Shoe the Donkey

This week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt is the photo below by ©Björn Rudberg

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Shoe the Donkey

Frankie turned his face into the shadows, away from the fairy lights and general cheeriness. How could he explain why this silly old ‘Shoe the Donkey’ song reduced him to a blubbering old man with leaky eyes?

They had laughed as they danced it together way back then, when the blanket of sadness he had worn since leaving Ireland dissolved in her sparkling eyes.

The Irish Centre had been a haven for emigrants and they were young enough to believe they would go home some day.

He would never leave now. Who else would pull the weeds and place fresh flowers on her grave?

©Siobhán McNamara


Shoe the Donkey is better known for it’s dance than it’s lyrics. It is very simple and is popular at gatherings of any kind as it can be danced in a small room in a house or a large dance hall / pub with loads of people joining in. It evokes a sense of togetherness that has seen Irish people through some dark times.


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63 Responses to Shoe the Donkey

  1. Beautiful. Of course he can’t leave her behind… A sad yet happy piece.

  2. Horus says:

    Am listening to “Shoe the Donkey” now with a tapping feet ! 😀

    Lovely blend of emotions there with a truly Irish touch !

  3. faithsfire says:

    This made me miss “shoe the donkey” dancing and acting crazy all night. It was a great memory. Thank you! 🙂

  4. Ah… what a great way to remember… It reminds me of a night in Tel Aviv with elderly immigrants singing along to Kletzmer music…

  5. This is a sad/happy piece – if that makes sense. May Frankie find comfort in the end. (P.S. your description of Shoe the Donkey brought back great memories of my trip to Ireland with my husband. Many fun nights were spent in pubs where the locals gathered to listen to music.)

  6. I appreciate your bittersweet love story, Siobhan.

  7. paulmclem says:

    Ends on a bit of a downer but still a heartwarming tale. Good one.

  8. A wonderful love story, Siobhan. We have a number of CD’s (or even tapes) with Irish songs and they can get right into your heart, just as his love for her was in his


  9. Lovely story. and beautiful thoughts. Thank you for the explanation of Shoe the Donkey. Well done. 🙂

  10. Dear Siobhán,

    You managed to shoehorn a lot of story into few words. Of course I had to find Shoe the Donkey on You Tube. Lovely song…lovely story.



  11. As an immigrant I know how that feels. And like the others I HAD to Youtube this song 🙂 Yes, it is foot-tapping and simple. And your story is heart-breakingly warm!

  12. Jan Brown says:

    A really lovely story, Siobhan. I love the ending.

  13. plaridel says:

    a poignant love story well-told.

  14. Sad and sweet, Siobhan! Wonderful story. 🙂

  15. Awww….very sweet, gave me a chill 🙂

  16. You’ve done it again, making me tear up like a baby! Stories about lifelong lovers torn apart by death gets me every time. Your description was magnificent, and his sorrow was felt on so many levels.

  17. Aaah! Now that’s commitment!

  18. cshowers says:

    What a wonderfully well-written story. It was very poignant, especially the ending. I would have liked to read the rest of the story.

    God bless you,

  19. Very moving and well-written.

  20. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Siobhán, What a wonderful story – and very well-written. I think the melancholy he feels for his homeland, Ireland, is so beautiful – and the part about he couldn’t leave to go back because “Who would take care of the weeds and put fresh flowers on her grave?” Wonderful line and so sadly sweet! Nan 🙂

  21. Beautifully poignant. And so true for the migrants of the world.

  22. Superb piece of writing.
    ACelticElephant loves it.

  23. rgayer55 says:

    I loved the line, “the blanket of sadness he had worn dissolved in her sparkling eyes.” What beautiful writing.

  24. Dee says:

    Lovely piece of writing. There is something quite poignant about migrants, leaving their homelands, never to return. Of course he couldn’t leave her now and wouldn’t want to, so moving Siobhan. Well done


  25. This is beautiful, Siobhán! Bitter sweet and tender, without being overplayed. Lovely.

  26. Liz Young says:

    A poignant tale of love and loss, which so much Irish music is too.

  27. Home is where the heart lies, indeed. 🙂

  28. K.Z. says:

    such a tender ending. lovely story…

  29. AnnIsikArts says:

    This is a great story, with personal and social histories entwining. There are vast landscapes in this. Not bad going in 100 words. I found and enjoyed a video of the dance. 🙂

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