On The Spittle Of Donkeys

I am delighted to post another article from Miss Blossom Partridge’s Weekly Digest. This one is from her invaluable series “The Expectorations Of Various Quadruped Beasts”. Permission to reproduce it here was granted after I made a donation to Miss Blossom Partridge’s Lovely Bucolic Donkey Sanctuary. Though small, the donation exacted was double the amount paid for permission to post Miss Blossom Partridge’s piece on giant albino kangaroos. I have decided to set up a fund to meet what I fear may be ever-increasing costs demanded by the mysterious Dr Grimes, who claims to be Miss Blossom Partridge’s accountant. If you would like to contribute, and so guarantee the opportunity to read more of her excellent work, please whack that PayPal button over on the right of the screen and give generously.

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Last week in Miss Blossom Partridge’s Weekly Digest we considered the sputum of giraffes, so this week, following the extremely complicated scheme devised for this series, we turn inevitably to the spittle of donkeys. We looked at giraffe sputum in a necessarily abstract, theoretical manner, but when it comes to the spittle of donkeys we are going to take a more practical approach, so roll up your sleeves, wash your hands with swarfega, and let’s get down to business!

The first thing you need to do is to find some donkeys. Do not for one minute think you can come a-trespassing in my Lovely Bucolic Donkey Sanctuary, however! It is surrounded by an electrified fence and every hundred yards or so there is a watchtower in which is perched one of my sentries armed with a high-velocity sniper’s rifle. Step over the whitewashed line parallel to the fence and you will be shot in the centre of your forehead. I do not bandy about the word “sanctuary” loosely.

Far better that you go to the seaside, where donkeys are often to be found giving rides along the beach to overexcited tinies. The seaside donkeymaster may not take kindly to you collecting spittle from one of his donkeys, so what you will need to do is to lure one away from the pack. Pick a donkey that is not, at the time, laden with a squealing infant on its back. A small bale of straw ought to be sufficient temptation for the donkey, but you will need to ensure the donkeymaster’s attention is distracted. This can be accomplished by, for example, setting fire to an ice cream kiosk elsewhere on the beach. While the donkeymaster is gazing, open-mouthed at the conflagration, wave the small bale of straw in the face of your chosen donkey and lure it away until you are concealed by sand dunes or some similar seaside beach feature.

Do not fret your little head about being charged with donkey abduction. Once you have collected its spittle, you are going to return the donkey whence you found it, no harm done. Before so returning it, you will again need to divert the donkeymaster’s attention. For this purpose, it can be useful to have an accomplice, a stooge who swims out to sea and then pretends to be drowning, frantically waving their arms and shouting. But we are leaping ahead of ourselves.

Duly hidden behind dunes, or similar, you can begin to feed handfuls of straw to the donkey. As it munches, spittle will be produced from various glands in its mouth. I will not go into the precise physiological details. Just bear with me. Now, while with one hand you tear off portions of straw from the bale and stuff them into the donkey’s mouth, with your other hand you should be holding a bowl under its chin to collect such spittle as it dribbles and drools. Remember that some donkeys slobber while eating more than others, and do not hit any panic buttons. Provided the donkey munches straw for about ten minutes, it should almost certainly produce sufficient spittle to fill your bowl, if not to the brim then as near as dammit.

When you are happy with the amount of donkey spittle in your bowl, transfer it to a flask by means of a siphon and funnel. Pat the donkey on its head to show your appreciation. Then use your walkie-talkie to alert your accomplice, who should come scampering out of a chalet in his swimming costume and hare across the beach and plunge into the sea and swim out and then pretend to be drowning and wave and scream. Peering out from behind the dunes, make sure the donkeymaster is distracted, and lead the donkey back, inserting it among the other donkeys as if it had never been away. If an infant is loitering nearby, pick it up and plop it on to the donkey’s back. Thus, when the donkeymaster turns around to scan his donkeys, he will be even less likely to think one of them has been lured away behind the sand dunes to have its spittle collected. You can now go home.

In your kitchenette, pour the donkey spittle out of the flask into a container. There will almost certainly be a few strands of munched straw intermingled with the spittle, so pick them out with a pair of tweezers and discard them in your bin. Do the same with any other foreign bodies that have found their way into the container until you have one hundred percent pure donkey spittle. This can then be used for a vast range of different purposes, most of which hark back centuries and have come down to us through rustic lore and wisdom.

While you ponder to precisely what purpose you intend to put the spittle of the donkey, take a moment to thank your lucky stars that you live in an enlightened age. Had you been found poring over a container of donkey spittle at virtually any time in those past centuries, you would have been burned as a witch.

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