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A Night Among The Horses

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A Night Among The Horses

by Djuna Barnes

Genre: Romance, Suspense
Setting: America, Fantasy, Rural
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 30 Minutes, 45 Minutes, 60 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising

EXCERPT:

And now he knew why he had come. He was with his horses again. His eyes, pressed against the bars, stared in. The black stallion in the lead had been his special pet, a rough animal, but kindly, knowing. And here they were once more, tearing up the grass, galloping about in the night like a ball-room full of real people, people who wanted to do things, who did what they wanted to do.

He began to crawl through the bars, slowly, deftly, and when half way through he paused, thinking.

Presently he went on again, and drawing himself into the corral, his hat and cane thrown in before him, he lay there mouth to the grass.

They were still running, but less madly, one of them had gone up the Willow Road leading into a farther pasture, in a flare of dust, through which it looked immense and faint.

On the top of the hill three or four of the horses were standing, testing the weather. He would mount one, he would ride away, he would escape. And his horses, the things he knew, would be his escape.

Bareback, he thought, would be like the days when he had taken what he could from the rush of the streets, joy, exhilaration, life, and he was not afraid. He wanted to stand up, to cry aloud.



COMMENTS:

This is an amazing story, and belongs in some Best Short Story anthologies. It’s concerned with a young horse-groomer who’s fallen for a girl above his station in life, and on the night before his wedding, he questions whether he’d be happier staying with the horses. The prose is beautiful, the images are haunting. There’s not a lot of action, and you would have to consider how to handle all the inner monologue…but there’s something magical here.


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