Thursday, January 31, 2008

On the Bookshelf

Bel Canto was overjoyed to have her brother home again. “Bon jour, my little cabbage,” she said to him each morning.

“Bon jour my little rabbit,” le petit cheval would respond.

“Tell me about exploring Monet’s garden,” Bel would beg.

But eventually the little horse became tired of reliving his adventures for his sister. He began to pace the bookcase, to read strange books with titles like The Last Place on Earth or Fatal Shore.

“I don’t think these books are appropriate reading for a little horse,” said the au pair and she tried to make him read The Penderwicks. But when she wasn’t paying attention to him he would be back to reading about Antarctica and Australia, lands as foreign as could be from the bookshelf.

“Someone should put a stop to this daydreaming and scheming,” complained the au pair. “If he were my little horse, I would put my hoof down.”

But the little horse had made a plan. “I want to go to New Hampshire,” he said. “I want to go on the big climb, the one with Caitlin and Kristen,” he told his mother. His mother shook her mane, but he persisted. “I want to see the mountains again. I belong in those mountains,” he reminded her. “New Hampshire is my first home.”

“Do you remember what happened to Bel Canto when she was young?” said his mother. “She was attacked by a fierce chipmunk. He bit off her ear and she has scars on her coat.”

“But mother, I was the one who rescued her,” said the little horse. “And Mayo the cat.”

“That cat was a match for any chipmunk. But facing a wild chipmunk on your own is a different story,” was his mother’s answer.

“I would kick any chipmunk that tried to mess with me from here to kingdom come,” said the little horse.

“Of course you would,” said his mother, who knew when it was pointless to argue.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Last Days in France

Then came the day to leave Normandy for Paris. The little horse enjoyed first class train travel. But he knew his trip would soon be over. A quick tour of the Picasso museum. One last night in Paris. And it was off to the airport. Never had the little horse seen such a traffic jam. The minutes ticked away as the taxi cab crawled along the highway at a pace even a little horse could have beaten. And finally came the long, long wait at the airport; the long, long flight over the Atlantic ocean; the long, long lines as they cleared customs in the US. The four traveling companions said good-by to each other and to the little horse, and at last he was home, back to Bel Canto, his mother and father, the pinto pony, and his au pair. What stories he had to tell. What adventures he had had. How soundly he slept, on his own bookshelf.

“Perhaps he has come home to stay,” said his mother. “Perhaps he has had enough adventures for one little horse?”

“I should think so,” said the au pair.