Hand drawn in pen and ink, then put into the computer.
Often known as a donkey, in the southwestern US this guy’s a “burro”.
He’s also, and more formally, an “Abyssinian Ass”. There are burros with the Cross on the back, rumored to have been descended from the one that Christ rode on when he was welcomed with a parade by the masses, just a day before many if not all of these same people demanded his death.
Not just the crossed ass is available, there are also spotted asses, giving rise to a girlfriend’s naughty-sounding invitation to see her “spotted ass”. She’d whistle, and the object of the discussion would come trotting out.
See a good article on them and a great picture of "both coat types ":http://www.desertusa.com/magjan98/jan_pap/du_wi... here. On the shoulder of the Cross burro, you can see the arms of the Cross, but it you don’t know to look for it, it just looks like an odd shadow. In the pics of these little asses, you can also see that the burro is fairly small, and an average-size man riding a burrow almost has his heels dragging on the ground. They’re still an ideal animal for pack trains and for riding in country that doesn’t have regular roads or fuel stations on the way to a destination.
Burros in history were ridden by such of the lower classes who could afford them, and it was a crime to ride a horse unless you were of royal blood. They were used by most people as pack animals.
Each burro is a Workers’ Union of one, refusing to work when they don’t want to work. The burro will simply stage a literal sit down strike when he or she feels like it. The same burro may be seen later carrying half a dozen children, or two skinny adults, or a miner’s outfit for 6 months at a time, so that there’s nothing to see of the burro but his tail and ears. I actually learned to ride horseback on a burro jenny, a jack is the male, named Peggy.
Burros are useful dead or alive. Boots were made from their hide, and I’m afraid they’re also delicious (yes, I’ve eaten burro often); long before there were any hunting laws protecting them in the Desert Southwest US, where they’re actually a nuisance like rose eating urban deer, one good burro would fill the freezer and feed a family for a long time.
The burro is well-known for its voice, my father used to sing an ode to the burro at odd times: Sweetly Sings the Donkey At The Break of Day; Someone must go with him or he’ll run away! [Chorus] Eeeee Awwww, Eeeee, Awwww, Eeeee, Awwww in the most startling, grating manner in the known universe.
Sure-footed and reliable, these ‘biscuit snatchers’ and ‘blanket eaters’ as they’ve been called in roundup camps, where they actually were tied to beeves intended for market that could not be handled otherwise.
Tied to the most unmaneagable steer bull, the burro would simply wear the steer down using its stubborn streak, and when leadership was determined to belong to the ass, the two of them would head on back to the roundup area.
The cowboys made sure their blankets were rolled and stashed where the burros couldn’t get at them. Good bandits, the highly intelligent animals have long been known for their ability to pick locks or find other types of ingress way to get in. Biscuits for the day were usually made in the morning. If they weren’t put up in a burro proof area, there would be no biscuits for the remainder of the day. A dish of beans with no biscuits for lunch and dinner wasn’t very appealing. Nobody left anything out on the clothesline, either, because the clothes would most often be eaten before they were dry.
Often bred to horses, which are much larger than burros, their sterile breed or produce offspring, offspring are mules, which have all the same wonderful traits of their burro parent, but they’re bigger, tougher, and sought-after for racing, packing, and general range riding. I have seen a series of photos of a mule swinging a cougar by the tail until the cat was so disoriented that the mule could kill it.
If anybody knows who took the mule vs cougar pics, I’d like to let her know that these have been passed on the Web from person to person, that the pictures are amazing, and that I hope it’s not copyrighted work!