Once upon a time there was a wild mustang, named Shadow for her unusual, but beautiful pigment, a dark gray with black points at her legs, and ablack mane and tail. She loved to gallop through fields and prance up and
down the stream that rushed down from the mountain. She was a proud horse and often very bossy to the other mares.
When she was about two years old, still a filly learning the ways of the world, several rabid wolves attacked her mother, and she died. Now hermother, or dam in the horse world, was the lead mare of the herd. So naturally, this young filly thought she would be instructed to take over her mother’s position as lead mare. However, things don’t work that way in a herd. The second in command would take the lead mare position and choose a new second in command. In this case the mare whose name was Blossom - a good natured red roan mare of six years, chose Shadow the young filly, so she could be trained into the leader Blossom knew she could be.
But things would not go as planned. As the years progressed, Shadow kept getting pushed down deeper in the chain until she reached the bottom.
This saddened Blossom very much, for she knew there was greatness in store for the foal of her closest friend. So she started giving lessons to Shadow, and eventually she began to progress in not being as bossy and sassy as she used to be. Then slowly, but steadily, she worked her way back up to second in command, and eventually Blossom gave up her position to Shadow, who became lead mare, with Blossom as second once again.
At the same time Shadow was learning her manners from Blossom, there was a crippled old man who attended the farm animal auction in town every month. He had a good-sized barn that he wanted to use for a horse, for company and to strengthen his crippled legs.
Every month he was disappointed with what he saw, but still he kept going, hobbling around the auction barns looking at the horses and trying to get a feel for what he wanted. He didn’t really know what he was looking for,
but he had a feeling he would know when he saw it.
On this particular day, some of the wranglers from one of the big ranches on the edge of town had roped some mustangs. The old man was looking around the barn, and then he heard a friendly greeting. He turned around
and saw the most beautiful horse he had ever seen! It was dark gray with black points, and a black mane and tail, which stood about fifteen hands high.
Right away he knew this was the one he had to have. But there was a down side to this; it was one of the wild mustangs. How in the world would he tame it, let alone ride? But for some odd reason, he thought he would be
able to handle it. He would buy it, see if he could tame it, and if he couldn’t, he’d find a way to let the beautiful mustang back into freedom.
Oh, I feel so terribly alone! I was not used to being cooped up in a stall. I was bored, I started cribbing.After a few minutes of chewing on the stall door, I heard footsteps down at the other end of the barn. I looked up and saw an old man looking at one of the horses across the aisle.
I nickered a friendly greeting, and the man turned around. He saw me and looked thoroughly at me. I bobbed my head as if to say, “Come and scratch me!”
He laughed at my little gesture. He hobbled over to my door, and reached around my head to scratch my neck. I closed my eyes and let out a contented sigh.
”Well, you certainly are friendly. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Earl Hilton. I come to the auction every month in search of a beautiful, friendly horse like yourself.”
I was flattered; I had never received any human praise or compliments before. It felt wonderful to be called beautiful and friendly.
“Now I wonder what your name is.” He looked at the clipboard that hung on the outside of her stall that told her name, height, age, gender, and coloring. He scanned the paper, but there was no name.
Earl laughed, “Well, I guess they couldn’t think up a good enough name for you, huh?” He thought for a moment, “I guess if I’m going to buy you, I might as well think up a name for you. Any suggestions?”
I panicked. A new name? I liked my name just fine, thank you. I quickly tried to think of a way to tell Earl what my name was. It just so happened that the light was coming in the barn just right, and it cast a shadow of Earl. I nudged him to get his attention, and then bobbed my head towards the shadow.
“Yeah, it’s a shadow. Haven’t you ever seen a shadow before? Just kidding, I know you’ve seen shadows…” He stopped talking and stared at me with awe.“You’re a wonder to behold, girl. Are you telling me your name is Shadow?”
I nodded my head dramatically, and then raised my lip in a horse “laugh” that can mean “du-uh.” Earl threw his head back and laughed, “That’s a right good name for beautiful animal like you!”
“Excuse me, sir,” said someone rather sharply. “I need to get this mare out to the ring.” I looked behind Earl, and he turned around. Neither of us noticed that a man had walked up.
“Her name is Shadow, Frank.” His reply was almost as curt as Frank’s statement.
“Shadow? Did you come up with that silly name?” He laughed.
“No, she told me.”
“She told you?” He burst out laughing.
Earl turned his back on the man and whispered in my ear, “I’ll see you in the ring, and then you’re coming home with me.” Then he walked off.
Once Frank had finished his laughing he grabbed a lead rope and clipped it onto my halter and led me out to the auction ring.
“Next we have a beautiful, five year old wild mustang. She’s as pretty as they come.”
Frank led me into the ring, and I started prancing in place. He jerked on the rope, which just made me more nervous, and I started rearing.
“A little high strung, ain’t she? All right, who’ll start the bidding at $1,000?”
Earl raised his hand.
A young woman in a cowboy hat raised her hand. The bidding went on up to $5,000, until it was just Earl and the young lady.
“$5,500?” The auctioneer looked at Earl, and he nodded.
“$6,000” He turned to the young lady, she shook her head. “Anyone? Anyone? Going once, going twice, SOLD! To the man in the back! Come claim your prize.”
Earl got up and hobbled to the front of the crowd. Entering the ring, he walked slowly toward me. Once I saw him, I settled down. Frank handed over the lead rope and leaned in to Earl and whispered, “You’re a fool to take
on this wild animal, Earl!”
“I’ll manage.” With that, he paid the auctioneer, took me over to his truck and trailer, and loaded me up.
*****Earl eventually was able to ride Shadow for a short time, and it strengthened his legs a lot. So much actually, that he was able to walk with just a little limp. After owning her for six years, he noticed that Shadow looked sad. Her ears lopped out to the sides and she didn’t have as much of her usual spunk. So one day, he took a truck ride down to the fancy ranch that had taken Shadow from her herd and asked where they had found her. He drove back feeling sad, but lighthearted at what he must do.
Shadow was never more grateful in her life! Earl had found her herd and brought her back to it. She still took a weekly trip with her herd to his house to visit, and soon he had made friends with even the shyest of the horses. A year later she came back with a young colt at her side to give to her old friend, to be his companion to the end of his days.
(Assignment for Lesson #3 - Adjectives)
If you are between the ages of 12-18,
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