The tale of the helpful horse by Melanie Sauter and Hans-Jürgen John

Once upon a time, there lived a rich man who owned twelve horses.

But surely one horse is enough to go riding? Why did he need twelve?

It’s just the way it was. Over the years, the rich man had gradually bought more and more horses. After all, Jesus had had twelve disciples, and so the rich man sometimes believed that there was something holy about the number twelve.

Sometimes?

Yes, belief is complicated like that: some people think that it helps to believe in something, and so they buy “belief” in the same way as they buy a Mercedes, although they would also reach their destination perfectly well in a Volkswagen or on a bike.

So, belief is like luxury?

Luxury is superfluous, and yet it exists. I don’t think that belief is superfluous. I know people who have a great deal of strength for themselves and others because they firmly believe in God; belief gives their life purpose and meaning. Others, though, believe because they think that this will help them progress more in business; while others think that it can’t hurt to believe. If God does exist and you believe, then you’ll be on the “safe side” later; if he doesn’t, then it makes little difference to those who don’t properly believe.

But let’s get back to our rich man. He loved horses more than anything. He was always saying: “They’re so big, but actually so small.”

But what did he mean by that? Nothing can be both big and small at the same time.

I think what he meant was that although they look big; they’re small because they can’t look after themselves. Of course, they used to be able to, way back before the world was dominated by people. Today, though, it’s very difficult for wild horses, with fences, streets, and houses all over the place. How can they be expected to survive all on their own in such an environment?

And so it’s a good thing that people take care of horses and groom them and feed them.

That’s how it is. Horses have always been man’s friend. They’ve served men as saddle horses in wars, helped man farm the land, and also pulled carriages and carts.

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© 2010 Melanie Sauter and Hans-Jürgen John