Τρίτη 3 Ιανουαρίου 2012

The love story of the horse and the poplar

This is a beautiful love story that I translated from a Greek story I found in the below link. Enjoy.

Once upon a time there was a tall,beautiful poplar tree in the middle of a  large meadow. 

 She was graceful,her folliage laden with silver.But who would have thought that she was an unhappy poplar.As far as your eyes could see there was no other tree in sight." I am so lonely, without any friends, without anyone to exchange a few words with" she reflected and continued:"When people are lonely, then compare themselves to the reeds in the plain, but it should rather be said that they are like me, like a poplar in the prairie."

These and other similar thoughts had been crossing the poplar's mind. For she really was lonely and miserable.A small consolation was of course the birds.The opportunities, however, to speak to them were few and far between.All day they would flutter back and forth and only came to her branches to sing or sleep.Not that they would undertsand her language anyway, because it's not that easy for anyone to learn the language of trees.As for the crickets, they were either sleeping or singing all day long.

So months and years passed and the world seemed drab to the poplar. Until one day,when life began to smile upon her.

It was a glorious autumn day,a glorious sun shining upon the meadow after the early morning rain.
Freshly washed by the rain ,the poplar's leaves  were shining like pure silver.
She suddenly saw a horse descending the hills around her meadow.
White as snow. So proud a horse she had never seen in her life.
She just stood there admiring his trotting while his mane was rythmically swaying in the wind.

Soon she could also discern a middle aged man holding the horse's reins.
''That's probably his owner" she thoughtThen she realised that he was the  farmer who had bought the nearby plot."That horse is supposed to be working here for the farmer.Who would have thought that  company would come in the form of a beautiful horse''. 
But the horse did not even look at her. At first because it simply never crossed his  mind to hang out with a tree.Besides he was not that fond of trees anyway, as he was often tied to their trunk, while he would prefer to gallop freely in the plains and mountains. Plus he never thought that a tree could either talk or keep one company.

A few days passed but the horse paid no heed to the poplar.She tried several times to talk to him but he did not seem to understand..But soon loneliness began to creep upon the horse as well. After he was done with his chores he spent too many hours tied to the poplar's trunk.One afternoon he lifted his head up and observed the poplar in all her glory for the first time.

''Good God!What a beauty! ''he exclaimed ''And look at those leaves,glistening like pure silver!! But how  miserable she must be here all alone in the meadow ",he whispered  and as he gazed upon her.
''-Oh, thank you  for realising what it's like,'' he heard  a fine melodious voice emerging from the folliage of  the poplar .The horse could  not believe his ears. Really, it was the  poplar talking to him.''So you are a talking tree''? he asked inquiringly. The poplar, happy now because he could hear her at last,replied:
-''Everything on earth has its own language .You can keep studying languages ​​to learn how to communicate. But in order for anyone to understand the language of any living thing,you have to pay attention to it when it is trying to talk to you''.

From that day on the horse became friends with the poplar. He could hardly wait for the time that the farmer summoned him to work in the field. He was so looking forward to find himself next to the poplar.And the poplar hardly slept a wink each night,counting the minutes until she could see the horse descending  from the hills beyond. 
They would spent endless hours talking. He told her a lot of things about other animals,he spoke of the world behind the hills. And he even told her that he loved  nothing more on earth than to gallop as a free horse in the plains and mountains.And that he was fortunate to have an owner that was kind to animals. She could not get enough of his stories.She in turn told him about the pleasure of hearing the birds singing,of the joy of silently contemplating about life under the stars at night,of the pleasure of swinging rythmically to the gentle breezes.
She was no longer lonely and the horse felt lonely only when he was away from her, although he did not lack company in the farmhouse of his owner.

But one morning the horse did not show up. Nor the next day or the day after that.. Then she realized that work was over and done with in the nearby plot and that the horse would not come back to her.
''He is soon going to forget all about me", she thought with a heavy heart.

But the horse kept thinking about her throughout the days while he was working in other plots and throughout the nights when he was tied  to the the door of the farmhouse."Oh, the poplar will  assume I have forgotten her"he thought to himseld and his eyes misted with grief. He stopped talking to other animals,he even lost his appetite.Now he realized the true depth of his feelings for the poplar.And how he wished he were allowed to send a message,to tell her that he had not forgotten........

Days, nights, weeks rolled by, then winter came. One night standing outside the farmhouse in the bitter cold,realizing that the bitterness in his heart was even more unbearable, the horse  took the big decision:"I can not stand it any longer,I am breaking loose. My poplar needs me and I need her too". He was strong and the rope gave in easily and he started galloping frantically towards the meadow.There was a huge,round moon in the winter sky guiding his way.Fast as the wind he came to her,calling her name. He stood on his hind legs trying to kiss her. She in her turn tried hard  to bend her trunk to reach down and kiss him.But the trunk came close to breaking. They couldn't make it. Maybe next time ...

As  the horse lay down by her trunk  she shook her branches and threw as many of her leaves that were left on her in an attempt to cover him and keep him warm. At that moment they heard a mocking hoarse voice above  them:''
''Look at that spectacle. Go figure. A horse loving a poplar. That's a good laugh'' ...They lifted their eyes and saw a black ugly cloud passing by.-'I'll run to tell the news to the other clouds behind the hills so that we can laugh to our hearts content.''

The poplar sank into silence.The words of  the black cloud were still  ringing in her ears and almost stole the joy of their reunion.The white horse, reading her thoughts immediately replied:.''My sweet poplar, do not worry. There will always be black clouds who instead of  trying to find happiness for themselves,will be  looking for ways  to spoil the happiness of others.Do not doubt for a moment that we are the most suited couple, perhaps in the whole wide world.''

''You're right horse'' they heard a warm voice above them. ''Thousands of years traveling upon the earth from side to side I have seen a lot,believe me. But it's the first time I have seen a love so beautiful''. It was the  perfectly round moon  who had silently slipped  from the sky and stood over them while bathing them with her silver light.

Then the horse thought of the farmhouse and his owner.But he could not find it in his heart to leave her alone again.His owner,though, was not about to give up on such a valuable horse so easily.So he kept searching for it. Except it never occured to him to look for it by the poplar's side.But of course that telltale of a cloud saw to that and dropped a few of his rain drops above the farm. So the secret was learned first by the flowers in the garden .Then  the secret reached the ears of  the farmer's wife, who knew the language of flowers because she loved them.And she in turn told her husband.. He immediately ran to the meadow to bring his property back.

But the horse had decided to stay with the poplar forever, so when he  saw his owner descending from the hills, he took to the mountains. The farmer realised what was amiss  and decided to cut down the tree that kept his horse away from him. So he got out his saw and started sawing the trunk.He was surprised however to hear deep sighs emanating from the tree .  ''Those who claim that trees have a soul are right " he thought to himself. "And why not? My wife does speaks to flowers after all ."

He stopped sawing and asked:-"'Tell me,am I hurting you,is that why you are sighing?''-''Yes'', she replied, 'it hurts a lot,but that is not why I am sighing. I am thinking of the pain my beloved horse will go through when he comes back and finds me dead''.
-''What a beautiful love this is''! whispered the farmer.''How can I ruin it?? Tell the horse when he gets back, that from now on he is free . This is my gift to your love''.And before the poplar had  time enough to thank him, he was off on his way back to tell his wife of this wonderful and strange story.

When  the horse returned and learned about the news, he started dancing like mad for joy .Then the horse asked the poplar: "Would you like to walk with me?''  "Walk-me? I am a tree. Have you forgotten that my  horse? Trees remain rooted in the same place for ever''. ''That's because none of the ever tried'' replied the horse. ''Why dont you become the first tree ever to do that?'' And so it happened. It was wonderful that night that the poplar walked proudly next to the white horse, under the perfectly round moon.Yes, there it was their friend the moon, who did her best to become brighter  for their sake that night

''I brought you a gift ,'' told them the moon .''I will sprinkle you with some magic dust and you will become of the same kind.You will no longer be different. And so you will be free to relish your love without any obstacles and problems.You choose: Would you like to live the rest of your lives like horses or like poplars?''And then as is always the case with two lovers so deeply in love as they were,they replied in one voice, as if they had read each other's thoughts:-''Thank you  moon for your gift, but we prefer to stay the way we are.We are perfectly happy as it is. Our love does not need your magic dust''.
-''I '',said  the poplar, ''know how much  horses like to run free, galloping away to their heart's content. It would be a shame to make a poplar of him,he would miss his former life so terribly. ''And I'',said the horse ''know how much my poplar loves swaying to the breeze under the stars.Yes,we 'd like to stay the way we are. I will always be coming back to you, my precious poplar,no matter how far away I go''

Before he could finish his words, the horse felt his feet growing taller and taller. And the poplar bent for the first time without any pain in her trunk.So they were able to have their first kiss ...enthusiastically applauded by the moon ...And that was the only night ever that the moon forgot to continue her journey through the horizon... ...

                                                  Love,peace and happy endings

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