But one surreal day, the four children encounter grave danger, and they desperately need the horse they so brutally rebuked. They need The White Horse to save their lives.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The days passed quickly. Summer turned to fall, bringing cooler weather and shorter days. The boys returned to school, leaving Laura alone during much of the days. She would usually help her mother in the mornings, and then play by herself or with some of her friends in the early afternoons, while waiting for her brothers to return from school.
There was still a lot to do outside, even though the days were not as nice as they had been during the summer. She always liked to ride Prince through the fields and small hills that surrounded the farm and the house. Prince remained her favorite horse, but she noticed that his step was no longer so energetic, and that he was not as happy as he used to be. She thought she knew why. He was ashamed that he was the father of the white horse. He simply could not overcome his disappointment.
Then her thoughts turned to the white horse. He was growing up rapidly. He could now stand by himself and take short runs next to his mother. His gait was, of course, still a bit wobbly, and sometimes he fell. But, every day he grew a little stronger and quicker. He was always friendly and kind to her and her brothers. He seemed to like it when they were near him. She guessed that he would like them to play with him too, but they never did.
Neither she nor her brothers could bring themselves to love the white horse. He was too strange for them to look at. He had ruined their dreams of another beautiful black horse on the farm, and they were unable to forgive him for that. They understood that it was not his fault that he had been born white. Nevertheless, neither the children, their parents, nor even Prince and Tempra could overcome their feelings of disgust towards the white horse.
It was now the middle of November, and Laura knew that the white horse's days to remain on the farm were few. Her father had made plans to sell him shortly after Christmas. The white horse was to go to the farmer down the road, who would use him to pull the milk cart into town. The farmer was not a nice man, and he had no children. But it did not seem to matter, since no one would love the white horse, anyway.
The white horse, too, was sad. He realized that his skin was a different color from that of his parents, and that he was not as beautiful or as strong as were either they or the other horses he had seen. Yet his feelings were the same as those of any horse. He, too, wanted to be loved by the children and to play with them. He tried very hard every day to show them he loved them, and that he would enjoy giving them rides to wherever they wanted to go. He never succeeded, however, to make them understand how he felt. They hardly ever came close enough to him so that they could see the sadness in his eyes. They continued to reject him, day after day.
Even his parents gave him the impression that they did not want himthat he was a disappointment to them. His mother had cared for him well enough while he was small; but now that he could walk and run on his own, she spent little time with him. His father spent most of his time giving rides to the children and helping Lucas with the farm work. Only rarely did his father allow the white horse to accompany him around the farm. His father did not teach him how to do things such as to pull the family cart or to give rides to the childrenthings that the white horse had seen other horses his age learn from their fathers.
Indeed, each of the white horse's days was filled with sadness. The lack of love and acceptance from those around him who he loved weighed heavily upon the young horse, so that at times he felt that his heart would break. It just did not seem right that he should suffer so much simply because he was white instead of black. After all, it was not his fault that he had been born this way.
How much he wanted to help his father, to give rides to the children, and to play a part in the activities of the farm! How much he longed for the chance to prove himself worthy of their affection and attention! "Maybe one day I will have a chance to prove myself," he thought to himself many times.
He knew, however, that this was unlikely. He had heard the others talk about his sale soon after Christmas to the other farmer. He would then have to leave his parents and the four children, all of whom he had grown to love, despite their rejection of him.