This article belongs to In Search of Laughs! column.

In a land, not much different than this one, lived a small donkey. This
little donkey wanted more than anything to climb up the big hill. She
had tried to climb the big hill many times, but for a whole list of
silly reasons, the little donkey had not been able to make it up that
darn hill…yet!

Hillary, for that was the little donkey's
name, had been all over her little valley. Hillary had seen many fields
and pastures. It seemed to her that most of the fields and pastures she
saw were either red or blue! And it seemed to Hillary, that there were a lot more red fields and red
pastures than blue ones. She remembered when all the fields and
pastures were the same color. But that was before everybody had that
big argument in the swampy field called Florida! Hillary actually liked
all the fields, and all the pastures, no matter if they were red or
blue. But, the one thing Hillary thought about every day, whether she
was in a red pasture or a blue field, was trying to climb the big hill

One lazy day, Hillary was grazing in a blue field when she heard a loud trumpeting noise!

Uh oh, thought Hillary, those noisy elephants are on a rampage again!
The elephants had been going on rampages more often, since one of them
had been able to climb Hillary's big hill recently. Some of the
elephants had been visiting the blue pastures, and had gone so far as
to tell everybody in the blue fields that all pastures and fields would soon be red!
Hillary wasn't so sure that was going to happen, but she was sure, very
sure, that she was going to try to climb the big hill again soon. Even,
if it was only so she could get far away from all those noisy elephants
and their silly arguing and trumpeting!

The next day Hillary went to the bottom of her big hill and stared up at the top, longingly.

Two of the herd elephants saw her and started jeering. They had seen
Hillary looking up the big hill and figured it out. The two elephants
razzed Hillary's hopes to climb to the top. They told her that it had
been eight years since any donkey had made it to the top! The mean old
elephants looked at how small Hillary was, then they, in a
condescending way, asked if she thought she could manage to climb her
way up to the tiptop of the hill.

The little gray donkey thought to herself for a moment and said: " I THINK I can! "

When Hillary woke up the next morning, she decided to go talk to the
oldest and wisest of all the jackasses in the valley, Teddy. On the way
to see Teddy, Hillary kept muttering her new mantra: I think I can, I think I can!
As she approached the stream where Teddy usually grazed, Hillary heard
a loud braying! It sounded like the loud braying was the very same
thing that Hillary was muttering to herself! (I think I can-I think I can!)

Teddy WAS braying I think I can-I think I can!
As a matter of fact, Teddy was quite surprised when he saw her walk up.
Teddy told Hillary that he brayed every day, in hopes some brave donkey
would come along, hear the siren call of I think I can, I think I can. But, as the wise old Teddy told young Hillary: Many are called, very few answer!

Teddy and Hilary talked for several long whiles, and then Hillary went,
as was her daily routine, to the big hill to think about what she had
learned, and stare at the top.

Hillary thought to herself,
pondering about what she just learned: There's a white house up on top
of the big hill. And the noisy elephant, who recently climbed the big
hill, lived there. Evidently, whoever climbed the big hill got to live in that white house! Hillary thought to herself again: Wow, I've got to read more
books and newspapers, I didn't know any of that! At that very moment,
the little donkey promised herself to study hard, and learn exactly
what it took to climb that darn big hill! And so she did!

bright morning, in November of 2008, the little donkey woke up, and
decided now was the time to climb that big hill! She had studied very
hard, and talked to everyone she could, and tried to learn all she
could. Now, on this sunny day, she repeated to herself, as she did
every day: I THINK I CAN! I THINK I CAN! Then she headed for the hill.

At the base of the hill, she passed the Iowa pasture and the New Hampshire field, all the while saying her mantra: I THINK I CAN-I THINK I CAN!
She was doing really well when at the halfway mark, these two smarty
pants goats named Nader and Perot started bleating at her "You don't
think you can make it to the top, do you?" Hillary called back: " You
two can get on top the hill, but you can't make yourself understood to
those who live in the fields and pastures!" As she brushed past the
bleating goats, she realized she had never made it this far up the
slope before. This gave Hillary courage, so she kept saying to herself,
and anyone who could hear: I THINK I CAN-I THINK I CAN!

After believing in herself, and saying to herself, I THINK I CAN!-I THINK I CAN! for
such a long time, the little donkey finally crested the hill and saw a
white house, where she could now live. She thought to herself, now I
can teach everyone, donkeys and elephants, and goats, whether they live
in red pastures or blue fields, to believe that they, too, can do it.
All they have to do is say to themselves, "I THINK I CAN!"

And, with a nod to the little engine… that's the story of the little donkey that COULD!