There was once a man who bought a colt. The colt was untrained and had never been ridden and the journey home was a hard one. As the man struggled to tie the colt to the wall of his house, his neighbour saw him and said,
“Is that the best you could get? You’ll waste all your time trying to train him. Still, you’ve got to go with what you can afford, I suppose…”
A stranger was passing and had stopped to watch. He heard what the neighbour had said and spoke.
“Friend, you judge by the values of the world. But God is our master and all that he has made is valued by him. Even this day, the master may have need of this colt, untrained and unbroken as he is. And if he does, then the beast’s true worth shall be seen.”
Then the stranger turned and left them.
Later that day, the owner of the colt was outside his house with a group of men, discussing the best way to train the donkey. Two men turned into the street and approached the house. They walked up to the wall and began to untie the colt. Frowning, the owner approached them and cried,
“Hey! What are you doing? That’s my colt!”
The men turned to him and said,
“The master needs it.”
The words of the stranger hung in the air. The owner looked at the men and nodded. He watched as they untied his colt and struggled to lead it away, the donkey pulling against the rope at every step. Feeling the eyes of his friends on his back, he spoke, quietly but firmly,
“The master needs it.”
Later that day, the man saw streams of people rushing past his house. He stepped outside and stopped one of the crowd, who said,
“Haven’t you heard? The master is coming!”
The man left his house and followed the people out of the town, where they swarmed in huge numbers, lining the streets. Some of them were waving palm branches and cheering. Standing on tiptoe and craning his neck, the man looked up the road and saw more crowds approaching. At the head of the group, a man was riding a donkey that looked just like his colt. But this animal was not straining or pulling against its rope. It walked humbly but with great dignity, bearing its master willingly.
“The master needs it,” the man whispered.
As the crowd swelled and rolled back, the man found himself at the front of the roadside. Unthinkingly, he reached up, took off his cloak and spread it on the ground. He watched as the hooves he had struggled to guide that morning left their prints on his coat. Looking up, his eyes met those of the man riding the colt. Then the crowd passed by and he was gone.
Later that evening, the man stood on his doorstep in the gathering dusk. Two men turned into the street and approached the house, guiding the colt. They handed the rope to the man and said, “Thank you.”
The man nodded, then they turned and walked back up the street. As he held the colt, it did not pull or struggle. He led it to the wall and tethered it there easily.
Then he turned and went into the house, closing the door behind him.