28. February 2018 · Comments Off on BLOG, Feb. 28, 2018 · Categories: Blog

Here’s the second chapter of my children’s book, “Snow.” Remember, it’s still in draft, so if there are any errors or mistakes, etc., and you’d like to tell me about it, feel free to note it in the Comments.

SNOW – Chapter Two

For the next six months Becky visited Nightingale every day, waiting for her to foal – Daddy said that’s what they called it when a mare birthed a baby horse. One morning Nightingale wasn’t outside when Becky arrived at the ring, and she tugged on Daddy’s pant leg.

“Daddy!” she cried when he bent down, “Nightingale isn’t outside! Did she foal?”

Daddy nodded. “I’ll bring you to her in just a few minutes. Her baby is a filly and she’s white, just like her mother.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Becky cried. “I’m going to call her Snow! I like that name better than Belle.”

Snow was a perfect copy of her dam – Daddy said that was not a swear word, it’s what a baby horse’s mother is called. Becky came to the barn to visit her two or three times every day, and told her what a lovely filly she was. Before long, the filly’s ears would perk up when Becky stopped at the stall where Nightingale and Snow slept. Nightingale would make a nice sound Daddy called a nicker, and Snow would turn to look at Becky.

When Snow was nearly two months old, she was allowed out into the ring with her dam. The two of them stood together for long minutes, and then Nightingale started to walk. Snow staggered after her, and Nightingale never went too far from her baby.

After three more months, Snow was trotting around the ring all by herself. Becky was so proud of her, and texted her friends at school all about her filly, Snow.

One of her friends, Diana  – only an acquaintance, really – seemed to be jealous of the idea that Becky had her own baby horse. She teased Becky that she must have a horse because she had a horse face. Diana also talked about her and her horse in the cafeteria.

She said, “Becky doesn’t really have a horse, she’s just lying about it because she doesn’t have anything else special in her life. Unlike me,” Diana went on. “I have a pool in my back yard and a beautiful Siamese cat named Spooky.”

One of the things Diana said about Becky was that her filly, Snow, couldn’t possibly race and win. Diana said, “Snow is deformed. I know this, even though Becky denies it.”

Even Frankie denied it, but Diana said he’d say anything because he was “in love with” Becky.

One morning, Becky was watching Snow run around the ring when the little filly must have stepped on a rock. She stumbled and fell to her two front knees, and when she pulled herself up, she was obviously hurt.

 “What’s the matter with her?” Becky asked Daddy, close to weeping.

“It looks like a digital flexor tendon,” Daddy told her. When she asked what that meant, he said, “That’s just a tendon in her leg that’s strained, or even sprained. We’ll call the vet right away and get her taken care of. She should be fine.”

Becky was stunned at this accident, and tried to stick her head through the slats to get to her filly, but Daddy held her back. “Wes will bring her in,” he told Becky. Wes was the cowhand who helped out with the horses.

Becky knew he would be gentle and careful, but she felt like she was the one who should take care of Snow. Later Daddy told Becky, “Snow sprained her tendon. That’s not serious. Her leg will be wrapped up and she’ll be prevented from moving for a week. But after that she should be fine.”

Becky visited Snow in her stall every day and talked to her. She told her all the things Daddy had taught her about horses. “You might live for twenty-five years, Snow,” she told the filly. “Or maybe even longer.”

***

One afternoon, about two weeks after Snow’s accident, Becky’s friend Frankie came to visit. He and Becky went out to watch Snow run around the ring. After a few minutes, Frankie said, “My brother James told me all about white horses.”

Becky knew that Frankie’s brother was sixteen, and thought he knew everything. He went on, “James says when a horse is lame, it has to be shot. Why didn’t they shoot Snow when she was lamed?”

“Oh, they would never shoot Snow!” Becky exclaimed. “She wasn’t lame, either, just sprained her tendon. She’s almost all better now.”

Frankie said, “That’s good. But James told me when a horse gets old, it goes to the glue factory where it’s killed and cut up to make glue.”

“Oh, my!” Becky said. “Well, it’s a good thing, then, that a horse can live almost as long as a person. My daddy says Snow might live for another twenty-five years.”

Frankie nodded gravely. Then he said, “James also told me that a white horse is bad luck.”

“Bad luck for who?” Becky asked, a little disturbed by her friend’s comments. By now she was mad at Frankie for saying all those horrible things, even though it was his big brother that had told them to him. She turned away from Frankie and went into the house. He waited for a while for her to come out but, by the time he was feeling hungry and decided to leave, she had still not come outside.

 “Oh, well,” Frankie said to himself. “Maybe I shouldn’t have told her all those things.”

About the author: Harriet Darling

A 75-year-old retired Executive Assistant and Research Editor, I live in Lodi, California, and transport foster kids to family visits and court appearances. I have a son, who is married to Cathy, and they live in Sacramento with Sheldon, their cat, and Penny, their dog. No children, so no grandchildren for me.

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