How Horses Came To Be

By Grace Gregory Delivered at Fifth Grade Graduation June 2004 Next Year She Will Be In Middle School

A long time ago men had to toil all day in the blazing sun, caring for their crops. They had to plant seed, water, and hoe; and when the crops were ripe, harvest them and put them in baskets on their backs to carry home. It was hard work because the soil was rocky, and the men couldn't carry all the food. They would arrive home late each night. They'd come home to a cold dinner, and they'd find everyone in bed. The women were kept busy, too. They had to mend the soles of the men's moccasins and crush seed for oil to put on the men's sores.
One day a little mute boy named Apa watched his dad leave to harvest his crops. Apa felt sorry for his dad and the other men so he silently ran to the Valley of Peacefulness. There he knelt on a patterned rung in front of a solid gold statue, and he prayed. He asked that everyone be given an animal, not just for companionship, but to help in the fields. He prayed that the animal would be as gentle as a child and as beautiful as a diamond. When Apa was done, he bowed his head to the statue promising to return to receive his wish. Then he returned home.
Finishing his porridge the next morning, Apa set off again for the Valley of Peacefulness. When he arrived, he spotted on the patterned rug a little deerskin pouch. The pouch contained a key, three pieces of parchment, some glittering shells, sand, and a little glass box. Inside the box was a sculpture of a creature that Apa had never seen before. It had sapphire eyes and a pearl body with an ebony mane and tail. Apa bowed to the statue in thanks and left.
Then he took everything out of the pouch. He carefully examined each item. One piece of parchment was a map; the other had a chant on it; and the last one had a short sentence on it that read, You shall have your true reward.” Apa tossed everything back into the pouch and set off for home. When he got home, he went straight to his cot and once again emptied the pouch trying to figure out what the words meant.
That night he had an idea so he made a plan. When everyone had gone to bed, he sneaked out of the house and followed the map that led to a silver gate. He peered through the silver bars of the gate and saw a glittering cloud that was turning into images of creatures he had never seen. Then he spotted it: a wispy figure of an animal that looked like the statue in his pouch. It appeared for two seconds; then it was gone. Apa took the key out of his pouch and turned it in the gate's keyhole. With a clank, the gate creaked opened, and Apa padded in. He sat cross legged on the floor, took out the chant, and read it in his mind, Wind, sun, rain condense thyself.
The result shall be the horse. To Apa's surprise the glass box floated out of the pouch, opened, and released the statue. Suddenly the glittering cloud swallowed the statue. Apa watched in awe as the mist twisted and turned. Then he heard a high pitched whinny followed by a whole chorus of whinnies and the sound of clops. Apa strained to see through the mist. As he peered, he saw a silhouette, then a creature so sleek, so strong, so beautiful, prance out of the mist. The creature was pearl white with a pitch-black mane and tail and sapphire eyes. Following him was a whole herd of identical creatures. Apa watched as the creature galloped around the playa with his tail streaming out behind him like the wind. His hooves made the sound of pattering rain, and his coat shown like the sun. Apa watched the beautiful sight before him.
Then he heard the sound of the night creatures so he gathered up some dry grass. Weaving it into rope, he tied a loop around the creature's neck and led him home. On the way he started calling the creatures horses. He called the leader a stallion and his followers mares. When he arrived in his village, Apa delivered a horse to each home, but he kept the stallion and named him Ebony's Top Threat. As he ate his soup, Apa felt as if he had something he had never had before. He heard Ebony whinny, and he said out loud, He must be hungry.He froze. He had just spoken! He was no longer a mute. At that moment Apa knew he had received his true reward.