Once upon a time in a faraway land, there was a little horse who was called Stumpy.
He wasn’t very big, he was white but always seemed to be a dirty grey colour because of the mud he played in, and his friends were always teasing him for his scruffy appearance. He loved galloping like the wind in the plains, though he wasn’t very fast, and trotting through the streams in the forest, where he got even muddier, he was an odd looking little thing with his grey mud covered coat and clear blue eyes.
He had many friends in the forest where the ivy grew snaking around the trees, the wild clematis wound through the branches and the larches reached high up to the sky, the oaks grew stout and tall, the birch basked in its silver and elegant bark and its delicate fronds, the holly grew red berries and the beech turned copper in the autumn.
The trees were his friends, and so were the deer, and the squirrel, and the owl and the buzzard, the field lark and the robin, the visiting swallow and redwing were all companions, as well as the fox and the badgers, and even the rabbits…but they all teased him about his appearance but most of all, his forehead, for this was why they called him Stumpy, because right in the middle of his forehead, there was a little bump where a star should have been, and everyone loved to point out his singular characteristic.
Stumpy didn’t mind because he was a gentle, though boisterous soul, and sustained the joshing of the other horses who lived with him in the fields by the forest. For Stumpy had a wonderful trick that the others did not have, and they all admired him for it.
Whatever and however high the fence was made in his field, Stumpy could jump it, for he had the most amazing powers of levitation and he would away to his companions in the wild wood and play with them all day. He would return, though, at night as in the darkness, the little horse was very afraid of the shadows, and the weasels, and the rats and the local nocturnal cats, and the hunting and calling of the owl, who was so friendly by day but so fierce by the light of the stars and even more of the bats who would swoop so suddenly out of the velvet darkness and surprise him with their tiny screams. He was afraid of the fox and the wolf and the dark and the whispers of the trees to each other through the long night….dusk began to entwine around his tired eyes he began to worry about getting home safely through the dark…
Stumpy had never been in the forest after dark and his eyes were not accustomed to the inky cloak of the oncoming night and it all seemed very murky and he could not see clearly at all; then on this cold dank night the fog began to creep in to make things worse and then the little horse could not see at all…
He panicked and began to trot faster, completely forgetting in his fear that his mother had always told him not to show fear at night lest it take over his mind and cause him to lose his way. Trotting through the shadowy trees which seemed most unfriendly, unlike their daylight guise, and over snaking branches, through deep puddles and slippery leaves, he went through the approaching which was becoming more gloomy by the moment.
The little white horse by now was now not all white, he was very muddy, very dirty, very tired and very cross with himself but worse was to come…the more irritated he became the more sounds he thought he heard, the more scared he felt, the more shadows he saw, the more terrified he was, the more rustlings and sounds he heard of the unseen, and even, unsung people in the forest…and the owls, the bats, the fireflies, the wolves, the badgers, the fox and then… to make everything even worse, it began to snow.
Now, what you don’t know, and I haven’t told you is that there was one thing more than anything the little horse didn’t like, even more than the black inky dark which enveloped him and shrouded his eyes from seeing, and that was SNOW…Stumpy hated…snow, it was cold, it stopped him seeing, it was slippery and it was even worse than fog and NOW he could not see for all the snowflakes twirling down around him and wolves howling and the wind picking up and the slip, slip, slip beneath his hooves and he began to run through the trees without any direction or even any thought of where he was headed…
Which was straight for a tree, bang, with his head, and Stumpy subsided to an undignified halt with stars appearing in front of his eyes, or was it snowflakes, he really wasn’t able to tell any more and the extraordinary thing was that the little horse wasn’t grey anymore, nor even mud coloured nor dappled grey, but pure white as he was covered with snow from head to tail. And as the snow ceased to swirl, and fell more and more gently until at last it glided to a graceful halt, he suddenly saw an entirely new and magical landscape…
The moon lit up the white ground alive with the white glow of the snow, the birch bark gleamed under its light, the stars glittered high up above in the dark, midnight blue sky, almost silver in their shimmer and casting their ethereal light throughout the wild wood.
Pulled up short by this most unexpected sight, he took great breaths of the light and pure air, realising that by some sort of miracle, he was no longer afraid at all, but happy in the light of the moon and he looked up to the glorious stars, snorting in the cold air so his breath formed clouds, he stamped his hooves and arched his little head back high under the heavens…and all around him there glowed a great light….
He began to walk slowly through the forest, revelling in each enchanted snowflake and the filigree of the frost and the way his breath held frozen in the air…revelling in the divergence of the paths around him, as he picked his way through the forest, confident in his passage as it was lit by tiny fireflies and a curious light that moved with him.
And then suddenly all the nocturnal woodland folk came out to play by the light of the galleon moon, the rabbits, the stoats, the badgers, the bats, the voles, the owls, the deer and most important of all, the great White Stag.
Stumpy was very afraid, as the Stag, who was rumoured to be emperor of all the forest, approached him, but the Stag said “Be not afraid for it is I who should kneel to you this night. For this is Christmas Eve, the night of the Wild Hunt, but your spirit has becalmed the forest and the blizzard, as was foretold and the muddy one would become great.”
Well, Stumpy did not really understand what was going on, but was very relieved to be in the company of the other animals, who accompanied him through the forest, along a path which was fully and brightly lit as day. When they reached the edge of the forest The Great White Stag said “For now we part, brave little white horse, but for ever you have run the run of the forest and the fields.”
He left and at that moment dawn began to approach with its rosy fingers and the first shafts of light pierced the darkness of the night’s velvet cloak and the little white horse returned to his field.
Over the next year or so, Stumpy began to grow and whilst he still ran away to the forest every day, he began to known for his courage and kindness to all the other animals, especially the little baby one’s in the forest. If anyone was lost he had an uncanny knack of knowing how to help them find the best way home, if anyone was hurt, he would find them help, if thirsty, lead them to a stream, if lonely, play with them. Already loved, he became almost revered, but Stumpy did not notice anything about himself as he was so absorbed in the forest, the forest dwellers and his family in the fields.
Exactly a year later, he was in the forest again, when exactly the same thing began to happen, dusk fell, and the fog settled throughout the trees and then the snow began to fall, but Stumpy was not afraid, not afraid at all because he knew, and I know, and you know, that there was a light in the darkness, and that light would guide him safely through the trees to his destination.
And then suddenly all the nocturnal woodland folk came out to play by the light of the galleon moon, the rabbits, the stoats, the badgers, the bats, the voles, the owls, the deer and most of all the great White Stag.
Stumpy was suddenly very nervous, as the Stag, who was rumoured to be Emperor of all the forest, approached him, but the Stag said “Be not afraid for it is I who should kneel to you this night. For this is Christmas Eve, the night of the Wild Hunt, but your spirit has becalmed the forest and the blizzard, as was foretold and the muddy one would become great.”
Stumpy returned safely to his field where he was astonished, as all the horses, even those from the surrounding fields, knelt down before him as the sun rose on a frosty Winter’s morning: It was Christmas Day.
The final horse to come over to him was his mother, who looked joyful and happy. She said, “I was told to name you Celestine, but somehow Stumpy seemed to suit you best, but now I see you are indeed he.”
For you see the light in the forest was not just the moon, but Stumpy, or Celestine, as we shall now call him, had matured into the most beautiful white horse, he was not muddy at all, in fact he was so white that he sparkled like the frost around him.
He went to the pond which was iced over but so clear that he could see his reflection, and he suddenly realised why the night of Christmas Eve was so strange and magical, and where the light originated.
Stumpy is a beautiful fully grown pure white unicorn with a horn that emanates light and magic, and that is how the unicorn got his horn on Christmas Day, when he became the light of his world.
Humbled by what he saw he vowed to use his powers only for good and to provide light to lead the way for others, as he had done in the forest.
And after that he had a jolly good gallop with all his friends in the frosty, sparkling fields. Now he dwells happily in the forest with his companions, but sometimes he visits fleetingly his horse family in the fields and that is why sometimes you may glimpse him fleetingly on the edge of the woods, or through the lattice of the forest, a tall white shadow creature with a single shining horn which lights the forest path and allays your night fears, in a place that might be nearer than you think and might even been happening right NOW….
The end or is it the beginning?
Becomes fearless and kind and compassionate to the other night folk in the forest. Who thank him for showing them the way with the light that comes from him.
When he returns to the field, he is met with astonishment by the other horses, who bow down before him, etc.
One day in the forest he comes to a pool and sees a beautiful unicorn with a white coat, and shining mane and the bluest eyes you have ever seen, and a single white horn right in the centre of his forehead…he looks for the wondrous creature everywhere, turning round and round, trotting the boundaries of the enchanted area, until the thought occurs to him, that HE might be the UNICORN.
That would explain a lot!
Now he dwells happily in the forest with his companions, but sometimes he visits fleetingly his horse family in the fields and that is why sometimes you may glimpse him fleetingly on the edge of the woods, or through the lattice of the forest, a tall white shadow creature with a single shining horn which lights the forest path and allays your night fears, in a place that might be nearer than you think and might even been happening right NOW….