I'm choosing one of the lesser know Rankin/Bass characters for my FFC post this week. For those of you who are not familiar with Nestor, he is very pleased to meet you. Nestor is the star of the Rankin/Bass special, Nestor, The Long Eared Christmas Donkey. Like Rudolph before him, Nestor is a misfit who is out of place at home. He lives on a donkey farm during the time of the Roman Empire and he is made fun of for his overly large ears. Now I personally think he's adorable, but I wasn't alive back then to help him out.
One day some horrible soldier come to confiscate some donkeys for the army. The soldiers try to take Nestor and some of the other but soon realize that Nestor is different from the others. The jerks figure the farmer was trying to trick them so the take the donkeys without paying for them and leave Nestor behind. Well the farmer is so mad at poor Nestor that he throws him out into the cold, wild woods. Nestor's mom tracks him down and protects him from the snow storm that rolls in that night. Now this is where the Bambi moment comes into play, and it never fails to make me cry.
Now on his own Nestor is befriended by a young cherub named Tilly. Tilly convinces Nestor to travel to Bethlehem but doesn't tell him why. She will only tell him riddles that allude to great things to come. After months of travel the arrive outside of Bethlehem and Tilly tells Nestor to stay put so he finds himself in a stable where no one is willing to buy him.
Along comes a very special couple who are in need of transportation for the wife and expectant mother. Now since this is a Christmas story I'm sure you can guess that it's Joseph & Mary who need the assist. Mary selects Nestor for his gentle eyes and they are on there way. During the journey a horrible sandstorm overtakes the traveling group and Nestor protects Mary with his over sized ears and guides them safely to Bethlehem. Once there Mary gives birth and Nestor is able to find his way back home where he is welcomed as a hero, THE END.
I am drawn to Nestor in the same way I was to Rudolph. I find myself identifying with misfits and oddballs who don't quite fit in and feel it to their core. Especially the misfits who don't let other's destroy their sense of self just because they are different from the norm. These are the role models I looked up to as a kid and still do today.
Nestor is a strong willed individual who finds strength and triumph through personal tragedy and hardship but never gives up. Nor does he turn to anger for the world to make him feel better. Nestor is the type of person I want my son to be when he grows up; strong, independent, and comfortable enough to be himself no matter what life throws his way.