The Black Stallion
|July 8, 2010||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Let’s say you’ve been living on an island and I have never read the 1941 “The Black Stallion” by Walter Farley.
Similar to trying to explain what oatmeal was to the Japenese college roommate (it’s delicious I swear!), the conversation might go like this….
“Ummm….it’s about a boy getting shipwrecked and being saved by a horse and they are on a deserted island. And he tames it. And rides it around the island at a gallop without a bridle or saddle. And then they get rescued…..and they run this race and….Hey, where are you going!? It’s good I swear!”
Because honestly, let’s face it, in less than 200 pages we have a shipwreck, the taming of a wild stallion, and a winning horse race. And let’s not forget, a boy jockey that seems to fall unconcious at the drop of a hat.
Not to mention a whole ‘nother host of equal improbabilities and cringe-worthy information such as:
- It’s possible to have a “special relationship” with a horse, such that you can become a world class jockey in less than 200 pages. (and your special horse will not kill you or otherwise harm you).
- Stallions fight to the death.
- A hot or nervous horse that is given water will colic
- It’s appropriate for a young kid to own an unbroke stallion.
- It’s appropriate to show up with your unbroke stallion and ask your parents to pretty please keep it, so you go across the street and plunk it in a broken down stall that needs repairs.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to let your stud act like an idiot around other horses (and people) because “that’s his nature”.
And yet, 180 pages into the book, as Alec flies around the track, I’m STILL teary eyed as love conqueres all and victory is won – every single time I read the book (which is a lot, as I read The Black Stallion as my first chapter book when I was 5 years old or so).
Why is it that I forgive Walter Farley’s fantastical details, with a smile and an eye roll, where with another author I might become so irritated I might not be able to finish the book and quite possibly make rude comments with a pencil in the margins?
Is it because Walter Farley alone manages to capture the spirit of the horse so accurately that all else if forgiven? That he comes the closest to describing the relationship I have and the way I feel about my horses?
For those of you that aren’t aware, Farley is named in honor of Walter Farley, and Minx was a tribute to the Black Stallion’s filly, named Black Minx.
How many countless children (and adults) has W. Farley inspired? Among the “gee whiz’s” and “golly’s” of a bygone era there’s a kernal of the essense of what it is to love horses. Do yourself a favor and let yourself get lost in the fantastical world of the Black Stallion. You won’t be dissapointed.