Brydy has a foal.
Domino and Brydy fled to the stable block adjoining the garden at the back of the house where they used to live. The two Shetland ponies had finally got fed up with the profusion of predators in the house, and the admission of Perdy into their household was the final straw. The horses walked out in protest. Brydy was glad she’d got out, for she was due to foal any day now, having gone to a donor stallion. Domino knew of the impending birth of the foal, but secretly wished there was another horse who could attend the foaling, as she was terrified of the thought of Brydy having a foal. Brydy went into labour one afternoon. Domino was grazing in the garden when she heard Brydy’s pained yell.
“the foal’s coming!” Terrified, domino ran to the stable, saw Brydy lying on the straw, then bolted towards the house, Brydy’s pained whinnying echoing round her head. Banging on the door with both forefeet, Domino wondered if anyone would come to Brydy’s aid, for both she and Brydy had said some horrible things to Leo about the,” paws,” as they’d collectively named the animals with claws and teeth. Now, with Brydy’s increasingly desperate cries echoing round the garden, Domino wondered if anyone would come.
Leo watched from the back window. Still angry with Brydy and Domino, he’d vowed never to help the horses ever again. He knew very well what was happening to Brydy, but maintained that Domino would have to come to them if she wanted help with Brydy’s foaling. He was grievously upset by the sentiments expressed by the horses, especially when his group had done nothing to harm Brydy or domino. Banging on the door made Leo change his mind on helping Domino, for it sounded urgent and, after all, the newborn foal shouldn’t suffer for its mother’s folly. Going to the door, Leo opened it and Domino squealed into his face!
“Brydy’s having her foal!” Leo desperately wanted to ask domino what she thought he should do about it, but he restrained himself.
“Right,” Leo said, “I’ll go find Elsa.” Padding slowly back to the living room, Leo found Elsa sleeping beside the radiator, as it was cold that day. Shaking her shoulder, Leo woke Elsa and told her what was happening. Elsa leapt to her paws and ran from the house!
“You’re so casual about the whole thing Leo!” Elsa snarled, “Brydy’s having her foal!” The door slammed behind Elsa, and Leo returned to his rug. he wanted nothing to do with the horses if he could help it. They’d isolated themselves from the community, and Leo couldn’t do anything about that.
Meanwhile, Elsa and Domino nearly scorched the grass as they tore over it to where Brydy lay in the stable. Elsa saw Brydy was lying on her side, each contraction causing her to squeal with pain and push hard to deliver her foal.
“Brydy,” Elsa said gently, “it’s Elsa, Everything’s fine, just try to relax as much as you can, let nature do its thing. Brydy opened her eyes and looked at Elsa.
“What were you thinking of domino!” Brydy yelled, “bringing a member of the paws here, what the hell are you on!”
“Elsa’s had cubs,” Domino protested, “Leo thought she’d know what to do!” Brydy’s reply was a pained whinny and more expulsive efforts as her foal’s head emerged into the outside world. Elsa lay down beside Brydy and began to stroke her neck and, on the assumption that if a paw massage worked to soothe Snowy’s pain, a hoof massage might do the same for Brydy, Elsa took Brydy’s left forefoot in her paws and began to stroke the sole of her hoof. Elsa had seen the sole of a horse’s foot, so knew what bit to stroke so Brydy could feel it. The massage seemed to work, for Brydy calmed down, and the foaling seemed to be easier on her. The pain was still there, but the panic wasn’t. Soon Brydy’s foal was born, a skewbald filly it was. After the foal’s birth Brydy lay for a minute, recovering from her labour. Elsa let go of Brydy’s hoof and got to her paws, the straw crackling and rustling beneath her considerable weight.
“you’ve got a beautiful filly Brydy,” Domino said softly, not wanting to speak too loudly, in case Elsa changed from a seemingly caring midwife to the raging menace she was said to be. Brydy got to her feet and nudged her filly foal onto her tiny hooves. Brydy looked at Elsa.
“Thank you,” she said, forgetting for a moment the hatred she had for the paws. Elsa smiled as she looked at the newborn filly, her eyes shining with an expression which Brydy knew from seeing other foaling attendants watching a newborn foal, an expression which said they wanted to protect the newborn foal as much as the foal’s mother did. Brydy cleaned her foal up, then looked at Elsa.
“Come,” she said, “come and meet the foal you helped into the world. Elsa padded across to the tiny filly, and the tiny creature hugged her.
“Your mum and I love you little one,” Elsa whispered. Domino spat on the straw with disgust.
“You’d love to eat the foal you mean!” she squealed.
“No Elsa, don’t!” Brydy whinnied, now very upset. Elsa, now angry with Domino, but not wishing to confirm her species reputation for chasing and eating horses, walked out of the stable as slowly as she could, trying not to burst into tears.
Making her way back to the house, Elsa let herself in, and miserably made her way upstairs, throwing herself onto the quilt on which Perdy, Kodiak, Arki and Brunetta lived. Seeing Elsa crashing onto the scene in a terrible state, Arki asked her what the matter was. Tears overwhelming her, Elsa blurted the whole story of Brydy’s foal’s birth and domino’s reaction to the presence of a lioness, even though that lioness had helped Brydy have her foal. Arki took Elsa’s paw.
“don’t worry about domino,” she said, “how was Brydy towards you.”
“Brydy was fine,” Elsa sniffed.
The sound of stumbling hooves grew louder, and before they knew it, Brydy’s filly came tearing into the room, almost launching herself at Elsa!
“I wanted to see you again,” the filly panted. Elsa embraced the filly tenderly.
“thank you little one,” she whispered. The filly nuzzled Elsa’s ear. Brydy burst in then.
“Where the hell have you been!” she demanded of her foal.
“I came to find Elsa,” the filly replied. Brydy softened a little.
“I was worried about you!” she snapped, still furious with her foal for running off, but glad she’d made contact with Elsa.
“A tiny snow leopard cub, or that’s what she said she was, let me into the house mum,” the filly said.
“Whitie most likely,” Brydy thought, “that cub gets her paws into everything.”
“Now you’re safe,” Brydy said, “I think we’d better name you little one.”
“As a member of the “paws,” I’ll keep my mouth shut,” Elsa said.
“What name did you have in mind for my foal Elsa?” Brydy asked.
“Rosie,” Elsa replied.
“I like it,” the filly said, “Rosie, yes, what a nice name!” The filly was known as Rosie ever after.
Brydy led Rosie away, and Elsa, after being hugged one last time by Arki, and told not to worry about what Domino thought, left also.
While Brydy and Rosie left for the stable, Elsa flopped down beside Tommy Trip.
“How was it?” Tommy asked, knowing things weren’t too good from the way Elsa had fled upstairs.
“the foaling went fine,” Elsa said, “but as for domino’s behaviour, I’d rather not talk about it, she reduced me to tears.”
“you let a horse upset you Elsa?” Tommy asked, “I thought you were tougher than that.”
“it was her assertion I would eat Rosie which upset me most of all,” Elsa mewed.
“Who’s Rosie?” Tommy asked.
“Rosie’s Brydy’s foal,” Elsa replied, “she’s beautiful.” Tommy saw the look in Elsa’s eyes, and it was the same one as she had when looking at Tembi or Tembo, Elsa loved Rosie like she was her own.
“Domino told you she thought you’d eat Rosie?” Snowy asked incredulously, “what a load of rubbish!”
“I wanted to tell her that,” Elsa said, “but I was so upset I daren’t say anything to her. I just walked out of the stable, or I would have probably chased Domino round the garden.”
Snowy took Elsa’s forepaw in both her large padded paws and began to stroke it. Elsa snuggled up to snowy, the huge tigress purring contentedly as she felt Elsa cuddle up to her. Snowy massaged all four of Elsa’s paws, the lioness closing her eyes and relaxing, concentrating on the exquisite pleasure of the paw massage. Elsa’s paws relaxed in hers, snowy explored each paw in turn, checking them for injuries. Finding none, snowy massaged the pads of Elsa’s paws, the lioness trying not to press her paws into those of the snow tigress, as she knew that wasn’t the done thing. All too soon, Elsa’s paw massage was over, and snowy settled herself. Elsa looked at the snow tigress’s face.
“Can I snowy?” She asked.
“Can you what?” Snowy asked.
“massage your paws, I’d like to, but if you don’t want me to, I’ll understand.” Snowy rolled onto her side, waving a paw at Elsa.
“here are my paws, all four of them,” snowy said. Elsa smiled, stroking each one of snowy Half-tail’s huge fat paws.
“you have such lovely paws snowy,” Elsa said. Snowy wiggled the toes of her left forepaw, the one Elsa was stroking.
“Thanks,” snowy said, working her paw into Elsa’s. Elsa smiled as she felt Snowy’s pads against her own.
Snowy purred contentedly as Elsa worked on her paws. Once the massage was over, Elsa left snowy sleeping peacefully.
Elsa, her paws still tingling from Snowy’s massage, padded across the carpet towards Theo, who smiled at her. Theo had large paws, and Elsa enjoyed the massage he gave. Tembi watched her mother and Theo playing tag, the two adult lions rolling on the carpet, each swiping at and grabbing the other’s paws, Elsa winning when she managed to get hold of Theo’s left forepaw and tickle his pads. Theo laughed helplessly as Elsa tickled him. Tembi joined in, tickling Theo’s hind paws, and Theo knew he couldn’t fight them. Laughing helplessly, Theo wriggled and twisted, pawing at Elsa and Tembi with his free fore and hind paws, remembering not to extend his claws so he didn’t harm them. The three lions only stopped their fun when Theo had got Tembi and Elsa back by tickling their paws. By way of finishing the game, Tembi and Elsa hugged Theo tenderly. Theo rubbed noses with both Elsa and Tembi, but he held onto Tembi with both forepaws, hugging her to him until she curled up and closed her eyes.
“I’ll leave you two to it,” Elsa said. Theo and Tembi smiled, Tembi snuggling closer to Theo.
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Martin Wilsher © 2010
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