fiction

Agathos & Frontida. {fiction}

The river is quiet today, not a single ripple in the water. Nothing is moving, not even a leaf, as if the Earth is asleep.

In fact, she is taking her daily nap… even she needs to rest sometimes, as she works so hard every day to give us life and food.

It is almost as if life is on pause when she is asleep, a very relaxing time. All the animals and creatures are resting too, there are none around. The birds safely nestled in the trees, the bears in their caves, the rabbits in their burrows.

Even the dolphins — one of the most playful mammals — are now cuddling with their families. All creatures except one. An animal named Agathos. You see, he never sleeps; he has a very special task he performs. He didn’t always though.

*****

Once upon a time, he was a mere horse, a shiny white one. He lived among many other horses, up in the mountains. They spent their days happily grazing and roaming free.

Agathos was especially curious, and would often go off alone to explore the never-ending mountains and valleys. One day, he traveled a bit too far. He came across a clearing. He knew where he was. Legends had long been told about this place.

A dangerous place, where no horse should ever go. Why? They did not know.

Agathos stared at the clearing that was covered with wildflowers — purple, yellow, red and orange. “It sure would be wonderful to run among the flowers,” he thought.

He ran and ran, taking an occasional playful roll in the flowers. Such fun he had.

As he exited the clearing, he came to this stone cottage with a thatched roof. It appeared old, but glowed almost as if the sun was shining directly upon it. Next to it was a bubbling brook.

Agathos was enchanted by this magnificent view. The sound of the brook was like music, and he felt as if it was singing out to him to come near and drink from it. He couldn’t resist.

After all, he was thirsty after a long journey and rolling and playing among the flowers.

He began to walk closer and closer, as if he was under a magical spell. As he kneeled down, ready to drink the water, a great big owl flew out of some nearby trees.

“I know you are thirsty, but I would not drink that water if I were you,” said the owl.

“Why not?” Agathos asked, confused.

“This brook belongs to Sam, a human. He has placed a magical spell over this place. If you drink the water, you will no longer have your freedom. You will be forced to live here, encaged in this little space, carrying Sam on your back to help him perform his daily tasks. You will be fed and taken care of, but no longer roam free and wild. Run away now,” the owl said.

The words of the owl filled Agathos’ heart with fear, but a voice within him told him to stay.

“I would like to meet this Sam and talk to him,” said Agathos. He could not understand why someone would want to capture another through trickery.

The owl, impressed by his bravery, said, “You only need to walk into the cottage, Sam is in there.”

A little hesitant, Agathos walked into the cottage. There stood a man with bright red hair. Sam was surprised and shocked at the horse’s entrance. Agathos looked at him, straight into his eyes.

“Why have you enchanted the water to trick us into becoming yours?” he asked.

Sam replied, “One day, as I was on the roof, laying more straw, I slipped and fell. Since then, my left leg has never mended completely. I need a horse to travel through the forest to gather food, to carry my things, help me perform my daily tasks, and to keep me company. So I placed this spell.”

Agathos looked to the left and saw this pretty white thing. “What is that?” he asked.

“That is a bridle. It is placed on the horse’s head so that I may ride it. Once it is placed on the horse, my partner he shall always be.”

Agathos felt Sam’s pain and loneliness. He could have run away at this moment, since all Sam needed to do was shut the door and place the bridle on him.

Instead, he said, “I have a better idea. Come with me, and I shall take you to my herd. There are thousands of horses that roam these lands. I am sure there will be one that would want to live here with you, be fed, groomed and live in this beautiful place. You may place the bridle on me and I will take you, but you have to promise me that you will then let me go. I am meant to roam free, travel and explore the mountains.”

The owl watched from the window. Agathos was taking a big risk, but he somehow knew and trusted that he was making the right choice. Sam agreed, and off they went.

They traveled long distances through beautiful forests, valleys and mountaintops. During the journey, Sam got to understand how Agathos loved to roam and be free. How happy that made him… this is who he was.

He understood Agathos was not meant to be his horse.

They finally reached the herd and the herd gathered around them. Agathos explained to them Sam’s situation, how he needed some help and companionship, and the beautiful home that he lived in.

“Does anyone want to be Sam’s partner?” he asked. Immediately Frontida, a young horse, colored light brown almost like honey, stepped up. “Whenever I would hear stories of humans and horses, babbling brooks, and homes, I would feel an aching in my heart. I wished I could be one of those horses. It’s always been my dream. I would love to be your helper, Sam.”

Sam was greatly touched by Frontida’s words. “Thank you,” he said, with tears rolling down his eyes. He realized what a mistake he had made, and learned an important lesson: it is wrong to take anything by force. All he had to do was ask; there was no need for trickery. Sam then took the bridle off of Agathos, placed it on Frontida, and off they went to live a beautiful and long life together.

The owl, impressed by Agathos’ kind and loving heart and bravery, gave him wings to travel as far as he could ever want and share his gift of a loving heart with other humans, so that they may learn to live with horses in a peaceful and loving way, making one of the most beautiful partnerships the world has ever seen.

Since then, he has been known as the winged horse.

Agathos (αγαθός) means one of pure heart.

Frontida (φροντίδα) means taking care of.

***

GaiaGiakalliGaia (Γαία) Giakalli is a therapist, writer, photographer, dancer, cultural anthropologist and nature-dweller. She loves creativity, and nature, especially trees. Her passion is connecting people with nature, in which she has spent most of her life in solitude, contemplating and enjoying its wisdom, and empowering people to be their authentic selves, reconnecting them to their true essence and calling in life. You can connect with her on The Tree Mouseion of Creativity, Gaia Giakalli World Productions, Facebook or Twitter.

***

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