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I was born in a rambling barn. A place so filthy, where even horses like me would spit in disgust. As I was coming out of my mother's womb, I felt the earth-shaking. I slipped with a soft thud and loud grunt. Mother described to me the peculiarities afterward when I was a little grown-up. She said the humans knew they had a foaling mare in the truck, but that wasn’t reason enough for them to pause the excursion. The makeshift cabin jerked with pints of sunlight pouring in through the clefts of its stannous body. I opened my eyes- smelling a horrible odor- which was evidently coming out of the unwashed daub physique of my paternal and maternal family.

How miserable! I heard the first few words from my uncle, “Welcome to the world, lad.”

We were at a circus amusement party. My father, mother, two uncles- with redundant competition, two aunties-neither kind nor rude, their children- Woody, Pecky, and Gilly, two grandmothers- who loved us children very much, and some extended members- who just minded their own business- this large stable was not brought together in one day. First, it was only my grandparents. The others came gradually. Many of them were born and raised here, protected from the dangers of the world outside. My parents, and Woody, Pecky, and Gilly's parents- were so accustomed to the circus life that often, I feared they were walking dead. Or at least, their mind was incomprehensible.

As I grew up, I got familiar with the rules. There weren't many of them to remember actually- things were quite basic. Food was given two times- in the morning before the exercise and in the evening when the daylong namesake training finished. We mostly had addled liquid disguised as the cream of wheat or corn chaff. The ostlers bathed us once or twice a week. Nights came with stories. It was my grandmother Elbi, who introduced us to the wilderness. She said she'd seen the true horses- the ones who run in the roaring fields- tall like blustering cliffs- mane of silver and golden silk- shoulders broad like pillars- coronets shiny like mirrors- the most magnificent are the tails. Men have always trusted their horses- grandma Elbi said. In wars, journeys, business, and whatnot!

Where do they live? I asked her.

Beyond this cursed land. She said with a heavy heart.

Grandma Elbi and all our grandparents lived in the forests. When humans caught them, they were very young. She often said we inherited their features. We were not so fortunate to see ourselves in mirrors, but by the sight of Woody, Pecky, and Gilly, I assumed myself not to be astonishingly handsome after all.

One day rumors began floating to the tents. The whispers told that the circus master had decided to sell the animals. The business is not providing, and kids are no more interested in dancing horses. Everybody was anxious about what could happen next. There was a reason to be frightened. As I said before, we didn't know any life outside the circus. I got separated from my cousins- sold to run carriages. I didn't have any opportunity to say goodbye to my family. Before I even knew it, I was shifted to my new workstation. A man named Salim became my new master.

There were no tricks in this new job. Just carry the metal bandwagon around the city. The riders enjoyed an escape from motor car rides and celebrated the monarchical taste for a day. Master gave the carriages on rent on a daily basis. It was a low-paying job, and sometimes troublesome. Especially when insolent kids pushed or hitched upon my tail- or my horn. Or the middle-aged brutes smacked upon my thighs and shoulders without any precise reason. But Salim was a neutral man- he would give us barley now and then (wriggling with little worms) - washed us regularly (with black water but obviously no one wants to ride a filthy horse) - and never whipped us needlessly. He was a lonely man, and we were his only companions.

There were three other horses in his possession- Rami, Bami, and Paki. Four of us pulled the carriages. It appeared I was the only one coming from a different line of profession. The ancestors of Rami, Bami, and Paki had been pulling wagons for generations. And they were following patriarchal steps. Truthfully, I liked it there more than my life in the circus. The roads were like puzzles loaded with traffic and people- It was adventurous to walk amid wondrous malls, towns, stations. I saw my glimpse in a mirror once. Yellow teeth- narrow shoulder- legs malnourished- tail like dried silage. I was quickly ashamed of the spectacle.

Rami talked to me about many things. He told me he had seen an orchestra- a street puppeteer- maroon fireworks- and trees.

Trees! I almost shouted as I spoke. Where have you seen trees? I hadn't seen many trees in my life.

There's a road on the outskirts of the city. There are so many on the other side of the road. It’s so dark in there I think sunlight hardly escapes the shadow.

Wow! Then it must be the forest, I said.

How so? Bami asked.

My grandmother told me that trees grow densely in the forest. That's it. We must go there.


To live into the wild, live the life of a true horse.

There's no such thing, silly. Come out of the fantasy.

Although dejected, but for the first time in my solemn existence, I felt the thrill of excitement in my bones. I dreamt about the wilderness.

The obscure shadow of the damp forest bed lured me every day. After a few months of careful survey, I planned my so desired escape. Salim ties us at night- keeps us in a small yard with bamboo fences all around. The patrolling was not very stern because no horse had ever run away before. Crossing the boundary was easy, I just had to persuade Bami to help me with the knot. I wanted them to come over too, but none of them seemed interested in my wild ideas. Nevertheless, I knew the route and was determined to gain my freedom anyway. So, when the night owls hooted- I ran- I ran without a rope around my neck- I ran without the burden of carrying people- I ran toward my salvation.

I took in the smell of the oozing leaves of the forest. The grandeur of the vastness was almost fanatical. It was difficult to see in the dark at first but I didn't stop. I walked deeper- to ambiguity- so no one could find me. I was incited and scared. The trees became so dense after a while that I had to stop. I figured I had come quite afar. I closed my eyes to take some rest and heard the various noises of animals from the forest. Most of them were unfamiliar to me- Only the crickets and owls and hounds were conventional. I waited for the dawn- patiently. I must find others of my kind, although recalling my features, I wasn't sure they would accept me as one of their own.

I thought about what grandma Elbi would say about my adventure. She must be proud of me- happy to see my courage. And I wish my cousins were here, or at least Rami. Am I already feeling lonely? I asked myself. No, no, I'm just anxious. I saw something hovering over my head. Is that a bat or a bird? And with so many wonders finally came the morning. It was peaceful to see everything green and fresh- I started walking as soon as everything was translucent- the first day of my freedom.

There was plenty to eat in the forest and plenty to drink. Nature was kind and beautiful. But one week passed and still, I didn't find any horse in the new neighborhood.

Maybe they don't live here, I exclaimed in despair. I roamed around relentlessly to find a suitable friend. Someone to talk with. Once or twice, I asked the birds for help- it appeared there were not many amicable inhabitants. One day, a sparrow told me to go to the north. She said there might be some groups of horses she had seen but made me aware of a treacherous hound lurking in the path.

Be careful of his words, I'm not even sure you can find your kind, they could've moved, you know.

I thanked her and said I had to take the risk. Otherwise, without my den, I will die sooner or later.

I made no delay and set off on my journey to the north. This part of the forest was sparse- chaparral with spontaneous hawthorns and brooms- and occasional Delphiniums- an extraordinary view for a horse like me- who had spent his childhood among state, pollution, and people.

Hounds don't eat horses'. But they are furious creatures and create a meaningless fuss. I wasn't looking for any disturbance-I didn't know how to deal with residents of the wild. I reached a narrow channel of a ravine. While I was about to step my hoofs onto the water, I heard a low growl. On the other side of the ravine, there stood a red dog that looked larger than average- and stronger than regular. His face was filled with a vicious aptitude and his movements reflected raw shrewdness.

Are you unaccompanied? The hound observed and asked.

I am on a solitary journey, I chose my words carefully.

Why so?

Ah! To savor the essence of loneliness.

A philosopher horse! he said mischievously. How unpractical. 

Is it forbidden for a horse to seek wisdom? I tried to look confident.

Not at all, no. But I was assuming perhaps you are not from here.

He was moving to and fro while talking. Is he planning to attack me? I thought. He is just about my size, but stronger obviously. However, I have my hoofs, and he doesn't look like a fool to do something abrupt.

I am a traveler. I roam around places.

Really! Then you must be quite an adventurer.

Yes, of course.

So, where have you been lately?

In a dark Mooreland. Anything you touch there wears a sad hue. The swamps are muddy and dark green, plants are like olives, earth exhales toxic steam.

I don't think such a place exists- You just made that up, the hound smirked.

That is something only an ignorant will say, I tried to throw a smirk back. Tell me hound, have you ever left this good old homeland of yours?

The hound looked confused. No, I haven't.

And yet you challenge my intellect, how foolish!

The pride of his face was wearing out.

You should see the hounds of Mooreland. They survive by fighting with two-legged creatures and are far more sagacious than any I've met.

Where is this Mooreland? He asked, stubbornly.

I pointed out behind me- Far beyond this forest- if you intend to go there, I warn you- you'll need great courage.

The hound let out a trembling roar. He passed the ravine in a blink and ran in the direction I came from.

I almost felt numb with the experience. Did I actually manage to distract him?

Without wasting any time, I followed the roaring field behind the ravine- the setting sun casted my shadow over the land- my manes were restless- my tail oscillated like wads of mustard.

I can see others from a distance.

Hey, screamed I- I have come!


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