Donkey Song, The
DESCRIPTION: "I used to own a donkey, a bob-tailed stubborn mule" -- so stubborn that it could have been a congressman. He could kick you to "where Bob Ingersoll belonged." But now "Empty is the stable, Dave is gone.' The singer fondly recalls the havoc Dave caused.
EARLIEST DATE: 1946 (Peters)
KEYWORDS: animal death political
FOUND IN: US(MW)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Peters, pp. 55-56, "The Donkey Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: I have the feeling that this was inspired by Foster's "Uncle Ned."
The way the song reference to Robert Ingersoll is phrased, I thought it was a reference to him in congress. But this is deceptive. Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) was known mostly as a professional agnostic. Since the general attitude has always been that non-Christians, especially vocal non-Christians, were damnable, the assumption is that the place "where Bob Ingersoll belonged" is hell.
In other words, the donkey could kick you to hell and gone.
Since the mule is said to have been born in 1849, a likely date for this song is circa 1870.
Bob Ingersoll's non-Christianity was so infamous that he apparently is mentioned in three different songs: "Bob Ingersoll and the Devil," "The Donkey Song," and some versions of "When This Old Hat Was New." - RBW
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