“Almost immediately, the infant begins to transform. You are what you eat, as they say… (385).”
I’ve always found this quote so interesting: “you are what you eat.” Growing up, parents (including mine) have used fear to instill morals (or, the do’s and don’t’s) of our society. This story involving the donkey reminded me of a family lesson that was always told to me by my extended family as well. Apparently, I used too much salt in my food and they always told me that children who eat excessive salt, turn into donkeys. Whether it was a Mexican tale, or what, I am unsure, but it worked, and I started to not use salt. Of course that has very much changed and I now use as much as I please. In essence, donkeys are used a lot to display negative behaviors. Like in the Disney Movie, Pinocchio, the children who stop going to school also turn into donkeys. Donkeys were regarded the unintelligent animals, and those children, basically became the animal that their actions represented.
“Each transformation comes with an adventure and a lesson (386).”
Reading this story about Merlyn and King Arthur reminded me of Game of Thrones‘s Bran Stark and the Three-Eyed-Raven. Bran wargs (essentially puts his subconscious in an animal) and lives out lessons through other animals. He often finds himself experiencing physical activities he could no longer do (such as running) since he is paralyzed. He often chooses to warg in his direwolf, Summer, and experience hunting and running. However, like Arthur, he also learns lessons with each animal he wargs into.
“Lucius learns the hard lot of a donkey it undergoes amusing, and risqué adventures. In the end, Lucius is reborn in human form by the divine agency of the goddess Isis, and dedicates his life to her service (386).”
This is a classic lesson. As I stated earlier, parents use fear to instill morals into their children, and if parents used fear, why not everyone else? Fear is a great vehicle for lesson-learning in the classic fairy tale sense. Here, as the quote stated, Lucius learned how to be empathetic toward donkeys, after being in the shoes of one himself. The lesson learned is, essentially, to not judge unless you yourself have been in that position.