Karen and her mother are enjoying a day on the beach, when Karen notices two sad ponies. Karen’s act of kindness is a fairy tale for the ponies.

It was a warm, summer day. The hot breeze coming in from the sea kept blowing sand particles all over the beach. Even the beach umbrellas offered no respite from the heat. But since it was the summer vacations, all the children wanted to spend time by the sea. Fortunately, the water was cool and so everyone spent maximum time in the water.

An act of kindnessYou could hear the shrill laughter of the children as they splashed water around and played with the ball and plastic floats. The ice cream trucks were having a gala time as people were cooling themselves with endless sundaes, cones, and ice-lollies.

Karen was busy making a sand castle and every few minutes pottered off to fetch some sea water in her tiny bucket for the moat around her castle. She was momentarily distracted by the soft neighing of the ponies on the beach. She rubbed her eyes as a blast of the warm, summer breeze blew sand into her eyes.

Her mother made her way across to her and wiped her eyes clean. “Thanks Mummy,” Karen said with a smile but all the while gazing at the ponies. “Can we go and meet them please?” asked Karen while pointing at the ponies.

“Oh, yes of course my darling. Come on, let’s go and say hello to those beautiful ponies. Don’t they just look lovely?” her mother replied.

“They are magnificent but I think they are very sad. Somehow they look forlorn.” Karen’s mother smiled down at her. She was amazed at her daughter’s vocabulary but Karen was a voracious reader and often read two books in a day.

“Well, let’s go and see for ourselves if the ponies are happy or sad,” replied her mother. They trotted off hand in hand, squealing every time the hot sand tickled their feet. The two ponies neighed in happiness when they saw the approaching humans. An old man stood close by watching over them.

“Hello there… Are these your ponies? My daughter, Karen is most interested in them. Can she come and pat them gently?”

“Yes, absolutely Ma’am. These two ponies are mine. I brought them here so that I could make some money giving children rides but they don’t seem to be happy in this heat. They are very restless today.”

“But you mustn’t use these ponies for rides. That is cruel. You know it is against the law to misuse animals. There is a rule that animals are prohibited from being trained and used for entertainment purposes,” chided Karen.

The old man looked crestfallen and whispered that he was poor and had no other source of income. He didn’t even have enough money to feed the ponies other than grass from the fields around.

“Come here beautiful pony…Let me give you a nice big pat,” Karen said, grabbing the bridle. Karen asked the old man the names of the ponies and their ages.

“That’s Huey and the other one is Duey. They are brothers and five years old now,” he answered.

She patted Huey the first pony and then moved to Duey the second pony and did the same. They neighed back in affection.

“There now, is that better?” asked Karen to the ponies. Her mother watched on in amusement. Karen loved animals and if she had her way she would adopt all the animals in need of a home. Their farm was already full of various animals and birds that had been rescued.

“They are both good ponies,” the old man went on. He petted the top of Huey’s head and his ears. Duey let out a loud neigh, jolting Karen.

“It’s all right, my dear. They are a noisy bunch,” the old man warned.

“He’s got a loud neigh,” Karen giggled. She turned her head and looked at Duey’s tail. “His tail is longer that Huey’s. Do you have to brush them often?” Karen asked.

“Yes, I do. I have to take good care of them and keep them clean and healthy but it is not easy for me anymore. They both like hay and grains. Sometimes I give them an apple or a pear. Would you like to feed them an apple each?” the old man asked.

An Act of Kindness

“I’d love to,” Karen answered.

“Here you go, my dear,” the old man said, putting his hands into a small sack and pulling out a few shiny red apples. He handed one over to Karen.

“Hold it in your hand and don’t be afraid. They will not nip you.”

Karen laid the apple in the palm of her hand and moved it in front of Huey’s nose. The pony seemed to smile at her as he lowered his mouth over the apple. His wet lips tickled Karen’s hand. She was afraid at first but Huey was very gentle. She then moved to feed Duey who nuzzled her arm before lifting up the apple. She watched as they chewed the apples. Suddenly, she looked at her mother and said, “I think we should adopt the two ponies. And we can ask the owner to help on the farm too. What do you think about this plan?”

Karen’s mother was silent at first but she mulled over what her daughter had said. “Sounds like a good plan. But we really need to ask this gentleman first,” she said looking directly at the old man.

“Ma’am, I would be honoured to work for you and have such kind and compassionate people looking after my ponies. By the way, my name is Ramesh.”

“Welcome to a new life Ramesh,” said Karen’s mother with a smile while Karen clapped her hands in excitement. They discussed a few details for a couple of minutes and decided to head back home. Karen ran to get her bucket and spade and their belongings on the beach.

That is when Huey and Duey looked at each other and then told the old man that they had found the perfect home and the kindest soul to look after them. They spoke in whispers as they didn’t want either Karen or her mother to hear. The old man waved goodbye and disappeared in a poof for his work on earth was done. He was only there to ensure that fairy tales continued in modern times.

Word meanings:

  • Forlorn: lonely
  • Voracious: big
  • Crestfallen: sad

Values learnt:

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