Listen to this web page

Willow Island: A Horse Story, Part 1

Edited by Martin Wilsher

Unknown to all, until that fateful day in July, was a kingdom all it's own. A kingdom that belonged completely to the graceful creatures we know as horses. It was on an uncharted, yet large and beautiful island, full of weeping willow trees, which earned it it's magical name: Willow Island. There was a powerful leader, the stallion Ferdinand. There were other stallions too, but none like him. And, as you read on, you shall find out about all the rest, his favourite mare, their playful daughter, her friend Hector, and the terrible trouble that builds up throughout the story. Yet, do not despair, for every story has good times.

Ferdinand loved to play, though he was stern with his herd, as he was the head stallion. He taught the young foals and fillies how to fear man, and how to stay clear of them. He firmly taught his daughter, Marisa, how to deal with humans. Marisa was very young, and she did not understand the dangers that man would bring to her home. The herd would flee her home, and her father would firmly lead them. She would rather be out playing with her friend, Hector, son of the second stallion and head mare, Jolie and Black Thunder.

Her and Hector thought it would be safe to play, so they went to the other side of Willow Island. They had just got there when they heard unusual voices. They ignored the voices and kept on playing, until they heard a loud bang. Marisa looked over at Hector and he was just lying there. She ran back to Ferdinand and told him what had happened. Hector? Lying still on the ground on the other side of the island? Before a loud bang? Ferdinand didn’t like the sound of that. He tossed his head nervously. Marisa stood before him waiting for his answer. He clicked his tongue while he thought deeply. Hearing a noise Ferdinand looked behind him. The herd’s head mare and his favourite came to his side in a trot. “Ferdinand, Marisa what is going on?” Jolie asked Ferdinand replied: “Jolie I need you to take Marisa to a place where she won’t cause any trouble” “Momma, me and hector were playing and-“ “Marisa you are commanded not to talk!” Ferdinand snapped at her. Marisa flinched at Ferdinand’s words. She could only run to her mother’s side crying. Ferdinand didn’t care how Marisa felt. He was more concerned on what he had to do. There could only be one reason why Hector laid still on the ground. He had been shot by one of those gun sticks the humans used. So that meant there were humans on the island. For what reason? He thought. There wasn’t anything to hunt except horses. He turned to look over at his herd that he had led for years. He would do anything to protect the herd. They were like a family to him. Even though he wasn’t raised on the island, after all he got shipwrecked here when he was young, he cared for them. He cared for them enough that he had to take stern measures to keep them safe. He turned towards Jolie. “And make sure she doesn’t talk, because I have a lot of work to do,” Ferdinand added before galloping off to the only thing that could help him. Duran and his herd of bachelors!

When he got there Duran didn’t want to get his group in danger so he refused to help Ferdinand and his herd. There was only one more herd on Willow Island, but they were scrawny and weak. They were their only hope. As he was running to them he met up with a group of humans. The humans yelled and pointed at Ferdinand, and immediately threw a net on him before he could even think whether to run right or left. He struggled, but he could not brake free. The humans tied a rope around his neck, and began trying to pull him back to their camp. Ferdinand reared and whinnied, but the humans held fast, and dragged him back to their camp. They called him names, jeered at him and poked him with a stick. Only one human from the group stood up for him. He had kind hazel-brown eyes, and a sad face. He was strong and comforting. When the other men hurt him, he glared at them through angry eyes and told them in a loud voice to stop. Ferdinand immediately felt close to him.

They took him on a small ship, crowded with other horses Ferdinand did not know. They were all crammed into it, and some of the humans fell in a bad mood. They smoked, drank beer and swore. Only the kind man didn't. He, Ferdinand felt, was a leader, like himself. After many days of travelling, they finally reached land. The land wasn't at all like the place Ferdinand had lived in. It had lots of buildings, and cars everywhere. The boat docked in a semi-quiet area and Ferdinand, with the other horses, was taken off. He was led to a stable and put in a small stall. Only because the nice person was leading him did Ferdinand do this quietly. The man led the horses into an open pasture. At the very edge of the pasture, there was an opening between some trees. It seemed like a quiet spot for Ferdinand to rest while he thought about everything that had just happened. He went into the opening of the trees, and saw... A whole bunch of other horses, gathered around in a circle! When they saw him, they snorted and backed away. "Who are you?" they asked. "I am Ferdinand." he replied. "What are you doing?" "We are holding a council on how we might escape. The fences are high and electrified, so we cannot escape."

Ferdinand and the others considered ways to escape from the pasture. They were just getting a good idea when they saw three men approaching them. Each man had two funny pieces of cloth and a rope. The kind man slipped one of the funny pieces of cloth over Ferdinand’s head and attached a rope. He also did this to another horse, a small black mare with a white star and two white socks. The other horses were being captured in the same way. The kind man led Ferdinand and the black mare to a trailer. He led both of the horses up into it and slammed the door. After a long bumpy ride, the gate was opened. Ferdinand stiffened. What was this place he had been brought to? Who were all these strange horses and men? The kind man came back again and led the two horses out of the trailer and to a small ring. By and by, many people came to observe the two horses. One little girl pointed at the pretty black mare and said, "daddy, daddy I want that one!" Another girl, about 14 carefully observed Ferdinand and kept her eye on him.

Ferdinand snorted. He had an idea what was going on. He had been brought to a place where people sold horses. "Can't I please have that one?" asked the little girl, pointing again to the black mare. "And I think my sister wants that one!" She pointed to Ferdinand. "Yes, yes, you can have those two." the dad began talking to a stranger, wrote something on a small piece of paper, and handed it to the man. The man led Ferdinand and the mare out. Again they were led into a trailer. "What's your name?" Ferdinand asked the mare. "Kora." she hesitated for a moment, then said, "Don't tell anyone, but I used to be a princess."

Ferdinand stared in incomprehension at the black mare. "What do you mean you were a princess?" he asked. Kora looked sadly at him. "What I mean is I was once owned by humans in high society, I had good food, lodging and fine appointment, now, well, what'll happen to me, to us?" Ferdinand couldn't reply. The trailer started moving, the driving was so bad that Ferdinand and Kora had trouble keeping their balance. At one moment, the trailer rocked so much that Kora was almost crushed under Ferdinand, even though the stallion did his best not to injure her. Their distress increased when they saw the kindly man who’d helped Ferdinand into the lorry running along side the trailer trying to keep up while screaming at the driver to have a care for the two horses inside it!

As the trailer turned a corner, Kora and Ferdinand lost sight of their only friend in the world. Picking himself up off the floor after another crashing meeting with it, Ferdinand looked at Kora and said: “It’s just us now, you and me, we’re in this together. We’ll have to help each other, I can’t live without you, and you without me, we’re horses against the cruelty of humans.” Kora looked at the stallion. “All right, I’ll do what you want.” She said. “What?” Ferdinand asked, “You think that’s all I want?” “Well,” Kora replied, “You are a stallion, and in my short life, I’ve got the impression that that’s all stallions want! You’re saying you are different, that you’ll respect a mare’s wishes?” “I wouldn’t touch you if you gave me oats, not unless you wanted me to.” Ferdinand’s shock was visible to Kora, who felt anger at herself for judging this stallion too quickly. Her thoughts were interrupted by the trailer jerking to a sudden stop, throwing her full weight on top of Ferdinand. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she stammered, levering herself carefully off of him. “That’s all right,” Ferdinand gasped, “I’m just winded, I didn’t expect that from the trailer!” Kora helped Ferdinand to his feet. The driver of the horsebox came to undo the ramp.

The driver unlatched the hinges of the float and let the ramp drop to the ground with out a care in the world, the ramp made a loud bang and the black mare shied into the stallions shoulder. Three men appeared at the side of the ramp with prodders, "These look good the poor little girl thought she was really getting these horses ha-ha, there too good for her" one man said, the other nodded: "We better put em with the others or the boss will get mad you know how much he wants these things lookin' good before we sell em to those Japanese fellas," said another guy and they all started laughing. The mare and the stallion gave each other scared looks and wondered what was going 2 become of them. One moment they were going to live with two little girls and now they were going with other horses somewhere, other horses appealed to them but where were they going?

next part

This story is a product of collaborative writing on Fabulous Fiction. The contributing writers are Whitney, Hannah, Miranda, Anna, Benjamin, Jazzy, Saffron, Jo W, Katherine, Katie, Martin, Nicky, Mule, Lisa, Vaughn, Cindy, Wendy, Italics, Vanessa, and Justin. Special thanks to Martin Wilsher for leading the story and later editing it for this web site.