Tales from the Sanctuary

Simon’s Rainbow by Fred E. Bear

It was a fine Spring morning and Major and Simon the Shire Horses couldn't wait to be let out of their stables to their turnout area because they knew that there would be two huge piles of carrots to tuck into. They didn’t have to wait long as Fiona soon appeared to dish out breakfast to everyone down the stables. No sooner than they finished their breakfast their stable doors were opened and they both walked down through the stable block and out into the yard to where their carrots were waiting.

Simon had now been at the Sanctuary for 18 months and he had had a lovely time meeting new friends and also he had enjoyed the food as he was quite thin when he arrived, But not now! He must have put on about 150 pounds in weight and he looked wonderful for it too. His coat was so shiny for a shire horse of his age – nearly 20 years now.

As he tucked into he carrots he had the most strange feeling  - he couldn’t quite put his hoof on what it was, but it soon passed as the day wore on. At dusk, he and Major both walked back to their stables where they were tucked in for the night – together with a nice bucket of clean water, fresh hay, more food and another bucket of carrots ! They had both had a lovely day.

It wasn’t long before both he and Major decided to go to sleep. Major was a funny horse as he always slept lying down, but Simon preferred to stand – as do most horses. As Simon stood dozing thinking about the day, he had that funny feeling again – the same one from earlier, but as he pondered what it might be he dozed & then nodded off into sleep.

At about 3 am, Simon work with a start, he had a sharp pain in his chest, and he fell suddenly to the floor of his stable, such was the surprise of the pain. After a few moments the pain subsided & he soon felt much better. He just got to his feet and then had a real shock! There was a great big white shire horse in his stable with him! “Goodness” said Simon, what has happened Major? He had presumed that the big white horse was Major from the next stable. “Have you broken through into my stable?” continued Simon. But as he stood there he glanced left into Majors stable & there was Major fast asleep with his head on his pile of hay. Simon turned back to the stranger and was just about to speak when he noticed out of the corner of his eye yet another horse in his stable! “This was really too much” he thought. The third horse was not standing, but was slumped at the back of the stable. “He doesn’t look too good” said Simon to the big white horse, forgetting his fear. “Who is he?”

The big white shire horse spoke for the first time and in a gentle reassuring voice said “Don’t be afraid Simon, don’t you know who it is?”. Simon walked towards the horse who was slumped at the back of the stable. As he got near him he stopped short. Starring hard he saw with amazement that he was looking at himself. “It’s, it’s me” he said, “but...” The big white shire horse interrupted him speaking gently saying. “Yes Simon, that was you, but you have no use for that body anymore, you have a new one now !”.

Simon was very surprised at these words and didn’t really understand. He felt like he always felt, he was still in his body as far as he was concerned.

“Come follow me” said the big white shire horse, and promptly walked out ‘through’ Simon’s stable door – Simon was astonished. “I can’t do that” he called after the big white shire horse who was now making his way down the corridor. “Try it” he called back. Simon gingerly placed one of his hooves against the stable door and to his immense surprise it went through. “Goodness me!” said Simon, and taking a deep breath he walked forward through the door. As he went through he sensed nothing although his tummy felt a bit strange as it passed through.

All around everything was quiet in the stables – as you would expect for 3 am. All the other horses were asleep, some of the Turkeys were awake, but they seemed not to notice as the big white shire horse and Simon made their way down the corridor. Minki the cat awoke, and she could see the two horses making their way along. Simon whinneyed at her & she meowed back.

Passing right through the bottom stable door, Simon was startled to see that it was now daytime & all the horses were out grazing in the fields. “What’s going on?” he asked. “Don’t worry” said the big white shire horse, everything will come clear to you soon”. Simon suddenly saw Fiona in Dollys paddock taking her rug off whilst Dolly tucked into a big bucket of carrots. He whinneyed to them, but they didn’t seem to hear. “Come on” said the big white shire horse breaking suddenly into a trot. Simon found himself trotting along behind down the path and into the fields. “Let’s canter” said the big white shire horse. “I don’t know about that” said Simon, “I’m a bit old for that”. He recalled how they had used to make him canter at the riding school with terribly heavy people on his back. How it had hurt his back and his poor legs. How he had longed to be retired and live in a field and have nice food & this is just what had happened to him when he was rescued by Fiona. Now he was contemplating cantering again ! Whilst he had been daydreaming the big white shire horse had already started to canter and was now far ahead in the meadow. Simon started to canter. Wow, he felt great, this was fantastic. Faster and faster he went and soon caught up with the big white shire horse. Next thing he knew they were both galloping, flat out – this was awesome, Simon had never run as fast as this even when he was a youngster. He seemed tireless, the wind rushed through his mane and his tail whipped in the breeze behind. For ages and ages they galloped, through meadows and valleys, in and out of woods and across ice cold streams.

Eventually Simon called out “this is wonderful, I have never places like these”. “Oh” replied the big white shire horse, “these are as nothing compared with the place we are heading for – beyond your wildest dreams”.

“Where are we going then”? questioned Simon “We are looking for a rainbow” replied the big white shire horse. Even as he said it, Simon felt a drop of rain on his back. The Sun was still shining brightly, as the rain started to fall. “There, over there” cried the big white shire horse. Simon looked, and sure enough ahead of them they could see a rainbow forming.

Simon became conscious that there were other animals about too, all running, scampering, or crawling towards the rainbow, all together with their guardian angels by their sides too.

“What happens when we get there?” asked Simon. “You’ll soon find out” answered the big white shire horse. Simon reached the rainbow and he was bathed in coloured light. First red, then orange, then as the yellow light fell onto his back he realised that he had started to fly up into the colours of the rainbow. He panicked at first but soon realised that all around him, the other animals were flying up into the rainbow too. With the big white shire horse by his side he turned and asked “Will be there be anybody there I know?” the big white shire horse smiled at him and said gently “you’ll find out soon now” and together, they rose into eternity.

God bless you Simon