always have. Right, Donkey?”

Donkey nodded with an exasperated look on his face. “We get no privacy in the stable when he’s around. He’s always in our business.”

“Well, it kept you from keeping that stone in your hoof.” The boy retorted.

“Enough,” BunniHoTep said again. “What are you doing over here on Temple Row?”

“My parents say there is only one god and I heard from the animals that Egyptians have many gods and even some goddesses and I wanted to see for myself.”

“Well, now you’ve met one and you can go home.” BunniHoTep said. She didn’t like being the object of scrutiny. She knew some people believed there was only one god but she didn’t know how they could in Egypt when there were so many temples to so many gods but to each their own.”

“You’re a goddess?” the child asked. “You’re a rabbit.”

“Yes, I’m a goddess, my name is BunniHoTep and I’m the Goddess of Finding Lost things and Small Joys.”

“What are small joys?”

“Small Joys are the things that make life worth living like appreciating a sunset and enjoying a flower or listening to friend’s talk.”

“Oh,” said the boy thoughtfully. “Like listening with love.”

“Yes like that. Would you like the see the other temples? Most of the gods and goddesses are out celebrating the Inundation and giving thanks for the earth’s bounty but we can walk around.”

“Okay.” The boy got off Donkey and took BunniHoTep’s paw. “Let’s go.

BunniHotep and the boy walked down the row with Donkey following and BunniHoTep pointed out each temple and told the boy what that god’s job was.

“Your gods work very hard, don’t they?”

“Most times.”BunniHoTep replied. “Would you like to meet one of my good friends?”

“Sure.”

They had walked down to edge of the Nile by Ma’at’s Temple where there was a smaller dwelling. It wasn’t a very big building and it appeared to have a mud wallow in front of it at the edge of the Nile. There were 2 small ears poking out of the mud.

“Ammit! Come meet a new friend.” BunniHoTep called.

The ears started to rise and this incredibly ugly beast started to rise out of the wallow. It looked like it had been put together with spare parts of several animals mostly hippo and crocodile. Ammit had a hesitant look on her face.

“Hello.” She said quietly. Ammit was very shy and knew people were afraid of her but she trusted her friend BunniHotep so she kept coming until she was on solid ground. She stood looking at the boy and BunniHoTep. The boy looked like he was ready to break and run.

BunniHoTep had been wondering if he would run too so she kept a tight grip on his hand. “If you want to know the gods and goddesses of Egypt you have to know even the unpleasant looking and scary ones. Ammit has a very important job. She eats the souls of the wicked. Sometimes even the most ugly and odd looking people do the best things for other people. Ammit is a good soul and a good friend no matter how she looks.”

The boy had stopped pulling and was offering to scratch Ammit’s ears.

“Even the ugly and odd can be good?” he asked.

“Yes, just like sometimes the most beautiful can be bad. Don’t judge by looks, Young man. Even the smallest or ugliest or lowliest can be loving good people.”

The boy was thoughtfully stroking Ammit’s neck and Ammit was almost purring at the unexpected kindness. Most people ran away from her.

“Shall we go have tea in my Temple?” BunniHotep asked. “By the way boy, what’s your name? Calling you boy seems rude.”

“My mom calls me Jesse but my dad says it’s Yeshua. I like Jesse.”

“Well, come on Jesse let’s have tea and then I’ll send you and Donkey home.”

They all walked back to the Temple and had a nice time at tea and when the boy left he was thinking hard.

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