Chapter One Jetetita
A huge moon hanging overhead cast a silken glow into the little gulley the old mare had chosen for her special moment; for she had known that it would come. And now the little foal lay damp and unmoving, cold in this strange new place "Come on my dear you must try" she said as she breathed her hot breath over the tiny baby. An ear moved and his little head bobbed up, eyes unseeingly open in the silver light that one day would be the colour of his coat. "That’s better, now come on" more urgently now "Come on dear, you must stand. I must be able to show them……." Her sad tired voice trailed off. "Come on dear" and again the hot breath moved passed the little fellows ear. Something stirred within him and a little magic from the night settled on his inert legs – a small struggle, then a bigger one. To his surprise these new legs lifted him towards the gentle voice in the silver light and he was up. Up near the magical creature that would love him and care for him for the few short precious, months they would have together.
Brown eyes as deep as pools filled with love bent over him and again the glorious warmth of her hot breath. "That’s it my son, now come, come" Nothing could take this wondrous creature away – nothing and somehow the foal found he could follow this creature of love and gentleness on the start of his path towards a new life and a new day.
The disk of the moon dropped low in the sky as the mare reached the safety of her sisterhood, her heard mates. And as they were enveloped in an inky darkness, on the plain below them the lights of Madrid glowed brighter as they always did just before the dawn. The waiting mares gathered around to admire the little fellow. "Beautiful Jetetita, just beautiful" The old mare stood shakily but she had one more duty to perform in her exhaustion. With the warmth of the accompanying mares surrounding them she nudged the little fellow towards her waiting milk as he staggered and tottered along her flank. At last he found this first gift that she had to offer him and grew stronger, as a new and golden light crept over the horizon, a fresh and golden day that flicked the dust and slowly lit the old mares sweating flanks. "There my dear we are safe now" and content, she fell asleep surrounded by her sisterhood that stood and watched the precious new baby. Danilon.
With the dawn, came new warmth, slowly reviving the old mare, as the herd stirred and became watchful. For with the dawn came the man in his truck, bouncing up the track form Madrid each morning, with his presents of Oats and Lucerne.
Oh wonderful Oats, Oats so crisp, they could almost see them now in their minds eye, rattling sharply in the half light into the open wooden trough, as he carelessly walked along emptying the rustling paper sack, the sweet smell drifting towards them in the dry morning air. The herd bustled purposely forward towards the troughs with little Danilon fearfully pressed against his old dams flanks as they were swept forward. Jetetita paused to nuzzle her new baby "Come my dear, stay close" but little Danni looked up with imploring eyes to his wondrous goddess that cared for him. The old mare sighed, she desperately needed the food but would not risk her precious baby, and she would have to wait. Her head hung a little lower as hunger bit at her belly but she did not move to follow the herd as the delicious oats rattled faster and faster into the manger. "Jetetita, Jetetita" called her pair companion Roseanna "you must eat" "I know but……….." Jetetita looked at the trembling foal. "Ah follow me - stay close" and the two old mares slowly reached the edge of the crush with little Danni wedged carefully between them "Now eat" said Roseanna and then the old bay mare with all the strength that she had learnt working with Carlos and the fighting bulls on the plains in her youth Roseanna lent her big scarred shoulders into the younger mares as Jetetita gratefully began to feed.
With each mouthful of the delicious golden oats, her blood stirred and her tired body gained in strength. She snatched one last mouthful before moving away to let her friend Roseanna eat the last. And only then, did her careful movements catch the watchful eyes of Carlos, who picked out the tiny new addition to the herd. "Why Jetetita, you have a foal after all – you old devil" and with that he stomped off, almost as stiff as the old horse to collect a headcollar from his pick up
Roseanna looked up from the last of her feed that she had so generously shared and whispered her farewell to her friend. "Grow strong for us little Danilon. - God speed". For She, Roseanna, had no foal to give this year and knew she would have to leave soon too - perhaps for the place of light beyond the stars……… and the time was coming very soon. But she was glad as she watched her old white friend and her little black son take her heart into the future.
And then the heavy gate clanged and Jetetita and Danilon (Danni) disappeared - to the place beyond the fence. The place of humans
The little enclosure Carlos prepared with fresh straw and water was heaven to Jetetita. For Carlos was a kind old man but rough, in the way that farmers are rough. Pushing and cajoling the horses from place to place with a stinging slap from his work worn hands or a gruff shout - but still, he would tenderly nurse the sick or injured horses and watch over the old ones, until their day came of course – for Carlos was a farmer and did what he was paid to do – rear young horses to be sold. But for now Jetetita had her heaven of easy food and shelter and time to spend with her new very special baby. Carlos dragged a stiff brush over her dusty white coat and she began to feel better. As she nuzzled and caressed Danni, she whispered the secrets that only horse know to him, day by day and into the night, telling him of many things between heaven and earth but keeping others for later…. Much later…..They slept side by side under the magic of the stars and Danni feasted on his mothers milk And Danni found his new inky black legs would carry him in tight little circle around his mother faster and faster until she begged him to stop and the dust hung heavily in a cloud in their pen. By the end of the week they were ready to go back to the herd – the mare with her head held proudly high and her smart black colt trotting strongly beside her. Only one mare wasn’t there to greet them - Roseanna. When had the lorry come to take her away? Was it as she chuckled over her new foal or slept blissfully beside him? A tiny tear formed in Jetetita’s heart that turned to light and went up to the stars - for such were the sorrows of the horse.
Such a summer above Madrid – such sounds in the air - the muffled roar of the traffic from the city below and the jet planes overhead – the snorts of the huge mysterious stallions that lived in the place beyond and the humans that became one with them to become centaurs.
The scents of the rosemary and sage carried sometimes on the wind, mixing with the dust and the human smell from the city, all carried on quiet currents that eddied through the horses’ lives and informed their days. Each gust, each echo, would bring them news of different things from beyond the horizon, things that the old mares remembered from past lives and whispered to the young ones.
Danilon cared not a bit for this as he discovered other little shapes that peeped out form behind their mother’s tails. A brotherhood of colts to race and wrestle with, to compete for the precious oats with and he travelled further from the old mare under the clear blue sky in a summer that would surely go on for ever.
Sometimes the humans came of course and Danni learnt to avoid Carlos’s stinging slaps and cross shouts. Quick and agile he avoided the blows and laughed at his assailant as he skipped nimbly away. Off to race and tussle with his brotherhood of colts or back for Jetetita warm milk. For Jetetita’s part she proudly watched as her young son grew strong and bold but as the days grew shorter she slowly grew more distant and aloof for she knew the time would fast come when Danni must leave her.
And Jetetita had a new secret, a new life to carry forward, if she could. For one day as Danni played with his brothers she had visited the magnificent stallion Official that Carlos brought to the fence each day. Arrogant and proud with a flying black mane flipping his magnificent form, he waited today and called to her. "You are beautiful my dear" in the gentle song of the horse "So Beautiful" "Pha" Said Jetetita "You are flattering me" pinning her ears flat back "I need a new son for next year" and they joined in time and it was so.
That night in the velvety darkness, Official listen intently from his stable, with his strong stallion sons stretching in rows through the barn beside him. His sons that would learn to carry the men in Dressage as the centaur – the horse’s art so subtle, that the slightest wrong flick of the tail could spoil it, thus he understood the purpose of horse and man.
This Dressage he had practised for many years and now his sons would learn and then they would go over the mountains beyond the horizon to the far places they could not know and they would have sons of their own. This was his wish he made to his star.
Slowly, the old stallion gently lowered himself to sleep in his soft bed of shavings. Sometimes he heard the sounds of his mares and new sons gently carry to him: The softest nicker or scuff of hoof in the dust, the whispers of the sweet mare’s song to their foals, his sons. And He was content and beyond in the inky darkness Jetetita nuzzled the sleepy Danilon and smiled at her secret as her new foal moved inside of her.
"Danilon" to the fleeting deaf ears as he raced away again to play "Danilon……." But Danilon’s heart was filled with adventures and so Jetetita waited until the darkness of the night. "Danilon my dear my sweet one - you are ready now" The strong little colt shook his handsome head "Ready for what" "Now you must leave me to run in the far plains" "You will chase the wind and have such adventures and one day you will be a fine stallion with mares of your own" "Oh no mama" "Yes my dear, it is time" and the old mare led him firmly towards the dawn and the waiting oats. But today it was different there were no oats in the waiting trough, no Carlos with his rustling bag. Instead the gate was open to the world beyond and new men pushed them artfully through. This was a new Carlos today, quicker and firmer, no longer easy to evade. In an instant the press of his mother against his shoulder and she was gone departing with her sisterhood through the choking dust and Danilon was alone.
Alone now with her sisterhood, Jetetita remembered her seven sons, slowly smiling as she counted them one by one - that is if a horse could smile….. and last she thought of Danilon, her little Danni "Yes, this one was very fine, the best" as she dropped her old head and caught her breath and her legs stopped running from something unimaginable. "Yes very fine – he would do well" but still a tear formed in her heart, became light and went to the stars. This one to light Danilon’s journey