Once upon a time a horse and a buffalo lived in a beautiful meadow up in the mountains. There was plenty of grass to eat and water to drink, and the two had become good friends.
But one year, there was no rain. The meadow stream dried up and the grass turned brown. Soon the horse and buffalo found themselves fighting over the scarce water and grass. One day, their daily fight became violent. The buffalo jabbed the horse with her sharp horns. The badly injured horse had no option but to flee.

A few days passed and the horse started feeling much better. He still had not forgotten how the buffalo had hurt him, and started planning his revenge. After much thought, he decided to approach a man and ask for his help. On hearing the horse’s tale, the man shrugged and said, “Well, you fought with each other, and you lost. Why should I get into this? Anyway, the buffalo has sharp horns. If she can hurt you, she will definitely kill me.” With that the man told the horse to leave him so he could get on with his work.

Once again the horse pleaded with the man. He said, “If you help me, I will help you capture the buffalo. Then you can keep her, and I get to have the meadow all to myself.”

The man laughed and said, “What will I do with a captured buffalo; it is of no use to me.”

The horse then told the man about the buffalo’s sweet milk. “It not only tastes very good, it is also very healthy. If you were to drink it every day you will become more powerful than all the animals in the jungle.” The man seemed impressed and agreed to help the horse. But the buffalo’s horns still worried him.

But the horse had a plan. “What you need,” he said, “is a big fat stick. Just climb onto my back and every time I run past the buffalo, you hit her with the stick. She cannot run as fast as me so she will not be able to catch us.” The plan sounded good so the man decided to go along with it.

The Horse's Revenge [Illustrations by: Amarjeet Malik]
The Horse’s Revenge [Illustrations by: Amarjeet Malik]

Next morning the man climbed onto the horse’s back, holding a big fat stick. When they found the buffalo in the meadow, the horse started to run past the buffalo. The plan was working. After a few hard hits with the stick, the buffalo fell to the ground. The man captured the buffalo and tied her to a tree next to his hut.

The horse was really happy now that he had got rid of the buffalo from the meadow. He thanked the man and was about to leave when he found that he too was tied to the tree. The horse turned to the man and said, “Dear friend, now that our work is over, you can release me. I can enjoy the meadow and you can enjoy the buffalo’s milk.

The man in turn said, “My dear friend, you have been of such help to me. You have not just taught me how to capture a buffalo but also taught me how to ride horses. Now that I know how useful the two of you are, how can I possibly let either of you go? I promise I will take good care of you.”

The sad horse felt betrayed. But after thinking for some time he realised that he was suffering because he had been petty and vengeful. By telling the secret of the buffalo’s milk to the man, he had betrayed his friend the buffalo. From that day on, he decided he would never again betray anybody’s trust, not even his captor’s, the man. Perhaps that is why horses (and dogs) are known as man’s trusted friends.

649 words | 7 minutes
Readability: Grade 5 (10-11 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #horses, #horns, #buffalo

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