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Stories from Hector McNeill
The Horse Ride

Little Ian McDonald was walking with his friend Mary McNeill, picking some heather with the brightest pink flowers which gleamed in the late evening sun. Over the sea the suns rays burst out, under solid grey clouds, reflecting on the ocean.

"Papa will be coming home soon, I hope," sighed Mary, "He must be tired by now." "Yes, but when he does, he is sure to keep the best fish for you," Ian smiled, Mary smiled back, "Yes he is truly a good Papa," Mary mused, "I hope he will like this heather."

As if from nowhere, there appeared a man on a large horse, the Steward's assistant, a cruel man. But, of this, the children knew nothing. The celestial-solar-marine backdrop must have inspired the man since he called out to the children offering a ride on his horse. Mary was terrified, this was the biggest animal she had ever seen. But Ian could hardly believe what he heard and replied, "Could I go with you Sir?" Mary looked on apprehensively, clutching her heather, as the man bent down, grabbed Ian by the forearm and yanked him onto the bridge of the saddle in front of him. "Are you ready?" he asked, "Oh yes Sir!" replied Ian.

The man whipped the horse up into a gallop, Ian could hardly believe the sensation. Villagers where coming down the track, tired, carrying their tools and thankful another day of toil had ended. There was ample room on the wide track for the horse and the folk, but the man purposefully steered the horse straight at what broke into a scattering bundle of people, shouting, "Out of the way!". They fell into the ditch and onto the road; the younger ones managed to jump onto the bank and down the other side to safety. It is truly a miracle that no one was hurt. The man suddenly, as if under an imposition, brought the horse to a standstill and returned to where a wide-eyed Mary stood. He swung Ian down onto the track and asked, "Well what did you think of that?"

Ian looked up, gathering his thoughts, "It is surely unfair that you have to ride such a beast and that you have to work so hard to stop it hurting the village folk. You must be a very good and brave man." "Oh yes," beamed Mary, stretching up and handing him her bunch of heather, "these are for you, you truly deserve them."

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