Where are all the little people?

One of our supporters, Lynne Chitty, has written a short story, inspired by the current lockdown situation.  It seems so fitting for how we are feeling at the Sanctuary right now, so we wanted to share it with you all.

Thank you Lynne - and we hope you all enjoy it!

Where are all the little people?

Soldier was sad.  Not completely sad, but probably he thought his sadness level was hovering at about 65%.  He still had food and a warm stable, he still had his friends around him and the sun was still bright in the sky, warming the fields and making his coat shine.

But he missed the little people that used to come and see him.  Where had they all gone?  Why didn't they come and wave and smile at him anymore?  He loved listening to their laughter and watching their little faces light up as he and all the herd let them groom them and take their photographs.

He knew that they loved the Shetlands best but he didn't mind.  They were his favourites too really.  Grimbo and the gang were rather special and definitely made the world a better and happier place.

Most of the herd were asleep as Soldier stood there pondering the mystery of the absence of the children. But suddenly he spotted Angel the sanctuary dog bowling along, full of mischief and investigating every single blade of grass as usual. So much energy on four legs was quite a sight to behold but she was great fun and he loved her dearly.

“Angel. Angel” Soldier called over.
Angel bounded up to her sad looking friend.
“What's up Soldier?” the dog asked.
“Well” said Soldier, not one to say too much in a single sentence or all in one go.
“I was wondering...” the horse went on.
“Yes?” said Angel somewhat impatiently as there was still much to sniff on her morning walk and she didn't want to miss anything.
“Well, I was wondering if you knew where all the little people had gone?” The horse finally managed to get the whole sentence out.
“Ah” Angel sat down and for a moment sadness showed in her eyes too.
“It's all to do with a virus” she said.
“A virus. What's that?” asked Soldier more confused than ever.
“ It's a bad illness that affects humans. So they've all got to stay at home so that they don't get sick”
“But some of our regular humans are here” said Soldier although now he came to think of it, lots of them hadn't been for a while either. Though enough of them came so that all the herd were fed and exercised. He paused for a moment trying to picture what a virus might look like. Did it have two or four legs? Did it walk or fly? Did it lay eggs or do anything useful as well as being a bad illness?
Angel realising that Soldier was lost in thought added, “Our regular humans can come but everyone else has to stay at home until the virus has gone away and it is safe to come out and play again.”
“When will that be?” asked Soldier
“No one knows” answered the dog. "Not even the top people in charge"
“That's right” said one of the humans as they came over to join the conversation.
“No one knows. But what we do know is that all of us at the Sanctuary have a very important role to play in helping to fight the virus”.
“Do we?” asked Soldier
“Do we?” repeated Angel all thoughts of her morning sniffs forgotten.
“Yes. It's a very special task” said the human.
“Oh my goodness” said Soldier somewhat daunted “Will we be up to it?”
“Is it hard?” asked Angel.
“Well” said the human “It's sort of hard and easy at the same time”.
Tinker, one of Soldiers bestest friends ambled over. “How can something be hard and easy at the same time? It's not possible is it? ” he asked.
The human looked at the horses and dog with love in her eyes and sat down on the grass.
“ Let me explain” she said.
“ It's hard because we have to do it even when we are feeling sad and worried. But it's easy because we will do it together and for those we really love”
“Do you mean the little people?” asked Angel.
“Yes” said the human.
“We've got to do it for the little people and all their family and friends”
The two horses and the dog went quiet for a moment then said together
“At least let's try to do it, when we know what it is”
One by one all the herd gathered around the human as they realised something very important was going on. Even the hens stopped their morning activities and listened in. You never know, it might involve laying eggs and they were really rather good at that.
The human took a deep breath and said in her gentle voice “Our task is to be ourselves. To go on doing everything that the little people love. To not be sad and to believe with all our hearts that they will be back soon."
“Is that it?” asked Soldier, a tad disappointed that they didn't have some secret code to crack. Angel too had rather hoped to be sent on a mission under enemy lines.
“That's it” said the human. "That's exactly it”.
“Mmm” said Pudding, who had quite a bit of worldy experience and wisdom.  “I can see how that is hard and easy at the same time”
“Can you?” said Angel suddenly filled with the urge to race around the field to clear her head.
“Well. It's easy because that's what we do best – being ourselves - even when the sanctuary is quiet.  But it's hard because we don't know how long the virus might take to go away. And when things drag on it's hard to stay hopeful and to keep believing that good things will happen again. You kind of get tired of hoping and hope just, well it just quietly peters out. Then sadness takes over and it gets harder and harder to smile.”
The human spoke again “ Can we do this task together do you think?”
A heavy silence hung in the air which seemed  to last for ages
The suddenly there was a great roar of “YES WE CAN DO IT, WE CAN DO IT,  BRING IT ON !”
All the horses big and small, young and old, rolled or ran or neighed or galloped. Angel barked and tore round and round in circles until she was so dizzy she fell over. The human, though close to tears, clapped and cheered and the hens did a funky dance – the sort that only chickens can do. Then rushed back to lay their eggs. It wouldn't do to neglect their duty. Not now.
And so it is that every day at Mane Chance Sanctuary, Soldier, Tinker.and Pudding along with Angel the dog, the hens and all the herd come together and have a happy moment. When they cheer one another and send their love to all those that they are missing, especially the little people. They do still get a little bit sad when time seems to drag and the sun hides behind the clouds.  But they encourage one another and help one another to be the best that they can be. They do of course still get on each others nerves sometimes but they never let arguments last long and they make sure they say Goodnight to each other and check that everyone is ok in the morning.
And best of all, at the beginning of each new day they gather together and think about the little people and send them their biggest bestest love as they sing out  'See you soon'
'See you soon'
'See you soooon'.
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