Updated: Apr 11, 2019
There once was a man who lived with his wife in a simple, but beautiful farmhouse in the country. They toiled long hours on the land, but shared a great joy in the raising of a few fine horses. Unto them, one day, was born a beautiful filly with a gentle demeanor that was so pleasant and affectionate that they named her Sweet. She was the most graceful of creatures, fair in colour with an angelic blonde mane that trailed like a silken cascade about her neck. How Sweet loved to be doted on. These proud “parents” as they were, could almost sense her thanking them after her daily grooming. She loved the sound of their voices, and even though she didn’t understand all they said, Sweet knew the sound. It was the sound of love. As Sweet grew, she was such a pleasure to teach and to train, trusting, confident, sure footed, and proud. She loved the rich rolling pastures of her farm, the trickling stream that ran through it, and the song of the farmer as he moved about in their beautiful meadow. Even the security of the always, fresh painted white fence that surrounded her home had ingrained in her a deep sense of safety and peace. As time passed, she grew sleek, fast, and confident and throughout the county, all who would come upon her were immediately charmed to find that her countenance matched so well, her name.
Eventually,the farmer and his wife allowed Sweet to venture beyond the pasture gate, for she had matured into a strong young filly and they knew the world would soon beckon her adventurous spirit. One day, while enjoying her new liberty, Sweet discovered a whole other county beyond the forest and dared herself to discover what mysteries lay within. The meadows there weren’t filled with the lovely, fragrant wild flowers that she was used to, but rather more varieties of weeds than she had ever seen before. The fences were in various states of disrepair and the grass was most certainly, not as green, however there was no question that the uniqueness of this place challenged her curiosity. Alas, she was befriended by a young colt named Reb. Most of the time, Reb kind of wandered the countryside and stayed to himself. Reb’s master was a gruff old laborer who’s wife had abandoned him and Reb when Reb was very young, for he would often stagger home drunk and mistreat both her, and the young colt as well. After such neglect and abuse, at a very early age, Reb became resistant to the training of his master who named him Reb simply as an abbreviation for his real name, Rebellion. Sweet loved being with Reb, for in Reb’s world there was no training, no rules, and no fences. Life was lived out of doors, in the elements, not in the shelter and safety of a well kept stable, stocked daily with fresh oats, hay and clean water. But because of Sweet’s growing love for Reb, she soon learned to drink from the stagnant pool that he had gotten used to through his life of neglect. This poison drink made her sick and weak and as days past, Sweet began to forget the love and care of her home. She was hardening to survive in the world of Rebellion. One day Reb took her to a towering railway trestle where Sweet had a fall and injured her hip. At days’ end, limping and alone, under the starry sky, Sweet would return home slightly more battered and bruised than the night before. She had lost her beautiful shiny coat and now wore a façade of hunger and deprivation, but Sweet had grown callous, and tough, and eventually, had completely taken upon herself the personality of Rebellion.
Sweet arose slowly in the mornings for although her will had become coarse and rigid, her spirit felt ravaged and broken. She would no longer accept the training of her master. She rejected the bit and bridle that would bring her under control and allow her to be directed. She no longer stood still to hear the gentle words of the farmer and his wife, and would buck and kick if they tried to approach her in the corral. Sweet wanted only to run, to be free, to be independent, no matter what the cost, no matter what the loss.
Though the farmer and his wife had two other champion thoroughbreds in their stable, they sat by the window and cried each night for more than a year for the beautiful Sweet whom they loved so dearly. On occasion while setting a light in the window late at night, they would see her dusky silhouette wandering alone on the dark horizon. They prayed endlessly for her, and thought about how Rebellion had changed her lovely, gentle nature, and the farmer’s heart burned with anger, and began to fill with hatred, and his mind was nearly overcome with murderous thoughts. Rebellion had changed her very nature, he had stolen all that was good, and faithful, and true from Sweet and replaced it with shame, lawlessness, and pain. He showed her a life of abuse and taught her heart the meaning of torment.
Then one day, early in the morning, before the sun had come up, the farmer deep in his thoughts, trod the tall and brittle grass, while inspecting the fences as they sparkled under fresh frost. Suddenly, as he past the blackened silhouette of a stand of pines, out of the darkness, like two black crystals in the night, there stood Rebellion, his eyes caught in a motionless stare at the warm light of a distant stable as he awaited a rendezvous with Sweet, his possessed. Like the forces of Good and Evil who had come to do battle, the farmer’s eyes locked with his. In silence, they pierced the chilled air. And then, eyes once warm with love for his precious Sweet now rose like a killing fire, and spoke as sure as the wind cried as it blew through the trees. “Leave my Sweet now, or suffer your dark fate by my hands on this cold night..for she is a great love of my life and like a daughter caught in the clutches of death, will I steal her out of your grasp. For she will not be lost forever, and surely, this night you will die”. With that, Reb suddenly bolted, and like a black and terrifying tornado that sweeps the land with destruction and then is gone in a moment, Reb the destroyer, escaped with his life.
For many months the anguished Sweet could be heard kicking and bucking against the walls of her stable. Once, her place of security and peace, now, it seemed her prison. More than once could she contain her lament no longer, and she would kick out the wooden barn shutters and leap to her perceived freedom. She would run until her legs shook, in the cold night air, but the pain in her lungs reminded her of her lost love and she would return home. Sweet spent many long afternoons walking along the crest of the hill near the stream, starring at the horizon, alone with her thoughts and memories. Many nights, in the soothing lamplight of the stable, the farmer and his wife nursed her wounded calves and slowly patched her broken heart with the healing balm of genuine love. There were times when they would approach her too closely or speak too abruptly and she would rear up and want to run again. They knew that though her heart would eventually heal, she would bare the scars of her Rebellion for a lifetime. But as time passed, a hardened crust began to break away and prayers were answered in the unfolding gentleness of a heart returning to its own sweet beginnings.
The season had changed. Morning had broken. The sun shone on new wildflowers in the meadow. Their tiny faces smiled up at Sweet as she walked gently by...and she was beautiful again.
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Robert M. Arrigo