Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Admonition

His mother listened to all the stories the little horse told, but she could tell he was leaving some parts out. The little horse did not want to mention how thirsty he had gotten, how foolishly he had wandered into the desert without supplies, precautions, or companions.

When the little horse asked if he could go on another adventure, his mother had something to say about it. “I think you are not as ready for adventure as you believe you are. A little horse on the loose in the wide world can get hurt,” she told him. “If you are going to go wandering all over the world, you will need to go with someone who has a little more experience than you have had so far. Someone with common sense. Someone a bit older.”

The little horse stamped his hooves and shook his main, but his mother was adamant. No more wandering off on his own. Just because he had existed in the world a long time, she said, he was not as grown up as he thought he was.

Restlessly the little horse paced back and forth on the bookshelf. He peeked in one book and then another, but he could hardly concentrate. The only book that held his attention was called Mademoiselle Misfortune. It was an old book, but it was full of good humor and adventure as well. It took place in France. How he longed to visit France! He begged the au pair to teach him to speak French. She tried to oblige, but her French was quite rusty. “bonjour” and “au revoir” and “merci beaucoup” were about all she remembered. And “ou est le toilette?”

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Return to the Bookshelf

The little horse returned to his family on the bookshelf. Bel Canto was waiting for him, wearing the necklace he had brought her from his adventure in Mexico. She was eager to hear all about his adventures in California. The little horse told her about the desert, about the prickly pears that weren’t really pears, the dinosaurs that were really lizards. “Were they Gila Monsters?” asked Bel Canto.

“Well,” said the little horse, “I can’t be sure for certain. But they might have been. I didn’t stick around to find out!”

Bel Canto laughed when he described the flamingos and how rude they had been to him. “I would have just knocked them over on their pink stumpy tails!” she said.

Friday, April 06, 2007

An Adventure Cut Short

The little horse scampered along the trail ahead of the rest of the group. He felt he could walk forever. He found little bits of greenery to nibble. Some of the leaves were tough, but they were not full of spines and thorns as everything in the desert had been. He enjoyed the bitter, tangy taste of laurel. The mosses were soft and mushy as he chewed them. But he never stopped for long. The trail called him onward.

At last he came to the open rock face that the park ranger had described. He could see a bare rocky point off in the distance, and behind that, a range of mountains. How he longed to continue onwards. But they had gotten a late start. There was a long drive back to the hotel, and they did not want to be on that windy mountain road in the dark. Everyone except the little horse agreed that this was as far as they could go.

The little horse sighed. He gazed out at the mountain ridge. He vowed that someday he would live in mountains again and never have to go home if he didn’t want to.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Dream Come True, Almost

The hotel and the resort seemed very tame after his adventure in the desert. The little horse grew tired of sitting by the pool. He did not like the walk around the resort. He had to be very careful not to get hit by golf balls, and the concrete paths were hard on his hooves. The flamingos still laughed at him whenever he walked out the front of the hotel. The little horse ignored them and held his tail high, his ears pricked forward, but he could feel himself blush as they squawked at him.

On the last day of his travels the little horse accepted an offer to go for a drive to explore the high country behind the resort. To his great delight the car drove higher and higher into the rocky country until at last they were on a mountain pass. Up and up wound the road. The scenery changed from barren dessert with cactus and scrub to green fields and pastures to towering green forests. The little horse trotted from one side of the car to the other, taking it all in. He was driving into the mountains.

They stopped at a little mountain village everyone got out of the car. They walked around the town a little bit. Someone bought candy and gave the little horse a bite. It was delicious—home-made fudge, his favorite. They found the ranger station and asked if there were hiking trails nearby. The little horse’s ears pricked forward. He could not believe his good luck! Hiking in the mountains!

The little horse started off on the trail. Up and up it wound. The altitude was high already. He was careful not to push forward too fast because he ran out of breath if he hurried. The day at the hotel had been warm, but this air was crisp and clean and cool. Soon the little horse found himself walking through patches of snow. He nibbled at the snow and kicked it into the air with his front hooves. Then he lay down in the snow and rolled! It was cold, but it felt so good!