hintsandthings.co.uk »Nursery

A heart warming story about a horse at Christmas


Sent in by Linda Hagar

white horse looking over stable door

The young couple had
made their usual hurried, pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly
parents with their small herd of horses. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm because of
the huge pine which topped the hill behind the farm, and through the years had become a
talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside.

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, but
they sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning
and contentment at day’s end. Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young couple
confronted the old folks. “Why do you not at least dispose of “The Old
One”. She is no longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve had foals from
her. You should cut corners and save where you can. Why do you keep her anyway?” The
old man looked down as his worn boot, scuffed at the barn floor, and his arm stole
defensively about the Old One’s neck as he drew her to him and rubbed her gently behind
the ears. He replied softly, “We keep her because of love. Only because of

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry
Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley. So it was,
that because of the leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed
wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the “Old One”. In
a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the
loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to
call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were
roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground helpless
before the fire’s fury. By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing
ruins were left, and the old man and his wife. They thanked those who had come to their
aid, and the old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as he
clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, “We have
lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us, therefore, climb
the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look
down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared.”

And so, he took her by the hand and helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside
his own tears with the back of his hand. As they stepped over the little knoll at the
crest of the hill, they looked up and gasped in amazement at the incredible beauty before
them. Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the
glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly
candles. And poised on its top most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun
glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. Suddenly, the old
man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward. There, beneath
the tree, was their Christmas gift. Bedded down about the “Old One” close to the
trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed
the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great
dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping daintily through the
snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at
the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips
and hopped like rabbits. The mares pressed uneasily against the “Old One” as she
moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and
gazed at the faces of those she loved. Her body was brittle with years, but the golden
eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift-Because of love. Only Because of