This creature is loved the world over for its gentle nature and its long big ears. The donkey is supposed to have gained these when, in the Garden of Eden, God was checking the name of each animal. The donkey could not remember and Adam had to remind the animal by pulling on the ears. When these long ears twitch it is said to indicate that wet weather is on the way.
It is a beloved animal in many faiths, not least the Christian, as it was a donkey that carried Christ triumphant into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. This is how it is said to have achieved a mark in the shape of a cross on its back.
An ancient European belief tells that a donkey knows when it is about to die, rather like an elephant, and will take itself away knowing that its time is over. Today the journalistic expression ‘Drop the dead donkey’ reflects upon the same idea, of not pursuing something that has come to its natural end.