A Night In The Stable

A slightly off-beat re-telling of a familiar event.


I’m done-in, I hardly got any sleep last night because of all the comings and goings in here. I mean how is a chap supposed to get any sleep with the door opening and shutting, slamming back as it’s caught by the wind. I was already pretty tired last night, after dragging stuff around the market all day through the crowds.

It all started soon after sundown and there were already twice as many of us in here as usual anyway, with all the extra people in town they’d brought animals that need a place for the night too. That wasn’ t too bad though; kept it a bit warmer, I suppose.

Anyway, first off there’s a minor commotion at the inn next door, then a few minutes later this couple comes in, with a donkey in tow, cos apparently this was the only place they could find  to stay in town.

Odd couple they were, the bloke was quite a bit older than the girl. That wasn’t too bad, I thought it’d it give me someone to chat with till it was time to bed down for the night but no such luck. They’d been here, oh I don’t know, a half hour or so and then there’s this bright light streaming in through all the gaps in the roof straw. It’s coming from outside shining down right around this stable. It was brighter in here than the feeble, little lamps the couple had lit. Much brighter and it would be lighter than the daylight that gets in.

The next thing to happen, a bit later into the night, the woman starts moaning like her tummy hurts, so I’m thinking maybe she’s eaten something bad. Oh no, nothing like that, she’s only having a kid if you please, right there in the middle of the stable. Well apart from her moaning, and an occasional wail, I guess she seemed to be coping with it ok. It was the bloke who seemed more worried. He was pacing, sitting down, standing up and pacing again. He just didn’t know what to do with himself.

The woman’s moaning and the bloke’s pacing goes on for a couple of hours, though I couldn’t bear to watch of course, till it goes quiet for a few seconds then ‘slap’ and the youngster cries. My what a pair of lungs that lad had on him.

Soon after the boy was born, the light gets a bit less, so I thinks that now maybe we can get a bit of peace and some sleep but no, the bloke only starts moving the furniture around doesn’t he. The cheeky so-and-so only goes and nicks our manger full of straw to lay the boy in, and without so much as a by-your-leave.

Peace at last after the furniture moving? Well for a short time anyway. Next thing you know there’s more people come piling in. Shepherds they was and blow me if they didn’t bring even more animals with them, making it more crowded still. Well they says a cursory hello to the couple and fawned over the boy for a while, before going again and leaving a handful of bleating lambs behind. Still no chance of sleep though cos soon after the shepherds go, the door slams open yet again.

By this time, I’m starting to get irritable with the lack of sleep but I just have to grin and bear it as three more guys troop in. These fella’s now, they were dressed in finery and carrying gifts for the young-un. No cheap tat, or livestock, from these chaps, they brought some bright, shiny yellow metal and a couple of helpings of expensive smelling stuff. Actually not a bad pong I suppose.

Of course, there was another lot of oohing, arring and coochy coos over the baby. I might even have heard one of ‘em mutter summat about a ‘King’ in amongst all that gushing praise.

Apparently the posh guys arrived on some animals that were too big to get into the stable, so had to be parked outside. My mate told me the next day they had been camels. Well finally after they went, and the lad drifted off too for a time, I actually did get a little bit of sleep but just a little, mind you, because by now it was getting on toward dawn.

Oh I almost forgot, I suppose I’d better tell you who we all are: You’d never pronounce my name in English, so you can call me Fabius (I think my master was poking fun at the Romans, when he named me). I’m the donkey who lives in the stable by the inn in Bethlehem and had to put up with all the unexpected guests last night. The odd couple’ s names were Joseph and Mary they named the lad, Jesus.


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