A New Foal For Carrie
by Barbara Power
"We didnt find her", Carrie sobbed as she and Ben ran to the barn where Daddy waited.
"Easy, Girl," Daddy consoled her as he held Carrie in his arms. Your mare is all right. Shes just gone off by herself to have her foal, thats all.
"But shes never been by herself," Carrie protested. "Shes always been here at the barn. What if she needs help having her baby?"
"Aw, Carrie, dont be stupid," said Ben. "Horses don t need help to have babies, only people do."
"Ben, your sister is not stupid." Daddys voice was firm, then kind as he spoke to Carrie. "Ben is right, Carrie. Horses don t usually need help. They would rather be alone when they give birth."
"But how will we get her back?" Carrie wailed. "We dont know where she is."
"Why, Carrie, Starlight will come home by herself. For one thing, she loves you and for another she loves her oats. She knows where to find you both. Shell come home, youll see. Lets go on to the house now. Mama will have supper ready. If the mares not home by tomorrow afternoon, I ll help you look for her."
"I could stay home from school and look for her all day tomorrow," Ben said hopefully, but Daddys frown told him his offer was refused.
"Theres my family," Mama smiled as they came in the door. "Wash up, supper is on the table."
"We didnt find Starlight, Mama." Carries voice was soft and sad.
"Starlight is just fine," Mama answered as she kissed Carrie. "She will come home and have a brand new baby horse for you."
Carries eyes widened as she stood perfectly still. The foal. In her worry over Starlight, she had not thought about the new baby horse that she had waited so long to see.
Oh, Mama, she squealed in delight. I had forgotten about the foal. She danced excitedly about the room until Mama shooed her off to wash for supper.
Later that night, Mama listened as Carrie said her prayers. Please take care of Starlight. Dont let her be afraid even though its dark and shes lost away from home. And let her have a pretty new baby. Bless Mama and Daddy and Ben. Amen. Oh yes, please let Starlight and the baby come home soon. Amen again."
Carrie climbed into bed and Mama kissed her goodnight. "I m not sleepy," Carrie told her. "I wish Starlight would come home right now."
"Patience, Little Girl," Mama said. "The baby must be strong enough to travel before Starlight can bring it home. Close your eyes and be real still and see how quickly morning comes."
Carrie did as Mama said and lay very still with her eyes closed; but she added one thing of her own, she listened really hard for Starlight to whicker like she did every morning when Carrie brought her oats.
Morning dawned fresh and clear. Carrie stirred in her sleep as she dreamed of a horse whinnying, calling to her. "I m coming," she murmured sleepily. "I m coming, Starlight."
Starlight! Carrie woke with a start and sat upright in her bed. All was quiet. It had only been a dream. Carrie was disappointed. She wanted Starlight to come home so much she hurt inside.
Just then, another long, questioning whinny came from the barnyard. Starlight was asking, "where are you Carrie? Where are my oats?" It wasn t a dream after all.
In a flash, Carrie was out of bed and running toward the barn, still in her nightgown. Starlight waited impatiently, pawing the ground with one front hoof. Her loud whinny changed to a soft whicker when she saw Carrie.
Carrie stopped dead still and could not move. She stared in delighted wonder at the baby horse that peeked at her from behind the safety of its mothers body.
"Oh, Starlight," she breathed softly. "He is beautiful."
The mare walked up to her and nudged her, asking again to be fed. The foal stayed close to its mother, pressing against her for safety.
"Don t be afraid," Carrie said as stepped around to look at him. "I wont hurt you. I think you are wonderful."
The gentle mare watched as Carrie reached out her hand to touch the baby horse. The foal was curious and stretched out his nose to sniff Carries hand. But when she touched him, he jumped back startled, and ran to the other side of the mare. He peeped at Carrie from under his mothers neck. Carrie laughed.
"Come on, Starlight," she said. "Lets get you some oats. Then I ll go tell Mama and Daddy and Ben. They said you would come home and here you are.
The mare bobbed her head in agreement and whickered softly to her foal as she followed Carrie to the barn.