Donkey Market

Informant: My friend’s grandfather is originally from Tehran, Iran. He moved to California as an adult but retold some of his favorite stories he heard from his parents as a child.

Original Script: “Once, Mullah realizes his donkey is very old and he’s not working anymore. I mean, he’s not useful anymore. That’s why he wants to take it to—they had a special place for buying and selling donkeys. They had a special market, in the market of the town there was a special place, specially devoted to donkeys, for instance. He takes that, he goes to that market, calls somebody because there was people over there introducing donkeys for the buyers. He says, ‘okay, take this and go ahead and do the—the job, your job.’ He takes the donkey and goes and starts the shouting, ‘this donkey’s a very great donkey! Very powerful! Very beautiful!’, starts explaining about the donkey, many many good things about the donkey. Mullah thinks about it, what a great donkey! So he calls him back and says, ‘this is a very good donkey!’ He says, ‘I told you!’ He said, ‘Okay, how much?’

Context of the Performance: Over dinner, family members exchanged old folk stories they remember from Iran.

Thoughts about the Piece: This is a longer tale about Mullah. This was also my favorite story, because although some of the plot details were irrelevant—donkey markets, for example, are no longer around—the underlying story is timeless.