Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Chestnut and the Grey Part 1

Part 1 of The Chestnut and the Grey. Stay tuned for Part 2!

There are many animals in Cairo who are well looked after despite the poor situation in Egypt that has made earning a living there so difficult. Unfortunately, even though there are owners who would do anything for their animals, some situations are taken entirely out of their hands.

We met a man in the desert whose horse had fallen and was not in the best shape; the chestnut was underweight, dehydrated and exhausted. The boy who had taken the horse out had called the owner, and he had come as quickly as possible. The blood-red chestnut was down and would not get up. The man pulled out a handful of small notes. He sent the boy off to the pharmacy to get saline and needles, whilst cursing that now he would not have enough to give all of his animals a good feed.

Shortly, the boy returned with the much needed saline. The man asked Ramadan for help, who obliged and carefully inserted the needle into the horses neck. Within a few minutes, the horse was standing, if somewhat precariously. We stayed with the man and his horse until it was clear that he could tentatively walk home.

Over the next coming weeks the horse was spotted a few more times, looking rounder and better fed. He had more energy and was able to work better, however there were few tourists at this time. The man was making little money, and had no notes in his pocket to buy feed for the animals. He decided that now this horse was stronger he would sell it, but his dilemma was that he would not have enough horses for groups of people to ride out in the desert.

He made a deal with another stable owner – his horse would be exchanged for one in worse condition, and he would be given some money in return. The man did not think far ahead; it would cost more to feed up an emaciated and ill horse than it would to feed a normal horse, but he went through with the deal regardless.

The chestnut who not a few weeks before had fallen in the desert was taken to his new home, and the man returned to his stables with a sickly grey horse. He was blind in one eye and had every rib showing. This would be the skinniest horse the man had. The old owner did not have cash on him, and promised he would give him it tomorrow. For the time being, the man borrowed a little money to buy a small amount of feed.

Tomorrow turned out to be a bad day. The boy took the grey out for a walk, leading him from the back of another horse. Whilst out on the road, the grey collapsed in front of where we lived. The boy shot off to find the man, and left the horse in the street.

The grey was scared. His legs were weakly flailing, shoes scraping against the coarse tarmac. His good eye stared outwards to the sky, his blind eye hidden under blood and torn flesh. In coming down, he had hit his head on the road, and there was a great disunity to his movements. His breath rasped in and out of his dilated nostrils, teeth chomping in pain...

Stay tuned for Part 2. 

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