There are many tellings of this story, but this is my version.
The donkey was cared for by the man's followers. The young donkey, small and unimportant, was in the presence of someone he recognized by their kindness and love. Someone special. A bond grew. Jesus was gentle and loving, children patted him and gave him treats. He enjoyed being with his new owner.
But then things became frightening. People argued, they moved around in the night. They were not relaxed and happy. Judas was cruel and pushed him rudely aside, muttering, "Stupid animal!" The donkey still kept his eyes on his Master, his Jesus. He knew better than these people the love that poured from this man. Even when he was sad he still showed love.
Then came a night of a big dinner, the donkey got a special treat. Jesus came and rested his hands upon that small strong back. He took some time to pray and the donkey leaned upon him. Later, Judas left the dinner, and there was a lot of talking late into the night. Jesus and his followers came down, the donkey moved to follow Him. Hoping he could serve by giving this kind master a ride upon his strong back.
Jesus put a hand upon him and gently turned him back, "Tonight my friend I walk alone." And the donkey didn't understand why such sadness and love could be felt. His ears drooped and he started to walk back to the stable.
He stopped though, and decided to follow his Master. He followed close behind all the way to the garden, he silently watched from the trees as Jesus prayed and the other men slept. He followed his Jesus as he was arrested and followed all the way to the terrible skull hill.
There he could not bear to see this loving Master on the cross, but he could not leave him alone either. So he stood there, in the shadow of that cross, with his head down, facing away. His loyalty and love forever marked upon his back by the shadow of the cross.
Donkeys carried Mary on her way to bear her Son, they carried her and Jesus as they fled to Egypt. Finally those loyal and strong donkeys had one of their own carry the Son on Palm Sunday. We are all God's creation, and He knows and loves each of us - donkeys too! We should be so loyal, so stubborn, so strong and so kind as that young donkey.
Happy Easter. Bright blessings, always and in all ways...