Snowdrop and I
Emma, Age 9, Largo, FL

I was riding my horse, a snow-white Arabian named Snowdrop, through the forest. It was the first time that I had ever actually owned a horse, because the previous weeks I had just been taking riding lessons. Now that I owned my very own horse, I had pleaded for mom to allow me to ride her out to the forest for the day. She had said no at first, but seeing the disappointed look on my face, she consented and I was allowed to go, if I was back before dark. I promised I would be, and rode Snowdrop away.

I had been lost in thought, and wasn’t paying attention to where we were going. After a while, I noticed that I did not recognize my surroundings at all. I halted Snowdrop, and wondered whether or not I should turn back and have Snowdrop go the way we had come, but soon my curiosity and daredevil spirit got the better of me.

Snowdrop and I explored the area, and it wasn’t long before we came upon a thick woods. It was not the forest that was close to our house, of that I was sure. But, that did not stop me. I rode Snowdrop into the woods, and when we had traveled a little ways inside, I let Snowdrop have her head. She and I were having tons of fun. That is, until I found that we were lost deep inside the woods. “Oh, no, Snowy, we’re lost!” I cried. The sun was setting, and I was afraid of the dark. I felt sure that if we weren’t out of there before it got dark, wild wolves or some other creature would come and gobble Snowdrop and I all up.

I was worried, trying to figure out what to do, when a voice startled me. It said “Great! You’ve got us lost now. I knew I shouldn’t have listened to your directions.” I looked down. The voice seemed to be coming from Snowdrop. Worrying about my sanity, I asked “Snowdrop, you can talk?!?” Snowdrop turned her head to look at me and said “Of course I can.” Then she turned her head away. “You are pretty dumb to not know that.” I was taken aback, surprised at what Snowdrop had just said to me. She’s not red-headed, I thought, but she sure does have a quick temper. I think she should be named Sassy instead of Snowdrop. As if reading my thoughts, Snowdrop said “I don’t have a quick temper. I’m just surprised that you don’t know that I can talk.” A thought struck me. “Can other horses talk, too?” Snowdrop nodded her head. “Yes, all horses can talk. But only in dreams, like this one.” I was shocked. Even though I just discovered that Snowdrop could talk, it had all seemed so real to me. “What do you mean, ‘in dreams like this one'?” I asked. “This isn’t a dream.” Snowdrop said “Yes it is. This is only a dream. When you wake up I’ll be mute as a rock. So, if there is anything that you want to ask me, you need to do it now.”

There were so many things that I had wanted to ask Snowdrop, but now that the opportunity came, I couldn’t think of anything. Finally I thought of something. “Do you ever miss your mother, or your siblings?” I asked. Snowdrop was quiet for a moment. Then she finally responded. “Sometimes I do. My…my whole family died in…” she sighed. I could tell that this was very hard for her to talk about. “My whole family died in a fire. I was…well, I was the only survivor. I was found and captured after a while. I was sold to a person who made me work all day. He would not allow me to rest at all. My body was soon covered with deep cuts from his whip. He never even cared for those wounds. I was able to escape, so I fled to the hills. Finally, when I was just about ready to give up, a young woman took me in and nursed me back to health. She was very good to me, and I would have liked to stay with her, but I couldn’t because I wasn’t legally hers. Long story short, I eventually ended up at the horse stables at that ranch that where you bought me.”

I was very touched by her story. “Oh, dear, Snowdrop, I’m so sorry.” Snowdrop suddenly seemed to realize that she had been sentimental. “Well, nothing can be done about it now,” she said stiffly. Even though she was rough and sometimes mean, I knew that deep down inside, she was a very sentimental horse.

“So, do you have any more questions?” she asked slightly impatiently. “Do you know a way out of here?” I asked hopefully. I couldn’t see Snowdrop’s face, but I could tell that she was rolling her eyes. “Of course I don’t know a way out of here. I’ve never BEEN here before. I had been hoping that you knew a way out!” she cried. I huffed, forgetting my sympathy for her. “Well, do you know what we should do?” I asked. Snowdrop didn’t answer me. “SNOWDROP, ANSWER ME! ARE YOU THERE? HELLO!” I cried angrily as I jumped off her back. I stood in front of her and started shaking her.

Then, my eyes opened, and I realized that I was shaking my pillow.

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