|The Dream Horse|
Billy woke up from his Saturday nap with a big smile on his freckled face. His short sleeved checkered shirt and blue-jeans were just like Cowboy Candys' on the TV. He went into the kitchen for a drink.
"Hi, Mom. May I have a glass of milk?" He asked.
"You certainly may . Why are you so happy?" asked his mother.
"I saw my dream horse during my nap and he told me he's gonna take me for a ride when I go to sleep tonight." Billy couldn't stop smiling about his new friend.
"Your dream horse? When did you first see this? Besides, I thought you felt too big for naps." Mrs. Brown was surprised by the sudden change.
"My new friend at school, Jose, told me all about naps. He's living here with his family for a year. They're from Spain. In his country eveybody takes naps in the afternoon. I think they call it a siesta." Billy was so proud that he could speak in a new language.
Try as he might, Billy couldn't wait for night. He kept asking what time it was.
"If I put on my sunglasses will it be time to go to sleep?" he asked.
"No." laughed his mother. "The night won't come any faster. Tell me more about your dream horse. What color is he?"
"He's a palmo-mino!" answered Billy proudly.
"You mean a pal-o-min-o, don't you?" she corrected him, lovingly.
Palomino (pal-oh-MEE-no) is a coat color in horses, a gold coat with a white mane and tail.
"Yes. He's a palomino. That's his name! I'll call him Pal."
Billy played outside with his sister Sue, but he kept one eye on the sun. When his father came home Billy was happy to see him. Dad's arrival also meant that it wouldn't be long before supper, and then time for bed.
"Hi, Dad!" he shouted. "It will be time for bed soon."
Billy's Dad hoisted his son into the air for a hug. "Why so eager to go to bed, Billy?" his Dad asked, puzzled. "You didn't get in trouble did you?"
Mr. Brown was a tall man who wore a business suit to work everyday. He put Billy down and picked up Sue.
"Hello, Suzy sugar, how are you?"
"I'm okay, Daddy, but Billy wants to meet his dreamhorse in his sleep." She brushed her blonde curls out of her face as she talked. "Can I have a dreamhorse, too?"
"You sure can, honey." He said.
As they walked hand in hand to the house they were met by Mrs. Brown at the door. He greeted her with a kiss. "Hi, dear. It sounds like you've had quite a day."
As the children ran into the kitchen he asked,"What's this about a dreamhorse for Billy? Sue says she wants one too."
Mrs. Brown laughed. "Billy took a nap and he dreamed about a horse, a gold and white horse", she said. "He says it will take him for a ride when he goes to sleep tonight."
Mr. Brown just shook his head and smiled. "Kids. What an imagination."
Supper came and went. Stories were read and finally it was time for bed.
As Billy's mother tucked him in, he looked up and said, "Mommy, what do you want me to bring you from my ride with Pal tonight?"
Mrs. Brown thought for a moment before speaking. "I'd like a feather."
"OK! Pal and I will bring you a feather, and one for Sue and Daddy, too". He kissed his Mom goodnight and pulled the covers up under his chin. Billy thought he would toss and turn for hours but within minutes after his light was turned off he was sound asleep.
"Pal!" shouted Billy, excitedly, suddenly wide awake. "You did come. I was afraid you wouldn't make it." He quickly sat up and kicked the covers off.
"Hop on Billy", said Pal, "We're going for a ride. We have a lot to see and do tonight!"
Billy gave a quick bounce on the mattress and flung himself onto Pal's back. Threading his fingers through Pal's shimmering white mane, he held on as tight as he could. Pal wheeled and then gracefully leaped through Billy's open window. Off the two of them flew, into the night.
Billy watched the scenery change from the lush green mountains of his home state, to become flat farm country. Below, the checkerboard fields, now rich with crops, quickly gave way to rocky mountains and a drier climate.
"Where are we?"Billy asked.
"We are about to visit a time when the land was as free as the people who lived here", replied Pal. "Some of my friends will join us for our journey."
Just as Pal finished speaking a band of Indians rode towards them.
"Hello Pal, my good friend", said the leader of these horsemen. "And who is this?", he asked Pal.
"This is Billy", replied Pal. "He is a friend who wants to go with us on our ride".
"Then he is welcome", came the Indian's reply.
No one found it strange that the Palomino horse spoke, because in dreams everything is possible.
"Who is this?" Billy whispered to the golden Palomino horse.
Pal pawed at the ground as he made the introduction.
"This is Thunder-Who-Walks, said Pal. "He is the Spirit Chief of all the Indian nations. Each one of the braves who ride with him here represents a tribe which roamed this land for many years before the coming of the white man."
"Many of those tribes are no more, Billy. The Chief has agreed to let you ride with them tonight so that they can show you their land, and tell you of their people."
With that, they were off. They rode through valleys, splashed across streams and silently filed past long empty villages carved into the sides of red mountains. They traveled on and on, past cold campfires and barren canyons, past prairies where bleached bones of buffalo glowed softly in the moonlight. Finally they came to a small rise. There, the Chief raised his hand, signalling the band to pause. He gestured towards the wide expanse of land which stretched for miles before them.
"This land is great like the people who once crossed it, Billy. A sea of buffalo once roamed those vast prairies. Now they are gone forever, and so are many of my people".
"Gone forever?", asked Billy, casting a worried glance at Pal.
Pal nodded. "The Indians were driven from their land, Billy. Some were even driven from this life."
The Chief looked so very sad as Pal said this, that a tear began to trickle down Billy's own cheek.
A brave from the back of the group came riding forward. He leaned over and laid a comforting hand on Billy's shoulder.
"Do not cry, little one. Change is part of all our being. My people lived here for many moons, even before Chief Thunder-Who-Walks' people came. Change happens to all the tribes of the earth. It happened to our tribes, and it shall happen to yours. We agreed to let you ride with us tonight so we could share with you a special knowledge. Look at this land young Billy, and think of what has happened to our people. Teach the people of your time to first respect one other, and then to respect the land."
Billy nodded his understanding.
With one last look at the wide prairies below them, they turned and began their journey back. They cantered through the valleys, and into the deep green forests. They forded shallow streams, and swam deep rivers.
At last, on a dusty plain, they came upon a set of railroad tracks. There they stopped. None of Billy's companions would cross the tracks.
Chief Thunder slipped down from the back of his sturdy Paint and walked over to where Billy sat astride the golden Palomino.
Pointing at the railroad track the Chief said, "This is the path of the Iron Horse, Billy. It brought much change to our land and to our people. We will not cross this path, so here is where we will part ways. Remember the lessons you learned with us tonight. Use the knowledge wisely."
Impulsively, Billy slid down off of Pal and stood next to the Chief. He raised his arms. The surprised Chief knealt down on one knee so that Billy could give him a hug.
"Goodbye, young Billy", he said. Then, reaching up into to his feathered headdress, Chief Thunder-Who-Walks removed three eagle feathers and handed them to Billy.
"How did you know I wanted to bring back the feathers?", asked Billy in surprise. The Chief just smiled and shook his head.
"Never forget, Billy", he said softly. "Never forget".
"Mom, Dad, Sue ... I'm home!" he shouted.
Within minutes everyone was in his room asking if he had seen his dream horse.
"Where did you go and what did you do?" asked Sue.
Billy told them everything that had happened. He told them about the ride across the country, and about Pal, the beautiful golden palomino horse, and about the Indian tribes who were no more, and about his friend the wise Chief.
"And the Chief gave me three feathers so that I would never ever forget. That's a feather for each of you. But where did I put them?" Billy had been rooting through the bed covers but he couldn't find the feathers.
"There were three of them, one for each of you," he said, beginning to worry that he had lost them on the journey home.
"It was a dream, son", said Billy's Dad. "That's right, sweetheart", said Billy's Mom. "It was a dream, honey".
"What's this?", inquired Sue curiously, grabbing hold of a shimmering strand of coarse white hair that was sticking out from beneath Billy's pillow. She gave it a quick tug but it seemed to be attached to something. She tugged again and something else came into view. "There's a feather under your pillow, Billy!", she shouted.
Billy pulled out the first feather, then a second, and a third, all tangled together in a few long white strands of hair.
"That's from Pal's mane!", said Billy excitedly."And these are the feathers the Chief gave me!"
Mr. and Mrs. Brown looked into each others eyes and then back at the feathers and the strand of horse hair clutched tightly in Billy' hand.
Billy's Dad scratched his head and his Mom raised her eyebrows in surprise.
|Billy's face was beaming with joy. He glanced down at
"Thanks Pal", he whispered to his dream horse.
As his parents and sister were still pondering over the feathers and strands of Pal's mane, Billy glanced towards the open window. In the distance he could see a lone eagle as it soared gracefully through the bright blue morning sky.
"And thank you, Chief Thunder-Who-Walks", he said softly. "I'll never forget".
Illustration Courtesy of Bedtime-Story
About the Author:
Gary Blake is a 42 year old freelance writer from Summit Hill, PA. in the hardcoal region of northeastern Pennsylvania. He is married to Judy, a former nurse and school volunteer. He has two sons, Daniel 14 and Patrick 12. Gary considers himself to be perfectly suited for writing bedtime stories as he excels at sleeping. Thus, he knows which stories keep him awake and which ones give him a good nights sleep. He writes for a company newsletter and wrote for a local weekly newspaper for 3 1/2 years. You may contact Gary Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|ABOUT THE PALOMINO: The place of origin of the Palomino probably never will be conclusively determined. Myths and legends of various countries shroud the beginnings of the golden horse. The word "Palomino" is actually a Spanish surname. Many feel that Palomino is only a color and not a breed, because the golden horse with ivory-colored mane and tail appears in ancient tapestries and paintings of Europe as well as Asia. While it is true that the color of Palomino comes in all breeds, the Palomino of Spanish times, the Golden Dorado, was as close to being a breed as any strain of horse. The Dorado was of Arabic-Moorish-Spanish blood and breeding, closely akin to the Arabian and the Moorish Barb. We find that point noted in a book printed back in 1774 in Barcelona, Spain. The Palomino is a multi-purpose horse. They are admired not only for their beauty but for their versatility, maneuverability, and endurance. They are to be found in ranching, racing, rodeos, pleasure riding, parades, shows, fiestas, jumping, trail rides, and all other equine activities. Learn more about horses: http://www.horses-and-horse-information.com/|