Monday, June 29, 2009

Bedside Storytelling

One of my favorite things about my addiction to children's books (not just Barefoot Books!) is the great storytelling I encounter. The books that stand the test of time, and the test of patience, are the ones that are great stories. Barefoot has MANY in this category (Mama Panya's Pancakes, Herb the Vegetarian Dragon, and hundreds of others). Some of the best stories come from our own imagination. Often, at my daughter's bedtime, I find my own eyes closing. Reality blurs with imagination, and I sometimes find it is easy to conjur a great tale.

Tonight my daughter requested a story about a horse (lately we've been giving her a choice of an animal and allowing the story to unfold naturally. Lately she's been choosing a horse). Daddy told the story, tonight. Here it is:

Once upon a time there was a horse. The horse lived on a farm with a barn, stables, fields and many other animals. The big strong horse worked hard for the farmer, year after year, plowing diligently in the fields, day after day, never complaining. The farmer always gave him the best oats and brushed his coat every day. The horse believed that he was made for this: for hard work, great rewards, and a gentle life. One day, the farmer said to the horse, "would you like to go run in the pasture?" The horse tossed his mane. "I never thought of it, before," he replied. "But I suppose I could try it." So, with a kind smile, the farmer led the old horse to the wide open pasture and released him. The old horse began with a pleasant trot, enjoying the sunshine and open space. Then he saw a bluebird. The little bluebird said, "oh great horse, I bet you can't run faster than I can fly!" So the horse began to chase him. He ran faster and faster, pushing his limits, breathing harder and harder, sweat glistening on his flanks. He chased the bird across the pasture where he finally met an open gate at the other end, leading out into a deep green field, surrounded by forest. But the mighty horse stopped. The horse remembered the farmer. He remembered the farmer's kindness, always giving him the best feed and gently brushing his coat every night. The mighty horse tossed his head and turned. He ran back to the farmer at the other end of the field. The farmer greeted his old friend with a smile. "Why did you come back?" The horse replied, "I ran all the way to the other end of the field. I realized for the first time that I was made for this, to run free. The air tasted sweet, the sky was blue, but I remembered you. Your kindness, always giving me the best oats, and your gentleness, brushing my coat every night. I thought maybe I ought to come back and keep working for you as I have all these years." The farmer lovingly stroked the mighty horse's nose. "Ah, old friend, your time plowing is through. You passed the test and came home to me. It's time to do what you were made to do. Go run." The horse tossed his head, turned and ran and ran and ran. Running free, as he was made to do.

Here's an amazing collection of magical horse stories from Barefoot Books, for the nights when your imagination needs a rest, or for an endless number of other good reasons.

1 comment:

Tojosan said...

Great story! Love the idea of reading to children.