Monday, March 1, 2010

Voices in the Moonlight

Emma's school had a story telling festival a week or so ago. She was insistent that the story she told be an original. Since I have absolutely no writing capabilities (I can barely spell for heavens sake!) I asked my mom, who is ultra talented in this area to help us out. She wrote this beautiful story for Em that I wanted to share.

Emma, here is your story. I had fun writing it for you. I thought of you when I made the character Ella. She looks like you and is very sweet like you. I love you. Hope you enjoy it.


Voices in the Moonlight

A story written for Emma

Ella lay very still beneath her heavy covers. The lights were out now and all she could hear was the rhythmic breathing of the girls on either side of her. The head-mistress of her boarding school had just made the last night rounds and she could hear the faint clicking of her heels as she walked toward her quarters at the end of the long, arched hallway. When Ella heard the door lock into place, she knew she was safe to carry out her plan.

Her feet quietly slid from under the covers directly into the waiting boots beside her bed and as she stood, Ella shoved her pillow down into the center of her bed and plumped it to take on a human form. Her trousers were just barely visible beneath the ruffled hem of her flannel nightgown and this was the reason that Ella had been the first into bed this evening.

She could feel her heart pounding in her throat as she pulled on her heavy winter coat and tip-toed toward the only door out of the large dormitory room. She stuck her head out and looked quickly in both directions and then darted across the hall. Ella perched atop the wide polished banister and glided safely to the bottom of the tall flight of stairs. She was almost out of the school when a light flipped on upstairs. With both of her palms against the cold plaster walls, she waited without moving one single muscle and as soon as the light went back out she quietly slipped out the back door into the frosty winter air.

The snow crunched beneath her boots as she headed for the stable. This had become a nightly adventure for Ella since the day that Mr. de Leyer, the riding master had first brought home the old gray horse. She had been the first to suggest the name Snowflake since his thick gray fur was covered by the falling snow. Ella had tried once or twice to tell the others just how special Snowflake was but no one seemed to listen they had even laughed at her. She was sure no one would believe her now, not even her best friend Rachel.

Mr. de Leyer had let Ella help with feeding Snowflake and cleaning out his stall. She carried fresh straw to make the stall clean and fresh. Sometimes the riding master even let Ella give Snowflake an extra handful of oats to chew on. As she approached the stall door, she reached in her pocket and pulled out the carrot she had saved from dinner. Ella didn’t even flinch when she heard the deep voice say, “Hello.”

“Hello to you too! I could have been caught tonight; I think someone heard me,” she said.

“I’ve been waiting. The moonlight is so beautiful. I can’t wait to go for a ride.” Snowflake’s deep and gentle voice soothed Ella’s nerves and she ran her hand down his long, furry side. Ella had stopped wondering why she was the only one that Snowflake talked to. She knew that she was special—just like him.

Ella grabbed the bridle from the rusty hook on the wall. Snowflake lowered his head so she could easily pull it up over his ears and buckle it. She threw the reigns over his tall neck and pushed the overturned grain bucket close to him. In one leap Ella hung across Snowflake’s back and then threw her leg over his massive body. Snowflake used his nose to nudge the stall door open and walked quietly until he reached the edge of the nearby field. Ella grabbed the hair at the base of Snowflake’s mane and pressed her boots into his sides as he gracefully loped across the field and headed straight for the log fence that marked the edge of the school’s property. Ella wasn’t even nervous as the fence came closer and closer. That was because she knew talking wasn’t the only thing that Snowflake could do.

In an instant, the giant gray horse’s front feet left the ground and they were flying through the air. Ella looked down to see the log fence far below Snowflake’s belly. “Wow Snowflake, I think you jumped even higher tonight.”

“It’s because you believe in me Ella. I can do anything that you believe I can do. That’s why you hear my voice—its there for everyone, they just don’t listen for it.” Snowflake’s trotting slowed now and he came to rest at their favorite spot next to the tall tree on the small hill in the middle of the beautiful New York countryside. He turned his head back and looked at her with one eye. “From the very beginning, you ignored the ugly scars on my legs and my dull coat. You looked right past them and saw the sparkle in my eyes. You even tried to tell them I could jump. Some day they will see me fly over the fences; some day maybe they will see me as you do,” Snowflake said in his deep almost musical voice.

“Oh Snowflake, I love you!” Ella said as she hugged his warm, furry neck from where she sat. “We better get back now before I am missed.” She gathered the reigns in her gloved fingers and pressed her heels into his sides again and they galloped toward the fence again. Ella breathed in the frigid night air as Snowflake bounded over the fence and gracefully landed without even jolting her one little bit. She hugged her legs tight around him as he ran for the stable.

When Snowflake’s fur was smoothed and his bridle hung back on the hook, Ella turned and kissed him gently on the soft tip of his nose and she giggled as one of his whiskers tickled her. “Good night Snowflake. I love you,” she said.

“Good night Ella, I love you too” he said as he moved his massive head up and down.

She pushed the door to the stall shut and hurried toward the large building that seemed to glow in the moonlight. Tonight even the school was beautiful, but then again, everything was beautiful to Ella.

*This story was inspired by Snowflake the horse, an old gray leftover purchased in 1956 at an auction for $80 by Harry de Leyer, the riding master at a New York girl’s school. The horse was old and unattractive and had wounds and scars on his legs. De Leyer was mocked for buying the horse, which was called ‘a flea bitten gray.’ Snowflake was eventually sold to a neighbor but kept disappearing only to be found again and again at the school so de Leyer took him back. It was finally discovered that he could jump. Snowflake became a champion jumper and was named Horse of the year in 1958 and 1959. De Leyer was once offered $100,000 for the horse which he declined. Snowflake was eventually inducted into the jumping Hall of Fame.

We can accomplish anything when someone believes in us. I believe in you Emma. I love you.

Grammie 2/2010

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