Friday, February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Covenant
from "Boo & Zephyr:  The Good Road"

The Weaver brothers join Jared in his bowtop.  Earlier, they had left Beryl outside to sound a warning if anything were amiss.  Their conversation centered around Ossie’s disapproval of the dog being allowed inside the caravans.  Arlo explained to Jack that to Ossie, bringing a dog inside was as unthinkable as bringing in one of the horses would be.   All the animals were there for a purpose - to work or to be sold.  They were not to be fondled, fussed over or made pets of.  Jack objects to this, saying that Ossie worried over Kakaratchi like a mother hen if the horse got so much as a pimple.  They all laugh at this, but Arlo grew serious again and told them a story.  
Ossie had obtained Kakaratchi as a weanling, and the horse was everything he had dreamed of in a foundation sire for his little herd.  When he discovered that the horse could speak, he was angry and never answered Kakaratchi.  He took good care of the horse, but never had a kind word for him.  When Kakaratchi was grown something happened to change all that. 
 Ossie had lost his wife and family some years before, and as time went by he grew more and more bitter and withdrawn.  One day he harnessed the stallion to his wagon and ordered him to move off.  But Kakaratchi stood still and silent.  Nothing would move him.  At last Ossie’s temper gave way and he did something he had never done before.  Furious and swearing he beat Kakaratchi savagely and cursed him.  The horse was unmoved.  He never flinched and stood gazing at Ossie until the man was spent and threw down his whip.  Then Kakaratchi spoke.

“Now, old man, if you have poured out all the poison in your heart on me, listen to what I say.  I have served you well for four years, and done everything you have asked of me.  I have stood still gratefully while you cared for my feet and my coat, and I have offered you my friendship and my labor.  I have seen you grow apart from the world and watched as you grieved for the loss of those you loved.  I will watch no more.  If you wish to go on punishing yourself for the troubles that took away your family that is your affair.  But I am young and strong and my heart does not wish to be alone.  Take and return the friendship I offer you, or sell me to someone who wishes to live in life and share his happiness with those around him.  I will no longer labor in solitude for a dead man.” 

Ossie fell back from the horse and his words.  He turned and walked away.  For hours he walked and wept.  At last he returned to where the stallion waited, and removed his bit and bridle.  Climbing aboard the vardo he said to the horse, “Let us go on together, my friend.”  And Kakaratchi moved off, pulling the wagon.