3123 CR 2407 Rusk, TX
Gypsy Prince War Horse
GYPSY PRINCE WAR HORSE
Inspired by the is the loss of over ten million horses during World War II, Gypsy Prince War Horse is the story of a young horse, born in Germany in the `1930's just as the Nazis come to power. Like his mother before him, Gypsy Prince is purchased by the German army and sent to the eastern front with a horse-drawn artillery unit. He fights to survive the Russian winters, the Battle of Moscow, and escapes from Stalingrad, only to find himself sent to the Normandy coast on the eve of the D-Day invasion. Lost and confused by a war in which horses have become obsolete, he sets out across war torn Europe in search of the only home he remembers.
Published by Royal Fireworks Press
Born To War
He was born some time before dawn on the lower reaches of the
south meadow, and by the time the sun had
made silver of the morning mist, he stood on unsteady legs with droplets of cold
dew shining on his back. More from
ancient instinct than scent or sight, he learned to nurse and tasted his first
warm milk. The wind came, gentle as his
mother's tongue, but strong with the smell of young grass and spring flowers,
and the mist drifted before it. He saw
the rolling green pastures, white fences, stone barns, and big trees along the
river, but his first real memory—the
one that would remain with him until the end—was of the castle. White gold in
the morning sun, it perched on a
rocky hill across the river. Shining stone walls, battlements, and towers with
pointed roofs seemed to float above the
low, drifting mist.
Old Josef, the baron's stable master, found them. For a
long time he stood looking sadly at the thin, gray mare.
"Brunhilda has dropped her last foal," he said as the newborn colt eyed him
suspiciously, then backed into his mother
and fell. Josef smiled and kept his distance as he circled the pair, nodding as
he talked to the blond-haired boy with
him. "A fair colt, but small."
"Her last?" the boy asked.
Josef moved closer to the old mare as the colt
regained his legs and tried to hide behind her. "Almost thirty years
old she is. I told the baron it was foolish to breed her again, but he wanted
one more foal, an heir for Black
Prince." He pulled gently on Brunhilda's halter, but she did not move. "Come
along now, old lady, we have to
get you up to the barns."
The boy's interest remained with the colt. "He is all
black, except for that white mark on his face. It looks like
a lightning bolt." Josef pulled again on the mare's bridle, she took one
uncertain step, and then another. The colt
bounded away, trying out new legs which seemed too long and not properly
attached. He fell almost at once, struggled to his feet, and stood awkwardly for
a moment before running and falling again.
"All beginnings are hard," Josef called after him, "but
soon you will find your legs, and then you will run like
"Do you think he will make a war horse and pull the big
guns?" the boy asked.
Josef snorted, and his smile vanished. He frowned
sharply at the boy from behind bushy, gray eyebrows.
"Better for all of us if he pulls a beer wagon in Munich." Josef studied
the colt and spoke more to himself than to
the boy. "He is small, too small, too refined, I think."
"Our new army will need many horses," the boy insisted.
"Everyone says so."
Josef's eyes were on the mare now. She limped with
every step, and her breathing had become hard. "Yes, Karl,
that is what everyone is saying, everyone who wastes their time in the beer
halls listening to that dummkopf Hitler."
The colt ran a little smoother now as he galloped in a large circle around his
The boy was shocked. "You must call him
either 'Chancellor Hitler/ or the Fuhrer. Haven't you read his
Brunhilda now refused to go farther. She whinnied, a
weak, desperate cry, and the colt returned to her side,
and began to nurse. Josef petted her neck as he looked at the colt. "Drink how,
while there is still time."
"The book, is called Mein Kampf. Everyone is supposed
to read it, you know."
Josef sighed heavily. "What I know is, since long
before that castle was built, we have bred fine horses in
this valley. Some became cavalry mounts, some pulled the wagons and the cannons
when King Ludwig ruled Bavaria
and we went to war with the Prussians. They did the same for Bismark, and then
Kaiser Wilhelm." He began to count
on his fingers. "We have fought the French twice, or was it three times?" He
shrugged. "Then the Russians, the
English, even the Americans. And not one bit of good came from any of it."
"But the Fuhrer is going to make Germany great again."
Josef shook his head. "Already he has made Germany a
nation of young fools."
A warning frown was on Karl's face. "I worry about you,
Herr Stable Master. You are old, perhaps too old to
change," he said, "and Germany is changing. There may not be a place for those
who do not change with it."
Josef's eyes flashed as he turned slowly. "Not so much
change I think for you today," he managed to say
evenly. "You will get a shovel and dig a hole on that hill."
Anger briefly flared in Karl's pale blue eyes as man
and boy faced each other. Then Karl's gaze shifted first
to the hill and then to Brunhilda. "There?" he asked. "But,
that is where we bury old horses when..."
"Yes, yes, that is where we bury old horses when they
die. Now, get to work." As the boy turned and sulked
toward the barns, Josef called after him. "And see what the Fuhrer's book has to
say about digging graves."
The baron arrived on a sleek, white stallion. The colt
watched as he dismounted and approached, bringing with
him the new scents of tobacco and leather. "Most interesting," he said as he
squinted with a monocle over
his left eye. "Some of what I sec, 1 like, but more I do not. How is the mare?"
Josef shook his head. "She is going; I do not think she
will reach the barns." Brunhilda whinnied again. Her
front legs folded, and with a sigh, she lay down and rolled slowly onto her
The baron removed his monocle and cleaned it with a
handkerchief. "1 suppose I must send someone for the
veterinarian. He won't be happy about being called before mass on a Sunday
Josef sat down and took the mare's head in his lap.
"What is there to save but the colt?" he said.
The baron nodded. "We'll need goat's milk." When Josef
did not get up, he added, "1 will stay with her if you
The old man's jaw tightened a little, but he did not
look up. "1 stayed with her when they strafed the regiment
at Verdun." he said and stroked the mare's neck, "and I led her through the
poison gas when we crossed the Somme.
I will stay with her now."
"Yes, yes you did," the baron answered with a nod
before he mounted his stallion and rode away.
The colt tried to nurse, nuzzling his mother's side
again and again, and when that failed, he cried loud impatient
whinnies and licked at his mother's face. "She's gone now," Josef whispered.
"You can't understand, but it is
said that with each death there is a birth, and you, I fear, are like your
mother, born to war."