Despite his appearance, Arthur the horse is a very fast runner. From a distance, Arthur could easily be mistaken for a skinny cow, because of the coloring. Arthur is both black and white. And maybe that is why Arthur is
’s favorite horse. So every moment he is not at school or working for his dad at their farm, he spends with his friend. Right now Gary is admiring his friend while he runs like the wind at the other side of the fence. Arthur easily outruns Jonas, the all white stallion, the pride of the farm. Father bought it for a very reasonable price when it was still a young mare. But they soon found out why. Jonas was an incredibly difficult horse. It was very hard to handle. He would let no one on his back, and kick at every stranger that came too close to him. Gary
Arthur tiredly dribbled back towards
after his sprint. He knew that in Gary ’s right hand sugar cubes awaited him. Meanwhile, Gary ’s left hand slid over the fence. With that motion, some bits of paint came off. The annual paint job of the fences was long due, but unfortunately his father didn’t have a lot of money at the moment. Business wasn’t going well the last few years. A few big companies had started very modern and very big farms not too far away, and sales had plummeted over that. They could get along, but hardly. His father had sold some of the distant fields to the big companies, but that was only temporary relief. Gary was worried. At nights when he couldn’t sleep, he liked to lie behind the living room door, just below the glass window, and listen to his parents talk. It calmed him, and helped him to go to sleep. One of those nights, he overheard his parents discussing the possibility to sell some of the horses. Gary cried all night over that. But right now he was awakened from his daydreams by the gentle sensation of a horse licking his right hand. It was Arthur, claiming his reward. With a smile Gary opened his hand and watched as the sugar cubes disappeared with amazing speed. With his left hand he stroked the horse’s nose. A few paint specks stuck in the horse’s hair. Gary took them out, patted the lovely animal, and went back to the farm house, obeying his mother’s call for diner. Gary
A few days later, when
came home from school, he saw a big and expensive car parked next to the barn. Inside he heard voices. Gary went into the kitchen. Gary
“Mom, who are those people with dad in the barn?”
Still bent over the sink doing the dishes, mom answered:
“Things have been difficult around here with all those new big farms. These men are interested in buying a horse my love.”
A wave of shock surged through
’s little body. He dropped his school bag and ran out the door. When he reached the barn, he just saw the men shaking hands with dad. After that they left. Dad waved them goodbye. Gary
“What are you doing dad? Please tell me you haven’t sold any of the horses! Why would you do that?”
Dad looked at his son and smiled. But it wasn’t a happy smile.
“These men are interested in buying Victor and Carrie. They will come back in two days with the contract. I’m sorry, but we have no choice. We need the money.”
That was a relief. Victor and Carrie were horses
didn’t really care about. But still, if dad sold them, then who knows where he would stop. Maybe Arthur would be next. Father promised him that he would do everything in his power to prevent Arthur from being sold. Gary
“You should feed your cow better.”
“Well, there’s a cow with an attitude.”
Just some of the remarks. They never try him in the fields. Luckily, according to
One late afternoon,
finishes painting the fence around the corn field. Now only the grain field near the hill remains. Father said that he could ride Arthur after he finishes the corn field fence. So Gary already took Arthur there. Gary places the bucket and brush in the little shed, and climbs on the horse’s back. Arthur is in the mood, so soon they run like the wind across the endless waving grain. The young boy enjoys it so much, that he doesn’t see the man in the dark suit, that is leaning on his car at the side of the road. Through his binoculars he watches the pair. Well, actually he watches the horse very closely. When they are out of the reach of his binoculars, he reaches inside his pocket for his mobile phone and dials a number. After a short talk, the man gets into his car again and leaves. Out of breath, Arthur arrives at the farm. Gary brushes him off and gives him some nice fresh food. His father comes up to him and asks: Gary
“Where did you put the paint and the brush?”
“I’m telling you, that horse runs like crazy!”
Coming from the man in the dark suit with the mobile phone. Another voice answers.
recognizes it from a few days ago, when a sleazy business man came over to look at Jonas. He told dad he was into racing horses, but Gary didn’t like that man at all. He didn’t seem to care about the horses, only about making money from them. Luckily he was no exception to all the other visitors, so he also left empty-handed. Gary
“I’ve seen the horse you’re talking about. It seemed like a starved cow to me. But we can see tomorrow. If it’s as fast as you say, than maybe it’s worth the money.”
And indeed, the next day a car drives up to the farm, and out come two men in suits. One of them is the business man that was here a few days ago. To father’s surprise they want to take another look at the horses.
, looking from behind the stable doors, saw that he was just feigning interest in the other horses. Finally the men arrive at Arthur. Gary can’t hear what they are saying because it is too far away. After some time they come out the barn again. Unaware that Gary can hear them, they discuss: Gary
“What a stupid man. I offered him a generous amount for that horse. Why is he too bloody proud to sell that piece of shit?
The other man answered:
“I know. But anyway, do you think you can contact those guys from that horse job a few months ago? If he doesn’t sell, then we’ll have to find another way to get our hands on this beauty.”
The men move to the car, get in and drive off. In shock
runs to find his father. He explains what he’s heard, but his father doesn’t believe him. Gary
“They don’t want to use Arthur as a race horse. This one guy was looking for a cheap present for his daughter. But he offered me such a low amount, that I immediately refused it. These guys won’t do anything like stealing a horse.”
Kleng! Boing! Deng! Father and mother are upright in their bed. What was that noise? Armed with a flashlight and a shovel, father enters the barn. He shines the light around, everything seems to be fine. Well, until the light reaches the corner. There, on the floor, sits his son Gary, all covered in black paint.
is ready to cry. Out of fear that those bad guys would steal Arthur, Gary had decided to keep watch. But unfortunately, he had missed the bucket of paint. Father had to suppress a smile. The farmer informed his wife, and she filled the tub with hot water. The paint was very strong, so it took her almost an hour to clean her little boy. But in the end, he was shiny and new again. She gave him a kiss after she tucked him in, and they all went to sleep again. The next day after school, Gary was on his bike again, with the bucket of paint strapped at the back. He was going to finish the fence around the grain field. Again, he couldn’t be seen behind the corn. And again he overheard the men talking there. Gary
“So, your guy can be here next Wednesday night?”
Agreement came from the other side.
“Good. This horse will do great at the races. We offered him a fair amount. If you don’t want to listen, I guess you just have to feel.”
Car doors were opened and then closed. The car disappeared down the road.
was at a loss. What to do next? Those guys were obviously going to steel Arthur, and his father didn’t believe him. Gary looks back to the farm, looking for inspiration. When he looks forward again, his eyes pass the back of his bike. And suddenly he knows what to do. Next Wednesday little Gary stays out into the barn late. Father has to call him several times before his son comes in. His mother reads him a bedtime story. The one about the boy who would be king. He likes that one. When his mother is gone, Gary looks at his hands. They are covered in black paint stains. With a smile Gary falls asleep. Gary
The next morning
is woken up by the sound of cars arriving. He looks out the window and sees police cars stopping. When he comes down, his mother looks very concerned. Gary asks what happened. Even though Gary didn’t like Jonas, it was still a shock to him. But on the other hand, they had fallen for his trick. Gary bet that those guys would look pretty dumb when they found out that they had been fooled. After the police left, father came in. They all sat down at the table and ate their breakfast in silence. But then, in the middle of a bite, father looked up. He had a smile on his face. He turned towards Gary and spoke: Gary
“Well my boy. I have to thank you. Because of your little story, I decided to insure Jonas. To us he may have been annoying, but he was still a breed horse. The insurance company will pay us a fortune for this. Our money problems are over!”