Once upon a time, there was a little girl. A little girl and a white horse.
(Unfortunately, this tale does not involve a prince who rode the white horse, but alas).
The girl had stood to admire the horse, when it shared with her its secret.
You see, this white horse might have been awfully pretty in the girls’ eyes. But where the horse was from, he was just another white horse. In the land of white horses, the white horse felt plain, self-conscious and not at all special. The girl could not believe her eyes! How could a creature this amazing think itself to be plain! Didn’t the horse see how elegant and magnificent it were?
The horse nodded. He did see all those things now. But it wasn’t until after the horse had tried to change everything about the way he looked, that he would realize how what the girl said was true.
‘When I was a young horse, I did silly things’, the beautiful horse admitted with his head down. ‘I did silly things to stand out from the other white horses.
I wanted to feel special. So I prayed and I prayed to be given wings’.
The horse was shocked that one day, indeed, he awoke with wings.
The horse paraded around town. Horses from everywhere came to touch his wings and stare at him in awe. The horse felt wonderfully special. Finally, he thought. But only after a few days the attention wore off. The other horses went back to their day to day business and the horse, too, had to continue his doings. At night, the horse continued to pray. Oh, couldn’t he be granted greater wings? Wings that, whenever and wherever, would never fail to amaze people, however often they would see him?
Only few mornings after, he was stunned to find his wings to have grown.
Now they were of size to -for sure!- be undeniable. The horse went out again to strut around. Indeed, the response of his fellow white horses did not let him down. He, again, felt like the most special horse the land of white horses had ever known.
Until again, after a few days business returned to usual. And the white horse found himself awake at night again, his mind fluttered with images of wings larger than life. When he finally fell asleep, his prayers had again resumed. Oh, could he be given wings that would be larger than he could possibly imagine?
Later that week, the horse awoke painfully so. When he turned his head, he found, attached to his back, wings so large, they took up all of his sleeping space. The horse carefully arose, and hurried into town.
Everyone agreed; The horses’ new wings were the grantest and greatest wings anyone could have ever imagined. But with every step the horse took, he felt more and more self-conscious. The horses no longer just stared at him in awe, but they started to ask questions. Could he now run faster than any other horse? Could he now fly?
After a few days of practice the horse was sad to find out he could not. His new wings were too large to be of any help. They were heavy and painful on his back, they were uncomfortable to rest in his small sleeping space, and they were impractical in his day to day doings. Even playing with his friends and family had now become practically impossible due to the size of his wings.
The other horses ridiculed him. The horse stood out so much, yet he had no special powers over the others. The horse could do no special tricks. After only a few days, the horse silently cried himself to sleep. Oh how he longed to go back to his normal self, so he could enjoy the company of his close loves again.
After a few uncomfortable nights of solitary tears, the horse awoke feeling like a heavy weight had lifted from his shoulders. Or, were he to say, back. The horse was extatic to see that the large wings on his back had miraculously disappeared. He galloped into town, jumping and dancing and wiggling about. ‘Freedom!’, he felt. Freedom! He may now no longer stood out from the rest, but he did feel at peace with what, where and who he was.
The horse looked at the girl, who stood next to him in disbelief. ‘It is not having wings that makes you more special. It is not having wings that makes you feel free’. He took a deep breath. ‘Feeling special or being free is not physically visible. Feeling special and feeling free comes from within’, he whispered. ‘We are exactly what, where and who we are supposed to be’.
When the horse gently nudged his soft nose onto the little girls’ cheeck, she woke to find herself in her bed, with the friendly face of her mother hovering over her head. ‘It is time to wake up, beautiful girl’, she smiled at her. And it was the first time the girl felt her mothers’ words to be true deep within.
*Original white horse picture by photographer Cornelie Tollens. Wings and words by me.