Friday, July 29, 2005

Black Beauty

In case you are wondering, no, this is not a title of a porn movie. Or erotic story.

Since two other fellow bloggers talked about farm animals recently, I thought I will jump in on the bandwagon.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to actual person(s) are merely coincidences.

Once upon a time, there was a horse, which goes by the name of Silver. He was a very fine horse, handsome even, with a soft and beautiful mane and healthy skin which almost glows. Silver was a Hackney.

He had a good life. Everything that he ever wanted, he got them and they were the best – fresh green grass, clean and airy stable, juicy apples, crystal clear and sweet Perrier water, etc.

As such, he grew up in a life of luxury. He was grateful to his master because of that.

His master has always told him not to drink water from troughs. The reason was that water was not natural; the water did not form there but was brought from a river or lake or goodness knows where. As such it was deemed dirty and unhealthy.

This belief was further perpetuated as Silver mixed only with other well-bred horses. The other horses had never drunk from troughs either; but they expounded the same thing.

"Never drink from troughs. Trust me on this. The water is bad for you."

So whenever he was in town, he drank Perrier water that he carried from home.

One day, on one of the many trips to town that Silver went on once a week, the day was hotter than usual. By the time he reached town, his water canister of Perrier was almost empty.

His master went about with his usual business while Silver was not tied up. He was after all, a gentleman (gentlemount?) and knew how to behave himself in public. No running around or disturbing the peace. No swishing of the tail or making of weird neighing noises.

As the river was at least a mile away, Silver decided that it was not very wise to go in the scorching heat. And he was thirsty. Really thirsty.

There were quite a number of troughs and he badly wanted to drink from one of them, but he couldn’t. He just couldn’t.

He remembered his master’s advice. "Never drink from troughs. They are an unnatural source of water."

Silver couldn’t bite the hand that feeds him apples and carrots.

Besides, what would the other groomed horses say?

Nevertheless, all around him, horses were drinking from troughs and they seemed not to care. In fact, Silver has seen that many times; horses of all kinds, blacks, whites, browns, pink, spots, even striped (zebra?) - they just drank from troughs.

Why, he suspected that they seemed to be enjoying it too. To be free and without carrying the burden of imposed popular-belief restrictions.

Fulfilling the need to quench their thirst and even relishing the somewhat tasty water.

Silver wondered why he can’t be like them? Water – it is a basic need after all. Why should his master forbid him to drink? Water in a trough is still water, not liquor or poison.

Was there any difference between a trough-drinking horse and a Perrier-gulping one? Were the former less horse-like?

He didn’t think so. He hadn’t noticed any changes in them – they did not keel over or become less hung, from drinking trough-water.

Moreover, Silver hadn’t the courage to go near them to have a closer look – to verify that it was OK. He had only heard stories and tales; that what they were doing was wrong. But of course these were told by other groomed horses; never from the aforementioned horse’s mouth themselves.

He merely observed from a far; like a predator stalking its prey, but never going for the kill.

Pulling his thoughts back, he rationalised that his master must have his reasons. He was much older than Silver, thus should know better.

He has to be obedient, Silver told himself; well-bred horses have to. It was in the Charter of Good Behaviour for Distinguished Horses – Thou shall be obedient and serve thy master to the best of thy ability.

But deep down, Silver knew that it was alright – it was alright to drink from troughs, that the water was just like water from the river, that to extinguish one’s thirst was a right that no one should deny him.

Why should he keep up appearances, for the sake of someone else’s happiness and “face”? It is indeed noble to put other’s feelings and happiness first. It is even admirable to have people around him contented and he himself suffers in silence, than to make them otherwise, because of one’s actions.

However, doesn’t one’s own feelings and well-being count too? Is it not as important? What kind of life is that when you couldn’t do what your heart desire and instead be what someone else wants you to be?

He then remember another code from the charter – Never avoid the truth, just because it is painful. Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Besides, drinking from troughs would not change him in anyway. He was still himself; the Silver that everybody knew. The only change was that he let another part of himself be known.

Deep in thoughts, Silver didn’t notice that another horse was standing in front of him. It was black; his hair wasn’t as shiny and healthy as Silver’s. It was also obvious that he has lived many years and experienced an exciting life.

The black horse has only this to say, "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection."

With that, he trotted away.

Silver could only stare and gape. Denying what he was, his identity, his need to drink, to himself and others; surely he didn’t deserve that?

At that moment, he knew what was the right thing to do.


Chaichakri said...

An interesting story with lots of civic values!

Kudos to Derek. But what happens if you like yourself, but cannot live to the expectation of society?

Spot said...

Charter of Good Behaviour for Distinguished Horses

neighehehehe...i enjoyed that. :)

Jay said...

I could be wrong, but I suspect there's a moral hidden in this story :-p

Espion said...

Truth unchallenged, unquestioned, or untested is not necessarily truth.

And however authoritative or venerated a charter or a dogma or a 'wisdom', unless grounded upon truth, it is to be suspected. For how else can you tell what's a cult and what's not. And the more the dogma insists on being unchallenged the more it is to be suspected.

The Charter of Good Behaviour for Distinguished Horses could well be a disguise for the Cult of Hackney Horses who Drinks only Perrier.

But truly, the thing that really matters, is not whether a horse should drink Perrier or just plain old water collected in a trough, but what is it to be a horse altogether.

Does drinking Perrier makes you more or less a horse, or drinking any water at all? Maybe horses should drink whiskey instead.

So get along and be a horse, and what you drink may be altogether irrelevant to what horsiness is all about.