Mystical white horse in the sky watching three horses crossing the river.

The Moonlit River

She was old, and tired. Her warm breath puffed silvery vapors against the cold air in her stall. The healing stones hung dull and lifeless in her limp mane, sent to her from a friend in months past. I recalled she had told me to soak them in running water, on a moonlit night to regenerate them. Maybe in time, those stones would heal my pony’s bad foot. Nothing else I had tried had worked the magic I so longed.

I quietly left the barn, and followed the hoof prints of her pasture mate in the moonlight, toward the indigo river which split the night.

My feet crunched through the ice newly frozen on the browned pasture grass. The night was chilly, but thankfully the air was calm. I inhaled the scent of the earth as it enveloped me, and gazed for a moment at the winter sky. It shone onyx black, hung with glistening stars and embellished with a near perfect moon. The atmosphere around me lay sleepily silent, as my pony did in the barn, anticipating my return.

I clutched the healing stones tightly to my heart, and followed the sound of the stream as it cascaded into the dark abyss below, searching for the perfect spot. An unseen whippoorwill called out to me in the night, perhaps waiting patiently for the butterflies of a new season to rise once again.

I meandered across the waterfall, and gazed at the rocks below, shimmering my reflection against the wavy waters in the moonlight. The stream ran perfectly clear as it journeyed undaunted through the river stones, as my pony had in years gone by. Its inhabitants lay unseen beneath in sleepy slumber, waiting to awaken come the breath of spring’s golden glow.

I mouthed words of hope, then tied a string to the little gems, and gently dropped them into the flow. I watched in peaceful tranquility as the frigid water churned and tossed them to a glistening shine. They were one with the river again, from whence they had come.

I left as quietly as I had arrived, leaving nature’s gentle beauty undisturbed in its winter slumber.

The moon guided me back across the river, and led me up the frosty bank. The hoof prints I had followed in moments past materialized into a pony, her tail frozen with ice from her journey across the brook before me.

My mission was done. I laid my hand across her shimmering mane, and we walked as one back to the warmth of the barn, to hold vigil together with our ailing friend.

Their beauty speaks to me in silence, their eyes are shining diamonds of faith. Their aura of life will beam brightly come morn, their hearts will beat with the coming joy of a new dawn, as the sun slowly rises on their horizon of hope.

For they are the creatures of our mother earth, to be protected and cherished, until the ticking hands of time gently lays claim to their immortal souls.

And perhaps one day, they will be that spring butterfly I see dancing about in the morning light, its wings gently beating their sing-song to me, whispering they have arrived once again from the heavens above.

* This story is dedicated to Deb Deemers at:

~ Shelley Madden ~
<shellmadde at>
Copyright © 2011

Shelley Madden is a short story author who resides in Wise County, Texas. She enjoys raising poultry and ponies on her small farm. Please email Shelley and let her know what you think of her story.

[ by: Shelley Madden, Copyright © 2011, ( shellmadde at ) -- submitted by: Shelley Madden ]

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