The Fire Horse
It is said that up in the Australian mountains, there is a horse with a mane and tail made of fire. This stallion owns the most beautiful herd in the world. His mares all have golden, cream or silver coats.
Several brumby hunters have recorded sightings of this mysterious stallion, but none can ever find it. It is said that the Fire Horse knows all the secret grounds right over the mountains, ones that man cannot see.
The fire stallion never used to made of fire. He was once a golden horse, with the beautiful herd that no man could ever find. But the Fire Horse was a curious horse and one day his curiosity got the better of him. He went wondering into the man's camp, and his mane and tail caught on fire. It was unusual, usually the horse might have died or its mane be entirely gone, but the fire horse just stayed fire. His red, orange and yellow colours blazing out behind him in the sun and during the night. Whenever he ran, it looked like his mane and tail were streaming out behind him, in a never-ending blaze.
The Fire Horse was named after the night he was born on; his name was Storm. As he grew up from a foal, his name seemed to match him perfectly. When he neighed, it sounded like the thunder from a thunderstorm. Storm had one best friend who had come to the herd with her mother after the herd leader Werrian won a battle with another stallion Razzie.
It was a late, windy night when Werrian returned after his tiresome battle. With him he bought two healthy looking mares. One bay and one chestnut, both of which had foals. He also brought with him a tired looking cream, with a foal that resembled her mother perfectly. This foals name was Sundance, because the sun danced upon her coat. Storm, was curious, even as a foal, so he slowly wandered over towards the mare and her foal, even though his mother Chilli was calling him back urgently. When he reached them, he snuffed Sundance and his mum, then nickered his greeting then trotted back to Chilli. Chilli cantered over worriedly and led Storm away.
Storm looked over towards Sundance and gave her a silent nickname, Sunny. He whinnied to her and she whinnied back. That night none of the horses slept well, and when daylight came, all of them were awake, except Sundance's mother. She had died during the night. Sundance was standing over her dead mother's body, nuzzling her, saying "wake up, it's time to get up."
Storm walked over to her and greeted her. Then he turned around and took a few steps then turned his head and said to Sundance
"Come with me, my mother will feed us both." And with that, Storm turned and trotted back to his mother. Sundance looked torn when Storm turned to face her. She was deciding whether to leave her dead mother and join Storm, or to stay with her mother, despite her being dead. Eventually she decided to join Storm. She wandered slowly over, looking back at her mother all the time. When she reached Storm, his mother welcomed her.
"It's nice to meet you Sundance. My name is Chilli. Storm will take you and show you his secret hideout." And with that she turned and walked over to her friend Mori, where she started grazing.
"Come on Sunny! I'm going to show you a really cool hideout. I love it because you can hide from Arrow, the really big steel grey foal over there." Storm started walking over to the forest. Sundance was following him nervously, but with each step becoming more excited.
"My mother used to hate me." Sundance confided in Storm,” I was rather small at birth and my mother was worried of what the herd would think of me. She would bite me and kick me and torture me for being so small. I was lucky she didn't kill me."
"It's all right now though Sunny, Chilli loves you, I can tell. Oh look, we've reached the first part of the hideout. It's bit damp in here, but otherwise it's fine. Just wait till we reach the end!" Storm led Sundance deeper and deeper into the tunnel. Eventually they saw a light a light at the end. Storm and Sundance walked towards it, until they were outside.
"Oh Storm it's beautiful! Sundance exclaimed. Storm had led her to a secret valley. The hills were made of the most luscious green grass that Sunny had ever seen. Running through the hills was a little stream with crystal clear water. Sundance walked over to it, dipped her head and took a sip.
"This is the best water I've ever tasted.” said Sundance.
"Isn't it the only water you've ever tasted?" teased Storm.
The foals romped and roamed over the hills for hours until Storm raised his head to the darkening sky.
"Quick Sunny, we must get home! A big storm is coming, I can feel it!" And no sooner had Storm said that, there was a deafening crack of lightning.
The two foals started galloping back home. Sundance was terrified; she had never heard anything like it before. Storm was talking to her, calming her down.
They ran like the wing, dodging boulders and trees. They trotted quickly and carefully through the tunnel because the floor was getting rather wet and slippery.
Once they got to the end of the tunnel, they started galloping towards the herd. Chilli was waiting anxiously for the pair. When they reached her she quickly said
"Come on quickly! We must reach higher grounds before the full front of the storm hits!" Chilli turned and started galloping up the hills. Storm started to follow her but realised that Sundance was to tired. He trotted back to her and urged her on.
"Come on Sunny, you can do it, I know you can!" Storm started leading Sundance slowly up the hill. The storm front hit just when they reached the top. Sundance started shaking, she was scared, but Storm talked her into a comfortable canter. They cantered together for what seemed like ages, until they caught up with the herd.
Chilli was waiting anxiously for them up at the hill. When she saw them coming she neighed anxiously to them.
" Hurry up! The storms here! We must find shelter quick! Follow me, and don't get left behind!" Chilli whirled around on her hind legs and started galloping towards the more rockier, dangerous part of the mountains.