The Horse and the Ramblodon - A Hammerholt Fable
Every Hammerholt child grows up hearing stories of the looming Gloom. These stories remind them of the Gloom's ever-present danger at Realm’s borders. Many have even heard the grand stories of heroism from the ancient mountain guard. But of all the great stories of the Blue Kingdom, the fable of the Horse and Ramblodon is the most deeply ingrained in the very fiber of Hammerholters. Sheltered in their mountain outposts, the guard shares the story to this day as a reminder.
Let me share the story, which every Hammerholt child knows by heart.
Ralph the ramblodon was no different than his fellow dinosaur friends. He enjoyed munching on the occasional blue cabbage. And his turtle shell had only the typical amount of moss and vegetation compared to the other ramblodons. Well, he did have that bush with the family of thrush whistle birds. So that was unique!
One day Ralph was minding his own business and taking a nap, as all ramblodons are want to do. Then a small herd of Hammerholt horses wandered into his village clearing. Ralph was abruptly awoken from his sleep by the sound of clomping hooves from above. That was when he discovered that one of the horses had climbed on his back!
Sleeping or not, Ralph spoke in his typically slow, ramblodon manner. "Hey, what are you doing up there?"
"Ah! Who said that?" The horse leaped off his shelly perch, startled. "Oh, I see it’s just a silly rambler. Don’t mind us, sleepy. My friends were about to tell me how amazing I am." The horse whipped his head up into the air in a proud, pompous manner.
With a yawn, Ralph spoke, "I don’t see anything special. Your mane is just as blue as the others. And you have four legs just like me." Ralph slowly displayed each of his stubby legs. "So what makes you so great?"
Another horse, aghast at Ralph's foolish questioning, responded. "How dare you! Do you not know who you are talking to? That’s Hafferty, the Cloud Chase champion!"
"That is correct! None faster, swifter, or better than me, ol’ Hafferty!"
"Eh, whatever. Being fast never got anyone anywhere special in life." The unimpressed Ralph drawled on.
"Oh yeah!" Hafferty whinnied in offense. "If that’s so, what do you think about this!"
With a leap, the horse jumped back on Ralph’s shell and began dancing a jig. His hooves clicked and clacked along in the fury of his dancing.
"Stop it!" Cried Ralph.
"Not until you apologize!"
"No! Quit stomping around up there."
Ralph tried pawing the horse off, but his scaly limbs were too short. That’s when the thrush-whistle family began chirping in panic and flew away in fear.
"Please stop." Ralph declared slowly but emphatically, while he tucked his limbs into his shell causing his body to rock and sway.
Hafferty skipped on his shell with a laughing whinny.
Frustrated, Ralph glared at the horse through sleepy eyes. "I’ll show you who's better. I challenge you to a race!"
Laughter exploded from the herd of horses. "You? What’s a bumbling rambler going to do against a champion like me!"
"Well, I figured I win," Ramph said, maddened because his friends, the thrush-whistle family, had been scared away. "The first one to the top of the mountain is the true champion of Hammerholt."
"You're on!" The Hammerholt horses, in their pride, can never pass up a challenge.
"Ok. We race to that mountain top there." Ralph pointed to a peak three mountains away.
"Sure! Let’s do this." Hafferty said, stretching his legs. "No reason to waste time. Harris, give us a count down!"
"Ok. Ready, set, go!"
Hafferty disappeared, leaving only dust and leaves floating in the air. And then Ralph took his first step. The race was on!
"This is going to be too easy," Hafferty thought to himself as he passed the first mountain. "I’ll be there in no time, and that ridiculous rambler will still be stuck there, wishing he had gone back to sleep. Speaking of sleep, This is getting pretty boring, and a nap doesn’t sound too bad right now."
Hafferty leaped up a small boulder and looked back. Ralph had only just left the clearing.
"The sun feels quite nice up here." Hafferty stretched and flipped his mane back. He looked behind him and could not see any sign of Ralph. "Yeah, a nap couldn’t hurt." And so Hafferty knelt down and began to sleep.
After some time, the sun had set. And Hafferty continued to sleep, dreaming of winning races and receiving some delicious mountain oats. With the warmth of the morning sun, Hafferty finally cracked open his eyes.
"Oh no! It’s morning!" Hafferty jolted up. Realizing his mistake, he began sprinting through the tight, blue mountain passes.
Faster, faster, faster! Truly, no horse had run faster than him at that moment. It had to have been some sort of record. He made his way around the last few turns of the mountain trail.
"Who am I kidding?!" Hafferty started talking to himself, pleased and impressed by his speed. "Look at me. I'm still going to win this race by miles! After I am the Cloud Chase champion! I am unstoppable! I am uncatchable! I am—"
"—in last place," Ralph the ramblodon spoke through a sly grin.
That’s when Hafferty saw them.
The other horses and Ralph stood on the mountaintop. Hafferty’s friends were confused at how this happened. Ralph, on the other hand, relaxed and splayed out on his belly. His whistle-thrush friends had returned to their ramblodon home and began to chirp in victory.
Slow and steady wins the race. Ralph the ramblodon knew that well. Just as ever, Hammerholter knows it too.
"Slow and steady wins the race."
"Strong and steadfast saves the Realm."
Always choose to be like the ramblodon, not the horse.