Icelandic Horses

I like to think that all Hooting Yard readers pay assiduous attention to the Comments appended to postings. However, just in case some of you do not read them avidly, I have plucked the following Comment from its proper place and am posting it here. Why? Because it is particularly splendid, a model of what a Hooting Yard Comment can be. This is Fitzmaurice Trenery on By Pointy Town Horse-Trough I Sat Down And Wept:

Rhodes Gunnarsson, the noted Icelandic farrier-in-exile, favoured the enclosing of the horse in wood on all sides with perhaps ten inches to spare (effectively a horse-shaped box, or horse-box) which was airtight apart from a U-shaped hole at the top, into which enough horseshoes were fed to fill the remaining horseless cavity of the box up to about halfway.

It is a testament to the Icelandic horse’s unflappable character that during this whole process the box’s occupant remained quiet. Confused perhaps, but not alarmed. Even when the whole apparatus was winched up in the air and dropped into a bronze house-sized steam-tombola the stolid pony retained its quizzical solemnity. Not even after the tombola was activated and the box rolled and banged and crashed around inside did the horse cry out or make any attempt to escape the fearsome clangour.

And when after one week the tombola was finally halted, and the horse-box emerged from the chute, and the box was dismantled, the horse stood there, serenely, with what might be described as a horsey smirk. And the only horseshoes left were those on the feet of the horse, and they produced a brilliant shine the like of which challenged the moon, made night into day, and drew delighted crowds from the neighbouring valleys.

Sadly, Gunnarsson fell foul of the ancient Icelandic law when, on returning from a gymkhana in Norway with a clutch of trophies won by the seemingly magical prowess his horseshoes conferred on their wearers, he was halted at customs. Being blind and deaf since the age of five, he was oblivious of the fact that centuries-old Icelandic legislation prevents any Icelandic horse from returning to the island once it has been taken to another country.

Nobody knows what became of Gunnarsson after his clash with the authorities. Some say that his method of shoeing gave his ponies the ability to gallop over water, and that he plies the seas looking for sailors who need ironwork replacing – a bedstead perhaps, or a front gate. And some say he floats still, on a raft made of bronze, off the coast of Iceland, with his horses, and their trophies, and their shiny, shiny shoes.

Incidentally, eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that the title By Pointy Town Horse-Trough I Sat Down And Wept is not in the same format as all the other headings in this blog, and nor does the piece appear to belong to any of the Hooting Yard Categories listed to your right, despite two such categories being assigned to it. The best minds have been drafted in to resolve this dilemma, which resists all attempts to correct it. The piece has been posted and re-posted at least a dozen times, text coding has been stripped out, amended, and re-inserted, but all in vain. Such incomprehensible inconsistencies give me sleepless nights. I am not joking.

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