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The Name of a Horse

(c) 2019 Daniel Dunn

On a typical day, one usually has has no trouble remembering their own name. Some do, but they are generally in no condition for a desert quest.

On a typical desert journey, you don't just randomly let your horse run away. Some might, but never with smiles on their faces.

For a typical person, a long journey with someone is a bonding experience, and one would wish to know the names of one's companions. Some might not, but they have little interest in deserts and names and horses anyway.

It was the first day and there he was. Or perhaps she, for the legends speak not of this. But the horse, or something very like a horse was there all the same.

The man(Or woman, as the case may be, for again the story speaks not on this) had seen many things. Some in the common way, as one sees the fruit upon the tree or the wall that they shall soon stumble into.

Some in yet another common way, as one sees the sorrow on the face of another, although sorrow itself is still a thing unseen.

But other things he did not see in the common way, for he had seen things few dared even to look for, the things that all wise men cast away as the stuff of storybooks. The storm that lives in every seashell. The story in every grain of sand. The whisper of all the sky and the low drumbeat deep within the ground.

He had seen all these things because he knew where to look for them. Not where in the common sense, like the third tree by the fourth mountain or seven minutes north of the old bridge. Where in the rare sense, for he knew that these things and more yet unseen lived within all and everything.

But he did not see these within the horse. No tale of ancient roads or endless fields marked his hooves and no songs of saddles and stables left their mark upon his back.

This did not surprise him. All who have traveled even an inch learn to hide these things, to one measure or another. That he saw nothing meant that this horse had gone farther on his well worn feet than most go even in dreams.

But he did not see these things within himself either. He could tell you where he was yesterday, a season, or a year ago, but only in the common sense. He could not see how the waters of the streams he crossed.

This was not the way of things, for seldom does one who has walked so many miles learn hide so much from himself.

And so he followed the horse. He did not know where he was going, but whatever fear the many dangers of his travels has left were all hidden from him.

Together they saw many things, in both the common and the deeper sense. They came upon a riverbed and within it he saw a thousand stories of lives lived and lost beneath the water.

And for just one moment, he saw the marks of silent respect each left upon the horse.

And at the end of nine days, which is three times three, as a thanks he whispered his own name, close to his companion’s ear where none else could hear, and walked away.