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Friday, May 07 2010

This morning I tried to send Other Half on a scouting mission to look at a horse for me.  He would have none of it.

"I can't pick out a horse for you!" he said.

"Why not?"

"Because you always want those Fairy Tale horses!"

This confused me.  Then I realized that he was used to looking at this:

and this:

Admittedly, they ARE Fairy Tale horses. But before Other Half, there was another horse - my Velveteen Rabbit.

Her name was Sonora. I called her Sonny. She was a swaybacked old brood mare who had fallen on hard times.  I rescued her at an auction as she was one step away from the meat packer, and she paid me back ten-fold.   She was never "fairy tale" horse pretty, but I broke her to ride, and I trusted her.  I used to climb up on her broad back and slide down into the sway.  While she grazed in the back yard, I surveyed my little kingdom, drinking coffee, safe in the curve of that old mare's back. Perhaps she was just a different kind of Fairy Tale horse.  Sonny has always reminded me of The Skin Horse in the tale of The Velveteen Rabbit.

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.


Sonny might not have been the picture of a fairy tale horse, but she was certainly REAL and I miss my little fairy tale old mare.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 12:03 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
I miss mine, too
Posted by Sue on 05/07/2010 - 07:59 PM
Old friends like that are certainly worth more than all the beautiful horses in the world, aren't they?
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 05/08/2010 - 10:36 AM

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