Behind the Story: "The Donkey and the Falcon"

by Ryan Johnson September 29, 2018

Today, I want to share with you the story-behind-the-story of my favorite track in my new Wonder Stories collection.

I'm talking about "The Donkey and the Falcon".

The Donkey and the Falcon - Cora Stories
Click here to listen to The Donkey and the Falcon

The story is a short, simple fable about a down-to-earth donkey and a high-and-mighty falcon. Both are working animals, but they approach their work with very different attitudes.

Behind the Story: "The Donkey and the Falcon"

A good fable is like a gem -- small, polished and radiant. A fable strips away all of the unessential details to get to the very heart of a story. 

Paradoxically, while fables would seem to be the thinnest and most forgettable type of story, they often reveal great depth and longevity. When you finish a good fable, you're left with a sense of peace and calm. I love that feeling.

The depth, the peace, the craft involved -- all reasons why I love fables, as both a reader and a writer.

A few months ago, my daughter and I were reading a book of Buddhist animal fables. We'd read one or two each night before bed, and each night I'd marvel at the simplicity and wisdom in each of the fables.

I knew I wanted to write my own fable. I didn't have a story or message in mind when I started, just the thought of using a hard-working donkey.

With that image of a kind, steady donkey in my mind, I flipped on my tape recorder and improvised a fable. Then, like a sculptor, I started to chisel away at the story until it was as lean as I could make it. Each word had to earn its way onto the page.

I'm very proud of the "The Donkey and the Falcon." I enjoyed creating voices for the donkey and the falcon when I recorded it. (I heard from one listener that those voices are the best in the whole collection, a claim I won't dispute.)

"The Donkey and the Falcon" isn't the flashiest or funniest story in the collection. It's short and quiet and humble. But that's part of why I love it.

I hope you love it, too.

You can listen to "The Donkey and the Falcon" as part of the Wonder Stories collection -- now available from Cora Stories.

Thanks for listening!


Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson


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