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The Small One is a 1978 featurette produced by Walt Disney Animation, originally shown in theaters before the 1978 re-release of Pinocchio. Directed by Don Bluth, it is based on the children's book by Charles Tazewell, about a boy who has to sell his beloved donkey, which he eventually gives to Mary and Joseph, who are traveling to Bethlehem.
Outside of the city of Nazareth, a boy and his father own four donkeys. Three are young and strong. The fourth one, Small One, is old and weak, but the boy loves him anyway. Everyday, they play together before going to work, helping the boy's father to collect wood.
The boy and his father take the donkeys to work one morning, as they always do. Many times, the boy loads Small One with small sticks, since he can't carry heavy loads any more. He even has trouble carrying stacks of small sticks and the boy helps to carry them for him.
That evening, the boy's father tells him that he has to sell Small One. Devastated, but understanding, he asks if he can be the one to sell his best friend. His father agrees and tells him that he has to sell him for one piece of silver. That night, he comforts Small One and promises to find him a gentle and loving master.
The next morning, the boy takes Small One to the market in Nazareth. Unfortunately, nobody wants an old weak donkey but the tanner, who only wants to kill him to make leather out of his hide. After failing to find another buyer, they return to the tanner's shop. The boy weeps, and Small One, accepting his fate under the tanner's knife, tenderly consoles him.
Just as everything looks bleak, a kind man comes up to the boy and asks if Small One is for sale. He needs a gentle donkey to carry his pregnant wife to Bethlehem. The boy sells him for one piece of silver (the same price his father agreed upon) and watches as the couple and Small One leave on their journey as a bright star appears in the sky.
Home video releases
- Disney Wiki: The Small One
- The Small One at the Internet Movie Database
- The Small One at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- The Small One at TV Tropes
- The Small One at the Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts