Here's a virtual movie of a charming little poem "Asses" either written or more likely collected by the great Irish poet and folklorist Padraic Colum.
The donkey or ass, Equus africanus asinus, is a domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years. There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals. Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels. Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets in developed countries.
A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet; a young donkey is a foal. Jack donkeys are often used to produce mules.
Asses were first domesticated around 3000 BC, or 4000 BC, probably in Egypt or Mesopotamia, and have spread around the world. They continue to fill important roles in many places today. While domesticated species are increasing in numbers, the African wild ass and another relative, the Onager, are endangered. As beasts of burden and companions, asses and donkeys have worked together with humans for millennia.
Traditionally, the scientific name for the donkey is Equus asinus asinus based on the principle of priority used for scientific names of animals. However, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ruled in 2003 that if the domestic species and the wild species are considered subspecies of each other, the scientific name of the wild species has priority, even when that subspecies was described after the domestic subspecies. This means that the proper scientific name for the donkey is Equus africanus asinus when it is considered a subspecies, and Equus asinus when it is considered a species.
At one time, the synonym ass was the more common term for the donkey, as in jackass, meaning "male donkey". The first recorded use of donkey was in 1784 or 1785. While the word ass has cognates in most other Indo-European languages, donkey is an etymologically obscure word for which no credible cognate has been identified. Hypotheses on its derivation include the following:
Perhaps from Spanish, for its don-like gravity; the donkey was also known as "the King of Spain's trumpeter"
Perhaps a diminutive of dun (dull grayish-brown), a typical donkey colour.
Perhaps from the name Duncan.
Perhaps of imitative origin.
From the 18th century, donkey gradually replaced ass. The change may have come about through a tendency to avoid pejorative terms in speech
Pádraic Colum (8 December 1881 -- 11 January 1972) was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer, playwright, children's author and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival.
'I KNOW where I'd get
An ass that would do,
If I had the money
A pound or two.'
Said a ragged man
To my uncle one day;
He got the money
And went on his way.
And after that time
In market or fair
I'd look at the asses
That might be there.
And wonder what kind
Of an ass would do
For a ragged man
With a pound or two.