Akhal-Teke and the 99 Golden Horses
Author's note: Akhal-Teke is a breed of horse that is well known today. In ancient times, enemies of countries... Show full author's note »
The Grand BeginningShe had been up for some time now, pacing back and forth, looking to the horizon for signs of danger, even though her instincts and experience told her there was none. She lowered her head, and pawed the sand. Her dull coat covered with sand from the storm the previous night had all but been shaken off, and her mane and tale were tangled and pulling at her sensitive skin.
For the 50th time, she looked back at the foal lying down underneath the outcropping of rock, for she was growing impatient. She wanted to move quickly before the sun came up and started beating down on them, and she knew in the deep sand, and her emaciated condition, moving quickly would be no easy task. She snorted again, more frustrated than before, when she saw her newborn foal finally begin to stir from its undisturbed sleep. She raced over and nipped him on the shoulder, telling him he had been foolish for sleeping for so long. He slowly pulled himself to his feet, his legs hardly any less wobbly than they were the day before when he had been born.
The sand was completely smooth and undisturbed, making it all the more dangerous, especially for her, since the sandy lands were not her natural habitat. For she had come from high in the mountains, with stocky legs, and a heavy bearing and black coat, which were all very inconvenient for such hot conditions. Twice before she had been injured, twisting her heavy, clumsy feet in the sand, almost costing her her life. Nonetheless, they started out at a brisk trot across the wide desert expanse, seeing no end in sight to their long journey, only sensing the way. Luckily, the foal had gained his father’s features, which allowed him to bounce across the sand like a hare, making the journey easier on him than it was on his mother.
His mother was staring at him intently, admiring his golden coat, and crème colored mane and tail, with his dished face, when all of a sudden they heard a hiss to the left of them. The mother snapped out of her trance-like state, but it was too late, for the snake had bitten her, and she had fallen and tumbled head-long, into the unforgiving desert sand. She whinnied desperately, trying to scare off the snake, but it was no use, for the snake bit her again before it slithered off to find somewhere new to sun himself. The mother tried again and again, to raise herself to her feet, but the poison had already begun to sink into her system, sapping her strength. She laid down, distressed and unhappy. She began to shiver and sweat uncontrollably. The foal was terrified, shaking where he stood, before he finally raced over to his mother, attempting to help her onto her feet. Again, it was useless. They both stayed in the same spot for a long time, before the foal dropped to his knees and lay next to his dying mother.
The purpose of their journey was to return to their herd, and present the new foal to them all, but now it seemed unlikely either of them were to make it. The quiet was disturbed by the mother’s sudden wild snorting, then a squeal, which was choked by the desert’s silence. The foal nudged his mother one last time, than rose to his feet. Suddenly, a panic overtook him and he fled in the direction which they were heading at top speed on his light legs. The sun had grown very hot by then, and eventually fatigue took hold of the little horse, forcing him to collapse on the ground. He was completely alone, surrounded only by sand, and other hidden dangers. Eventually, the night overtook the desert, and the foal fell into a troubled sleep.