A bluebird sat on a fencepost,

whistling a merry tune.

A chipmunk chewed on a cloverleaf

as he scampered through the dew.

But all was lost on Beauty

as she stared across the dale,

and watched a team of horses

pull a wagon up the hill.


“What a pitiful kind of horse I am!”

she thought with a wistful sigh.

“I do no work to earn my keep,

I just watch the world go by!

Day after day I whirl and spin

‘til I think I will go mad.

And all the while real horses run

and frolic in the grass!”

Her longing gaze swept past the road

to a meadow across the way,

where a small white pony ran about

and munched on fragrant hay.

All of a size the ponies were,

both sported coats of white.

Their eyes were black, their noses pink,

their hooves well-shaped and light.

But one possessed the gift of life

as she ate the meadow hay.

The other was made from a Linwood tree

and painted with colors gay.

The pony’s name was Flicka

and she had her dreams as well;

for she often thought how it would feel

to live on a carousel.

“Just think how wonderful it would be

to spin while the music plays!

To run in the midst of twinkling lights

And wear such bright array!

If only I could make a wish,

I’d trade with the white one there;

who looks like me, only grander far

than an ordinary mare!”


Now it happened on that very day

a wood elf happened to be

exactly in the middle,

precisely in between;

As the painted pony wished a wish

that was echoed from below

by the softly breathing real live horse,

her black eyes all aglow.


The Wood Elf clapped his hands before,

he clapped them twice behind.

Three times he clapped them over his head

as the wishes flew entwined.


“So! Let it be!” the Wood Elf cried.

Let’s see how they behave

when each to the other’s world is thrown,

and now, the switch is made!

“Twill last until each spurns the life

she prized above her own.

But each must wish in a moment’s time,

as they wished here, both alone!”


Beauty found herself knee-deep

in clover, and she knew

somehow a new dimension

had opened to her view.

She saw away upon the hill the carousel and park,

with pennants flying in the breeze

and horses light and dark.

She trembled with excitement,

prepared to take a step,

but tripped and tumbled to the ground,

at walking, quite inept!

It took some time to learn to use

the body she had found,

but soon her hooves were pounding hard

upon that meadow ground.

She tasted water from a spring

flavored with leaves of mint.

She ran a race with a butterfly,

just for the fun of it.

No matter that each time she ran

she circled roundabout,

or that she had a habit of jumping up and down.

She ran so long and hard that day

her legs began to cramp;

her tail was full of cockleburs,

she’d been bitten by an ant.

She waded in a spring fed stream,

but slipped and fell in the mud.

Her shiny coat was soiled and dull

with no one to give it a rub.


At close of day she looked around

with eyes grown newly wise.

“Some parts of this new life I see,

are not so very nice!

I kind of miss the twinkling lights

and the children on my back.

And I especially miss the nice young man

who gave my daily bath!”

She remembered how he always waxed

her saddle ‘til it shone;

and poilished her eyes so they gave out sparks,

but now she stood alone.

No one came to pat her,

no chubby arms took hold.

no bobbing curls tickled her nose,

she missed the music bold.

The sun went down,

the air turned chill as Beauty took account

of how it really felt to be

away from carousel.


Meanwhile, Flicka was spinning around

upon that magic wheel,

with fancy trappings upon her back

and a similar tale to tell.

She’d found herself transported

to a frozen world of wood,

with never a chance to stretch her legs –

she’d never understood –

that all the dancing movement

came not from the mounts themselves,

but from a great machine that held

the ponies in its spell.


She could only see the meadow

for a second now and then,

and the fragrance of sweet clover

she longed to smell again

was lost in the smell of dust and oil,

in cotton candy clouds.

And, she found when she tried to whinny,

she could not make a sound!


“I threw away my freedom

for a dream I thought was grand.

But now I know how fine it was

to run across the land!

To be so close to grass and sky

that I could taste and feel

the sweetness of the morning dew

and earth beneath my heels!”


She almost wished the wish it took

to change their roles again;

but the lights blinked on and a laughing child

climbed on to take a spin.


Many days went slowly by

while the ponies longed for home.

and each one vowed she’d never ask

for a fairer field to roam.

No one came to the meadow gate

to take sad Beauty out.

She was no more useful here,

she knew, than spinning round about.

“At least up there I charmed a child

      as he rode upon my back;

And I liked the sound of squeaky boards

on the undulating track!”


The Wood Elf watched the ponies

as he passed them once again;

but no one saw him save the birds

as he walked from now to then.

At last he sat on Flicka’s back

one night when all was dark;

and told a secret that made her glad

before he left the park.


Next day she watched each time around

to see what Beauty did.

And, sure enough, there came a time

when she stood with lifted head.

She gazed so sadly up the hill

toward Flicka and the rest,

that Flicka knew she was thinking about

the life she dearly missed.


“It’s time!” the pony whispered,

and she wished with all her might.

The Wood Elf smiled to see at last

the problem had been set right.

Each pony found her special place

and stood contented there.

And neither ever wished again

another’s lot to share.
Now, if you ride on Beauty,

you just might get to see

how quietly happy she’s become

and how content to be

a pony on the carousel, a ticket for a ride,

giving dreams a place to grow

for each happy little child.


c.1991 Donna Swanson

All rights reserved



About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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8 Responses to BEAUTY’S WISH

  1. very creative and thoughtful tale.

    magic is gold in stories.

  2. Joe Zakarian says:

    Nothing beats a pony ride on the carousel, unles it’s a ride on a real live pony! And to catch a gold ring!

  3. Kay Salady says:

    I still love to ride the carousel. “giving dreams a place to grow” Wonderful, Donna!

  4. Oh, how wonderful… I love the imagery you’ve captured here 🙂

  5. Thank you all for your kind words. They are very much appreciated!

  6. love it,

    everyone wants to have a ride from time to time,

  7. Beautiful story, loved the imagery you wrote, and the images included fit perfectly. Thanks!

    • dswan2 says:

      Thank you, John, I visited your blog but my eyes are blurred from reading so i will revisit it in the morning. Looks interesting.

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