I have had some setbacks lately, sure; a trip to Dr.—, banishment from the gardens and orchard for having eaten the plum trees and the raspberry canes, revokation of access to the precipitous slopes that I love to summit. At the end of the day, though, I am still a mule, and being a mule is a darn good thing. Here's why:
1. Mules are attractive, smart, and strong. Who doesn't want to be all those things? It's easy to like myself, with all those qualities, and good self-esteem is a key to a happy life.
2. Mules have a reputation for excellence and a documented natural superiority. This makes it easy to make friends, since everyone hopes it will rub off a little.
3. Mules have a great capacity for feeling, and we are great at expressing this with our lovely singing voices. This makes it easy to keep friends, since everyone likes feeling appreciated.
4. Mules find many things delicious. Where fussy horses might like only certain grasses and certain grains, mules like many vegetative culinary delights. Unlike the goats, who sample so many cuisines as to be indiscriminate, Mules eat only the most toothsome morsels of the many delectable plants in our pastoral realms. The mule's world is alive with fabulous flavors.
5. Mules are excellent judges of character. This usually keeps us out of trouble, so long as we heed our internal voices and not the voices of our human masters, who often lack a mulish perception.
6. Mules are excellent judges of footing. See 5, above. FarmWife still cannot understand the myriad dangers that threaten during the transition from the gravel verge to the asphalt lane, and I've told her again and again that it's bound to end badly.
7. Mules have lovely feet. This saves us the trouble of therapeutic farriery, most of the time, and also makes us intrepid trail partners for our happy humans.
8. Mules have just enough tail to make a useful fly switch without having enough tail to present a grooming challenge. Have you ever wondered how those poor Vanners feel with their butts weighed down like that?
9. Mules are strong, enduring, and heat tolerant. This will come in very handy during the long, hot hours of grazing that I anticipate suffering this summer.
10. Mules have big brown eyes, big furry ears, and big capacious nostrils. This makes us better than most people at sensing things, which contributes to our natural superiority, but it also makes us handsome, which contributes to our likability. Sort of a two-in-one deal.
11. Mules form lifelong friendships, and we never forget. This makes us excellent penpals and long-distance boyfriends, although come to think of it I HAVE forgotten when Katie Scarlett's birthday falls. I should look into rectifying that.
12. Mules, with a few feral exceptions, were bred by humans, for humans, and to the tastes of humans. When a mule finds a good one—human, that is—then all is right in the world. A Bond forms, which exceeds anything else. Next to delicious grasses, there is nothing in this world to compare to that partnership between a mule and his human.*
*Except maybe apple'n'oat treats, but then humans make those, too.