Horse: World Changer
Martha sat underneath a tree in the playground, trying not to cry.
But then a soft nose nuzzled her neck and she felt Stibler Horse’s warm mane around her shoulders.
‘Now then,’ said Horse, ears flicked up, listening. ‘Are you all right?’
Martha couldn’t speak. ‘Not all right, then?’ said Horse.
Martha’s voice trembled. ‘Not all right,’ she whispered.
Horse could feel the girl’s sadness. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘Try and tell me what’s upsetting you?’
‘Can’t,’ said Martha. It was true, because the lump in her throat was getting in the way of speaking.
‘No hurry,’ said Horse cheerfully. ‘Tell me when you’re ready.’ And she smiled a warm smile.
‘I’ll never ever tell,’ added Martha.
‘Never is a long time,’ said Horse, ‘Almost as long as we horses have been helping people.’
There was a pause, but Martha couldn’t help a spark of interest stirring. “How have you helped people?” she asked.
“We helped farmers by pulling machines along. Horse power it was called. And men and women rode on our backs so they could get to places quickly. We made it easier for people to work and move about. We Horses helped to change the world.’
‘Oh,’ said Martha. The truth was, she loved to hear horse chatting away about long ago, and she no longer felt like bursting into tears.
‘Anyone can help change the world,’ announced Horse.
‘I can’t,’ said Martha.
‘Certainly, you can,’ insisted Horse.
There was a long silence. ‘I suppose I could pull along a lawn mower.’
‘There you are then,’ said Horse.
‘I could give a friend a ride on my back?’ said Martha.
‘Yes, true, but there are other ways to change the world,’ said Horse.
Quite suddenly, Martha found her voice: ‘Not throw rubbish on the floor!’ she said, ‘Be kind to people who are unhappy. Volunteer to help at school!’
‘Well yes indeed Martha,’ said Horse, impressed.
‘Miss Ajala said in our class,’ said Martha.
‘Miss Ajala sounds like a World Changer,’ said Horse.
‘Not be bossy and mean at playtime.’ This was said with some feeling.
‘Good,’ said Horse.
‘Put the right stuff in the re-cycle bin, not leave the tap running, give away some of my toys.”
Horse waited for a pause. ‘Now, would you like to tell me what’s upsetting you?”
‘Well,’ said Martha. It was surprisingly easy now to speak about her fight in the playground. Perhaps she’d go over to her friend and suggest a different game to play. Maybe she could be a world-changer too: like Horse with her horse power.