Monday, January 19, 2009

Quonkey Donkey

On the southern plains of Argentina, the amazing Quonkey Donkey runs in vast herds that can grow into the hundreds. The Donkey's distinctive "Honkey!" sound can be heard for miles, and many a shepherd or a remote villager has found comfort in the twilight sound of hundreds of the creatures making their "Honkey!" sound as the sun sinks below the southern horizon .

The Quonkey Donkey is a reclusive creature that roams the plains, feeding on grass, small bugs and worms, and wild flowers. The Donkey is actually a small horse that is more closely related to the Zebra than its namesake, and the Quonkey Donkey's remote ancestors were probably indeed zebras who found their way from Africa to Brazil and then south.

Aside from its endearing appearance, a number of things make the Quonkey Donkey an unbelievably strange creature. One is that Quonkey Donkey mothers carry their babies for an unbelievable five years. In fact, at any given moment, one out of every three female Quonkey Donkeys is pregnant. Pregnant Quonkey Donkeys are extremely territorial and known for their fierce tempers.

A second strange thing is that Quonkey Donkeys have the ability, much like parrots, to mimic human speech. Quonkey Donkeys have been taught to sing the Argentine national anthem and to recite the Ghettysburg address, albeit in a heavy Argentine accent. While the creatures are notoriously feral and rarely survive long in captivity or pens, it's not uncommon for an independent Quonkey Donkey to take a liking to a human when the two do come into contact.

Remote villagers and shepherds tell a wild variety of folk tales about Quonkey Donkeys who befriend a lost traveller or a lonely child, often saving them from disaster or bringing them good luck. And more than one homeowner has awoken to find a lone Quonkey Donkey in their garden feasting on their roses. There are even some tales of Quonkey Donkeys transforming into human beings, a creature sometimes called a "Quonkey Honk".

The Jorge Luis Borges story The Donkey in the Labyrinth tells the story of a Quonkey Donkey who befriends a doctor of philosophy. The story was turned into a film and was retitled The Garden of Stripes. The young Che Guevara briefly befriended a Quonkey Donkey while on his famous motorcycle journey; he taught it to say, "we are one country". The American television show Mr. Ed, about a talking horse, was reportedly based on O Senor Jose, a famous Quonkey Donkey who was bought by a Brazilian promoter and toured Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil in the 1950's to great acclaim before dying of a brain aneurism. The Bahian adventures of O Senor Jose were a central feature in the Jorge Amado novel, Lucia e O Quonkey Donkey D'Amor, which takes place in Salvador during O Senor Jose's tour.

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