Freer than Before

May 27, 2008
By Amanda Ridge, New Castle, IN

Mane flowing.
Hoofs pounding.

Never slowing,
But gaining speed.
This is freedom.

No master
No saddle
Bridle or
Nothing but air
Flowing over you.

This is freedom.

But wait,
A strange smell.
Another horse
Coming to join you
In your game?

A strange sound.
Something slips
Over your head.
It pulls tight.
You're caught.

This begins the fight for freedom.

Trying to run.
Panic fills you.
What is happening?

Your freedom is being taken.

You fight harder.
Dust fills your nostrils.
The sun beats down
Upon your back.

You fall.
Your freedom gone.
Now you have nothing to live for.

As this human
Roughly leads you away,
You look back
And see the only land you know.
Your homeland.

Thoughts flicker
Through your mind.
Where is he taking me?
What is going to happen?
Will I ever see my home again?

Hours later
You and your captor
Near a group of buildings.
You smell the stench of
And above all

Panic rises in you,
But you are almost
Too tired to care.
You ask yourself,
"Where did my freedom go?"

You are tired,
But most of all
You are

These humans lock you
In a stall.
All around you are horses
Drenched with sweat,
The whites of their eyes showing.
You know deep inside
That soon you will be just like them.

One morning
After many days of working
Hard in the fields,
You lay in your stall
Never wanting to get up.
You wonder again,
"Where is my freedom?"

The barn doors open.
A beam of light
Falls on the dirt floor.
Your hard-hearted master
Surveys his sorry-looking
Array of livestock.

He is talking to a man.
You can sense that this man
Is different.
Not like the other humans
You have known.

Your master shows him
Some of the new stock.
The ones that have not yet
Seen work.

They are still strong,
And hopeful.
Hopeful that some day
They will regain their freedom.

You watch as this man's kind eyes
Pass over the strong, healthy horses
And fall on you
Weary, broken, and weak.

"I want that one," he declares.
You feel a ray of hope
Shoot through you.
But you master
Turns him to the better looking stock.

Politely the kind man listens,
Even showing signs of interest
In the other horses.
All your hopes seem worthless now.
Or course he will choose a better horse
Than you.

The conversation pauses.
"All these are worth considering,"
Replied the man,
"But I came for her."
He points to your stall.

Your pulse quickens.
You feel alive again.
There is hope for you once more!

Your cold master
Tries again to persuade him
To buy one of the better horses.
Knowing that they will bring
A higher price.

"No, I know what you are thinking,"
My rescuer firmly replies,
"And I am prepared to pay
Whatever you ask
For her."

A greedy glint
Appears in your master's eye.
He names a price
That even you know is unreasonable.

"I'll pay it."
The man hands over the money.
His eyes lock with yours.
Your heart leaps
As you realize that this kind man
Is now your new master.

He gently leads you
Out of your stall
And away from that terrible place.

You soon come to a barn.
Only this is unlike any barn
That you've seen before.
For it is one
Fit for a king's horse.

You are led inside
And your new master
Carefully grooms you
And dresses your wounds.
You are fed a wonderful meal
And then taken to a comfortable stall.

"Sleep well my friend,"
He gently murmurs,
"For we have a long way
To travel in the morning."
And so you sleep.

The next morning
You awake at dawn.
And for a moment
You are confused.
Then you suddenly remember
All the happened the day before.

Soon your master
Walks into the barn.
You happily greet his
With a whinny.

He kindly looks you over
And thoughtfully says,
"I know just what you need.

He leads you away
From the barn.
You walk for quite some time
Resting periodically
At small groves of trees
And cool springs.

Finally, your master stops,
Looks around,
And states,
"You're home!"

Now you drink in
All the familiar sights,
And smells
That make up your homeland.
The land you thought
You'd never see again.

Quietly your master
Approaches you
And strokes your neck.
"I must leave you,
But someday I'll come back for you.
And when I do, it will be to take you
To a better place than this."

"Though I am leaving
Always remember that
I paid a great price for you
Because I love you!
I must go now."
With one last loving pat,
He turns and walks away.

And once again you are
Mane flowing.
Hoofs pounding.
You are free!

Yes, you have a master,
But you are blessed with one that
Loves you.
And that makes you feel
Freer than before!

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