When the Horses Come

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My Grandpa, he always liked to tell tall stories. His eyes used to light up, his big hands used to wave around. Often he would jump up and shout when it got to the big finale. When he told me, about the horses, I never expected it to be real; not at first.

He said Forty of them died. On the same day; July the 14th. There was a forest fire. The forest never grew back; it's been a desolate plain, for a hundred years. There's still only a handful of farmhouses here. Ours is just about the oldest one.

Once a year, Grandpa would say, "well, it's July 14th! Them horse's gonna be here soon!" and sure enough a wind would pick up outside strong enough to make everyone stay inside for the best part of the day.

It was July 14th my brother died;1845. He was seven years old, I was nine.

He was a good kid; Smart, and funny and real good at sports. "You're gonna be a champion one day John!" my Pa would tell him, "just like your Pa."

Pa was a champion once. Grandpa used to say, "Your pa could run faster than the wind!"

And me, I liked to write, stories. But no one in my family liked to read them. Truth is, I know now, that I ain't no good at telling them, except this one, but then I got a lot of practice over the years.

They all loved my brother John; Ma, Pa, Gran and Grandpa, even the neighbours. Reckon soon as he was born, they forgot I was there. If I had been one of them I reckon I might have done the same thing.

"You got some kind of streak in ya!" Ma used to say, "Somethin' wrong about you boy!". That's what I got for stayin' in my room making up stories, I guess.

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