My name is Jasha. I’m a cat. I have a nice, quiet life, and my mistress Sarah takes good care of me. Like every morning, she opened the door so I could go outside, and when I want to go back in, I sit on the window sill, she opens the door, and I go in. But that doesn’t count for now. I’m going to see Quana. A horse. On my way to the stables, two dogs were running about, chasing each other. There are two of them. Their names are Kamots and Akai. Two males. I was afraid of them at the first, since my mother had told me dogs are cruel creatures who chase after you and want to eat you, but after some months of observation, I saw that the dogs were intelligent and dumb at the same time. Sometimes they did things that were really clever. Making sure the cows don’t go away for example. But sometimes…You can’t imagine how stupid they are. They turn their heads and smash against a wall because they keep running. Or they fall over. Something that will never happen to me.
Quana, on the other hand, is very clever, and I often have interesting conversations with her, or she tells me stories. It’s very cozy and warm in the stables, so I often go there. Especially when it’s winter. I sleep in the hay most of the time, but sometimes you can find me in front of the fireplace, watching the flames licking the wood and dozing off occasionally.
“Hello Quana, did you sleep well?” I asked the old, gray mare with whom I had been friends ever since I came to this farm.
“I slept quite well, thank you. I had an interesting dream.”
“Do you want to tell me about it?”
“Alright.” Said Quana
“I can even turn it into a story if you like.”
I licked my left paw before I answered:
“Go ahead, I’m listening.”
I really wanted to hear the story. I loved to hear Quana telling stories, but I didn’t want her to think I was over-exited.
“Okay then.” She said, grinning.
“Once upon a time, there were two horses. A fine, white, pure bred stallion who thought himself very strong, and therefore very wise, which he really wasn’t. His name was Domero.
The second horse was a very old horse. Although he looked like an ordinary farm horse, beneath his brown coat was a very sweet, wise, loving creature. He was called Jack.
One day, when Jack was having a drink, Domero came trotting by. He held his head high and his ears forward. He was beautiful, and he knew it.
‘Hello there.’ He said
‘Good afternoon, sir.’ Said Jack politely
‘I don’t think I know you. My name is Jack.’
‘I’m Domero.’ Said the stallion, looking at poor old Jack as though he was a piece of filth. Then, suddenly, he got an idea. This weak, old pony should be quite easy to defeat in a race, so why not dare him?
‘What would you say about a race?’
‘Yes, a race.’ Said Domero, getting impatient
‘It will take three days. The start is here and the finish is at the border of the desert. You do know where that is don’t you?’
‘Yes, I know where it is, and I would be honored to race against such a magnificent stallion as yourself.’
‘Where shall we race for?’
‘Why? Do you really think there should be a prize?’
‘Well, why not? After all, it wouldn’t hurt, would it?’
‘I suppose not. What do you want to race for?’
‘Let’s just say that the loser will do anything the winner says. Agreed?’
Jack thought about it for a while, smiled, and agreed with Domero.
‘Okay, that’s settled then. We start tomorrow at sunrise.’
The next morning, Domero was already waiting when Jack came walking by silently.
‘Who will give the start signal?’ he asked
‘Let’s ask that cat over there.’ Said Domero
‘Hey you there!’”
I was shocked. How could anyone be so rude to a cat? A cat!
“That Domero wasn’t quite a nice guy, was he?”
“You’ll see.” Said Quana, smiling.
“The cat looked up.
‘What is it that you want of me, sir?’”
I was glad that the cat, at least, was polite. It would have been a nasty business if he would have been as rude as Domero!
“ ‘I want you to give us a signal so we can start our race!’
‘As you wish.’ Said the cat
‘I will climb in this tree, jump from it, and the moment my four paws touch the ground, the race will start. Agreed?’
‘Agreed.’ Said Domero and Jack.
The tabby cat climbed the tree, jumped down, and the race had started.
Domero ran as fast as he could, but Jack trotted silently, walking around, enjoying the countryside. The cat smiled and shook his head.
‘I’m sure you’ll make it, old fellow, just do what your heart tells you to.’
Jack inclined his head, to show the cat that he had understood, and trotted along.
The next morning, Domero’s feet hurt badly, and he had little stones in his hoofs, causing him terrible pain each time he put a foot on the ground. Around midday, he saw a little boy sitting on the ground.
‘Sir?’ asked he boy
‘What?’ snapped the stallion
‘Could you please carry me? I need to get home, my house is by the desert.’
‘Why should I carry you? You’ve got feet of your own, haven’t you?’
‘I have, but I fell off my donkey, and he ran away. I hurt my leg, and I can’t walk. Please help me!’
‘I’m not going to let a dirty little boy sit on my beautiful, shining coat. Forget it!’ And with that, he ran off again.”
“What a *******!” I yelled. I usually don’t like children, but this little boy really needed help, was it too much to ask for a lift?
“By nightfall” continued Quana
“Jack saw the little boy sitting on the floor, crying.
‘Where do you want to go?’ he asked
‘I need to get home, my house is by the desert.’ Sobbed the child.
‘You can come with me.’ Said Jack. After all, he wouldn’t be able to catch up with Domero, and a few hours more or less wouldn’t matter if he had already lost..
‘I need to go there anyway. Just climb on my back.’
‘I can’t, sir, my leg hurts!’
Jack laid himself down next to the boy, so he could get on his back. After a few minutes, the boy was fast asleep.
The third day, Domero got it really bad. He was hungry, thirsty, and his legs were killing him. Each step hurt. Each movement felt like something really heavy was thrown on his chest, hitting his lungs. A few yards in front of the finish, he collapsed. About half a day later, Jack came by, the little boy still on his back. Domero coughed. Jack walked to the finish, let the boy get off his back, and walked back to Domero.
‘So, my friend. I hope you learned your lesson. As promised, I suppose you will do anything I say now, won’t you?’
Domero coughed again.
“I will. Just let me get some water.’
‘Water? Where do you want to get water in a desert?’ said Jack, grinning
‘I do know a way to get you some water, but you’ll have to do what I say.’
‘Anything you want, just give me water!’
‘This boy here lives nearby, I’m sure he has some water for you, but you will have to carry him home, because he can’t walk.’
Domero let out a sigh and walked to the boy.
‘I’m sorry about earlier, this race has changed my vision of myself. I’m glad you won, Jack.’ He said.
‘I’m glad you said that. Your feet hurt, don’t they?’
‘They do, and I can’t get much air either.’ He coughed
‘Come here, I’ll carry the boy. You have lost the race, and you have learned your lesson. That is enough for today. Anyway, I didn’t really want you to do anything I say, so from now on, you’re a free horse again.’
Domero smiled weakly.
They brought the boy home, drank some water, and went back to where the start was. The tabby cat was still sitting on the same rock he has been when they had left. He smiled when he saw Jack and Domero talking to each other as old friends.
‘I guess he has learned his lesson now. I’m glad he did. He is such a fine horse, it would have been a shame if he would be spoiled by a self esteem that was too high.’ He thought.’
“What a story!” I said, licking my paws.
At that moment, Sarah came in.
“Here you are, Jasha, I’ve been looking for you all over! What are you doing in the stables anyway? Is Quana telling you stories?” She laughed and stroked my head. I purred, and grinned in myself. Humans could be so silly sometimes.