Friday, October 31, 2008

The Porter and His Donkey

porter and his donkey in Istanbul

I thought this picture of a porter and his donkey would be a nice post to close the month. As humanity we owe a lot to animals, we have taken so much and given back so little.

Many, like dogs, horses and donkeys, have been used as service animals, especially in the army. During those days the tradition was such that after the animal retired, it was sent to one of the public pastures where food was plenty. The animal would be marked (usually its ear) with the sultan's signature. The signature meant it had a free ride; it could go any garden, literally anywhere and could do whatever it fancied. If the owner of a place nearby had required compensation because of the animal, he would have gone to a kadi (read as judge) and reported it. The damages would be paid from the treasury. Deliberately hurting a marked animal meant death.

This donkey's faith is unknown to me but it surely had a tough life.

Estimated value: $ 30


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