“It’s New Year’s Day and because it is the first official New Year Day of the Year of the Horse (started Jan 31st, 2014 and ends Feb. 18th, 2015) we have been asked to repost this holiday story of love and enlightenment. At SFTHH and WHFF we volunteers wish you and yours the very best in the upcoming year and sincerely hope that this will actually be the “Year of the Horse” for both our domestic and wild horses and burros as we address issues of abuse, neglect and slaughter. With persistence and dedication we may find ourselves REALLY celebrating next New Year as we have worked ourselves out of business with resolutions being found to the issues that haunt and torment our equine friends. Keep the faith, it is all coming within reach. Happy New Year to all!” ~ R.T.
A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-
Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents
with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up
and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which
topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become
a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the
countryside… The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood
here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their
lives, and called them away to a different life..
The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken
their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was
getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings
and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses
were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.
Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old
folks. Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One.” She is no
longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from her.
You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves.
How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and
work? Why do you keep her anyway?”
The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed
at the barn floor and replied, “Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.
His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her near
with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied
“We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”
Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife
a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole
through the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it
had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks.. How is it
that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that
filled their hearts?
o it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed
the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None
saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”.
In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry
flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and
despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced
to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring
now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the
ground, helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife back from calling
for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at
By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins
were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief,
huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose
from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen
as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his
wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old
hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he
whispered, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve
of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old
pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look
down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and
pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.
And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy
hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and
withered hand. The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies
in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest
of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill
the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the
incredible beauty before them.
Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up
in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it
was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a
crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere
mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as
the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.
Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed
and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward.
There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over
and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows
glistening in the night light. Bedded down about the “Old One” close
to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.
At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her
muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great
dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping
cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed
about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry
flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips
and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years
crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she moved
calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay
among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife. Those
she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years,
tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as
she offered her gift—
Because of love.
Only Because of love…
Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy… and
again the peace of love filled their hearts.
This is a true story.
Categories: The Force of the Horse