The Horse

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The Horse

Written by -Rabindranath Tagore

               The work of creating the universe was nearly over when a new idea struck the Creator's mind.

               He summoned an assistant and said, 'Bring me some more materials, I shall make a new species of animal.'

               The assistant knelt down and replied, 'Father, when, under the creative zeal, you made elephants and whales, lions and pythons, You barely thought of the quantity of substance they cost. Little is left of the heavier and harder stuff. But of the lighter there is still enough in store,'

               The Creator reflected for a moment : 'Well, bring Me whatever you have.'

               This time the Creator took care to employ only a little of the harder materials. To the new animal He made, He gave neither horns nor claws; He gave it teeth that could chew but not bite. The energy He gave it was enough to make it useful on the battle-field, but He gave it no taste of its own for battles. The animal came to be known as the horse.

               The Creator had spent in its making enough of such stuff as the air and the sky are make of. The result was that its mind was full of the desire for freedom. It would run a race with the wind, it would dash to the point where sky touched earth. Other animals ran with a purpose, but the horse raced about for      no apparent reason, as though it were eager to fly away from its own self. It did not fight, it did not pounce on a prey, but loved only to run and to run. Wise      men say that such a thing happens when you have too much of the wind and sky stuff in you.

               The Creator was delighted with His own work. To some animals He gave forests to live in, to some He gave dens. But as He liked to see the horse running an aimless race, He assigned to it as open field.

               Beyond that field lived Man. He was bent under the weight of the burdens he had accumulated. As he saw the horse, he knew that he would be able to shift his burden on to its back if, somehow, he would capture it.

               One day he cast his nets and captured the horse. He put a saddle on its back and a curb in its mouth, and kept it confined in a prison.

               The tiger remained in its forest home and the lion in its den; but the horse lost its home, the open field. In spite of its deep love for freedom it could not escape bondage.

               When life became unbearable, it kicked wildly at its prison walls. That did less injury to the wall than to horse's hoofs. But after constant kicks, bits of plaster began to fall off. It made Man angry. 'This is what I call ingratitude,' he said; 'I feed it , I have engaged servants to look after it; but the wretched animal      does not see my kindness.'

               Firm measures were taken to tame the horse. At last Man could say proudly that there wasn't a creature more faithful to him.

               Claws and horns it had not; nor did it have teeth which could bite. Even kicking it had to give up for fear of the whip. All that was now left to it was to neigh.

               One day the Creator heard the distressed neighing. He woke up from His meditation and looked down at the open fields of the earth. The horse was not there.

               He summoned Heath and said; 'This is your doing; you have got hold of My horse.'

               Death said, 'Eternal Father, You always look upon me with suspicion; but be good enough to cast Your eye on the house of Man.'

               The Creator looked down again and saw the horse standing in a narrow walled space, neighing weakly.

               His heart was filled with pity, and He said to Man: 'Unless you set the horse free, I shall give it teeth and claws like the tiger's.'

               Man said, 'Father this creature of Yours does not deserve freedom. Look what a nice stable I've built for its comfort and well-being!'

               But the Creator insisted that the horse should be set free.

               Man said, 'I shall obey Your will. But I am sure you will change Your mind in a week and agree that my stable is the best place for it.'

               Man then corded together the front legs of the horse and set it free. Thus tied, it could only hop about in the manner of a frog.

               From heaven the Creator would see the horse, but not the cord. He grew red with shame. So, that was the sort of creature He had make! He admitted to Himself that it was one of the worst blunders into which He had ever fallen.

               Man said, 'What is to be done with it? Are there no fields in Heaven where it might be sent to roam?'

               The Creator answered, 'I have had enough of it. Take the creature back to your stable.'

               Man said, 'But , Father, what a burden it will be to me!'

               The Creator answered, 'Yes, but by accepting the burden you will show your greatness of heart.'