Winter Solstice/Christmas Animal Stories
Ancient legends abound with tales of animals that gain the power to speak on cold winter nights. It certainly seems they understand and respond to the humans they love.
Many have tried to test the truth of the ancient tales, none with more positive results than Harvey, the man who loved his Ox. Harvey grew up on a farm and played with a baby Ox before he was old enough to take on the responsibility of chores. He and Ox ran in the fields, hunting wild berries, swimming across streams, and leaping around. They played together from morning to night. Later as Harvey began to take on chores, Ox would pull a cart to carry fruit and vegetables harvested for the supper table. Harvey used the cart to go to school each day and Ox would wait outside the school window until it was time for the return trip home. They were inseparable. Harvey became a man and Ox grew large and strong. Harvey used Ox to plow fields and pull heavy wagons filled with produce to market. Ox was a tool used to make the farm work better, but his life was good. He was well-fed and had a warm barn in which he could rest at night. Harvey remembered to scratch his former playmate’s ears once in a while.
Harvey was dismayed one winter morning when he went to the barn to waken Ox for a morning run into town. The Ox lay on its side and couldn’t get up. Harvey used a horse to ride into town, but was saddened by the thought that Ox might be getting too old to spend days with him out in the world. “I just wish I knew if the Ox knows that I still love him like I did when we were young … and if he still loves me.” Ox’s stall was filled with the sweetest hay, and Harvey came by each day to scratch his ears and rub his back for they had learned to speak to one another in the language of love when they were young. And if old wives tales are to be believed, that animals can talk on cold winter nights, then Harvey and Ox shared many a fine story that winter on the farm.