When I first read “The Fly-Away Horse” by Eugene Fields it set my imagination alight! I found it in an old book of poems at my grandmother’s house. I don’t remember how old I was (pretty young), and I thought it would be an amazing thing to be able to fly away to faraway lands on the back of a winged horse. Which was only encouraged further by reruns of Terrytoons’s cartoon Luno the White Stallion.
When I was a little older, I would sit out in the pasture on my mare’s back while she grazed, book in hand (she was so patient with me!). I would do as much daydreaming as I would do reading, and came up with reams of stories many of which are still filed away in my file cabinet today.
Many of the books that I read at my grandmother’s house were lost over the years, but I still have that book of poems in my library. Published in the 1920s, it is over a hundred years old now and is a little worse for wear. But I wouldn’t give it up for the world, although I may have to find someone to help me restore or preserve it fairly soon. Thankfully, it was not the only one I managed to keep, and I have made a point to collect many of the books I remember reading at her house. Most are extremely old-fashioned by today’s standards, but they carry many memories for me. It has also been very amusing when rereading them to realize just how much of the story I embellished in my head when I was young.
I recently saw this journal in the bookstore and I fell in love with it. When I showed my husband he bought it for me, wonderful man that he is. He asked me what I planned to write in it. I didn’t have an answer at the time, but I think I do now. I am going to write all the things that bring a sense of wonder with them and set me to daydreaming. Song lyrics, poems, movie quotes, scenes from books… that is what I will write in there. And I think it only right that the Fly-Away Horse be the first entry.
The Fly-Away Horse by Eugene Fields Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse-- Perhaps you have seen him before; Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept Through the moonlight that floats on the floor. For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright, That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane, Is up on his heels and away! The moon in the sky, As he gallopeth by, Cries: "Oh! What a marvelous sight!" And the Stars in dismay Hide their faces away In the lap of old Grandmother Night. It is yonder, out yonder, the Fly-Away Horse Speedeth ever and ever away-- Over meadows and lane, over mountains and plains, Over streamlets that sing at their play; And over the sea like a ghost sweepeth he, While the ships they go sailing below, And he speedeth so fast that the men on the mast Adjudge him some portent of woe. "What ho, there!" they cry, As he flourishes by With a whisk of his beautiful tail; And the fish in the sea Are as scared as can be, From the nautilus up to the whale! And the Fly-Away Horse seeks those far-away lands You little folk dream of at night-- Where candy-trees grow, and honey-brooks flow, And corn-fields with popcorn are white; And the beasts in the wood are ever so good To children who visit them there-- What glory astride of a lion to ride, Or to wrestle around with a bear! The monkeys, they say: "Come on, let us play," And they frisk in the coconut-trees: While the parrots, that cling To the peanut-vines sing Or converse with comparative ease! Off! scamper to bed -- you shall ride him to-night! For, as soon as you've fallen asleep, With a jubilant neigh he shall bear you away Over forest and hillside and deep! But tell us, my dear, all you see and you hear In those beautiful lands over there, Where the Fly-Away Horse wings his far-away course With the wee one consigned to his care. Then grandma will cry In amazement: "Oh, my!" And she'll think it could never be so. And only we two Shall know it is true-- You and I, little precious! shall know!