Friday, February 23, 2007

Home at last, but not for good.

Home at last. For a few days the little horse was happy to be home on the bookshelf with his friend the pinto pony, his au pair, his sister, Bel Canto, his mother, his father, the waving kitty. He told them of all his adventures. He asked the au pair to teach him foreign languages. He gave his sister the necklace he had bargained for on the beach.

But life on the bookcase grew dull. There were no new sights, no exotic grasses to taste, no sounds of foreign languages. The dialogs his au pair tried to teach him seemed baby-ish. He longed for the smell of fresh breezes, the warmth of the sun, the freedom of open air. He begged to be allowed to travel once more.

At last his mother relented. Yes, he could go to California, IF he would behave himself, hold his tail high, keep his ears sharp, look to both sides. Bel Canto, his sister, begged to be allowed to join her brother, but her mother said no. Bel Canto was too young. She was delicate. And what would the au pair do without someone to tutor? And who would keep the pinto pony company? Bel tried to appeal to her father, but he said that mothers knew best. Bel was very sorry to see her brother preparing for another adventure. She begged for postcards to keep her informed. She vowed she would not sleep until he had told her all his adventures.

The little horse felt sorry to be leaving his sister behind, but the spirit of adventure called to him. He told her to study the silly dialogs in foreign languages and that some day soon she, too, would get to travel. Then he waved goodbye with his little tail and headed off on another adventure.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The next morning it was time to pack and head to the airport. The little horse did not feel quite right in his tummy. He hoped it was just the effects of too much to eat and the sip of champagne he had had. He had never had champagne before. There were so many things on this trip he had never done before!

As he watched the boys pack, the little horse thought more and more about his family on the bookshelf back home. He felt ready to leave this foreign land and return to the shelf and the smiling kitty. He had so many adventures to tell her! And he was determined to add foreign languages to his studies at home.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

At last it was time for the big party. The little horse trotted alongside Lou and Pete. He held his tail high. He pricked his ears forward. He looked with wide eyes first at one side then the other until they were seated at a table on the patio.

There were party hats to wear, noise makers, confetti. The little horse looked around him shyly. When Lou and Pete got up to fill their plates the little horse went with them. He trotted up and down the long buffet tables laden with food. What amazing foods there were—lobster tails and shrimp and roast beef. Fish of every kind. Fruits he had never seen before. Beautiful rolls, crackers and cheeses. And best of all, there was a fountain of chocolate with strawberries, grapes, and chunks of pound cake to dip in the streams of chocolate. The little horse tried everything!

The little horse even had a sip of champagne from Pete’s glass. It made him feel a little tipsy and bolder than ever. He wandered across the buffet tables in amazement, marveling at the beauty of the carved melons. He hid behind a watermelon and peeked out at the crowd. He galloped up and down the white and red table clothes. What a wonderful end to his vacation, he thought.

All through dinner a band played wonderful music and sang songs in a language the little horse did not understand. He vowed to study languages when he got home to his au pair.

After dinner the people began to dance. Young and old, big and small, everyone enjoyed the music and the warm night. The little horse tried to copy the dance steps he saw people doing, but it was much harder with four feet than with two. He gave a snort and a little buck and galloped back to the table. Lou and Pete were laughing at him. The little horse laughed too.

Then it was Midnight! The New Year! Fire works shot up from the beach. Green ones, red ones, white ones, with streamers. But where was the little horse? He had fallen asleep at the table, with his head hanging into the chocolate puddles on Lou’s dessert plate.