Friday Fictioneers : Heavy on her shoulders

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


‘How much fodder do we have?’

Tess stared out across the field where Samson and the other horses were gathered round the hay, hardly visible in the speckled wall of falling snow. The Shire horse’s hips were bony angles, his head low, though he didn’t eat. The sight caused a sharp pain in the centre of her chest.

Sam rubbed his stubbled chin with his thumb. ‘A week. Maybe ten days.’ He gazed up at the dense grey sky. ‘If the thaw doesn’t start soon …’

She nodded, pulling her shawl tight about her, the snow feeling heavy on her shoulders.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the photo and join the fun. See here to join in and to read the other stories.



50 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : Heavy on her shoulders

  1. That’s heavy and ominous, a number of dark directions that could go. For some reason, I imagine them thinking they’ll have to eat the horse, but maybe I’m just hungry now or delirious.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Always been fascinated by the French who eat horse, frogs, snails as standard – foods that many other cultures reject outright. Does it go back to the Revoutionary days, when there was little else and people made bread from grass and conkers? Insects are very popular in Asia – though I’ve heard bad reports about the taste of them too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. With all this discussion, I ended up searching online, and apparently a lot of people say horse meat is delicious and that the main reason people don’t eat it is due to taboos because people treat horses like pets or friends (same as eating dog or cat). Maybe my perception that horse meat tastes bad is from stories about starving families eating old, scrawny work horses as a last resort in a famine. I suppose raising horses specifically for meat, you’d get better flavor.

        I don’t even know what conkers are, but I’m guessing it’s not something you want to make bread from. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I guess if you’re hungry, even stringy horse meat might taste good? As you say, surely better raised specifically for meat. And conkers – sorry for the English-ism – are brown and shiny seeds from the Horse Chestnut tree. We call them conkers, though I think they were first called ‘conquers’ because you play a game with them, threading the seed on a string and hitting your opponents threaded nut until one breaks and is ‘conquered’. You still see kids searching for them below the trees in the Autumn, though the game is dying out as pretty much all the UK trees sadly succumb to a baterium called Bleeding Canker. Sorry if I overloaded you there 🙂


  2. That doesn’t sound good at all. Even once they get the thaw, it will take a while for anything the horses can eat to grow. A dark image of the reality of a long, hard winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s sobering to think how close to destruction many people’s lives were (and still are of course). One bad harvest, one big flood, one extended period of cold, hard weather and you might be dead. We’re truly lucky to live in this connected world

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s true. And yet so many people around the world are living on the brink, or over it. So frustrating that we still haven’t solved the challenge of poverty.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My husband always says ‘we live like kings’ and he’s so right. If the rulers of ancient times saw the homes many ‘ordinary’ people live in – hot running water, heating, plentiful food, comforts – they would hardly comprehend it. Have to be grateful for everything – especially when there are still so many who have nothing

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True – compared to ancient kings, we’re doing a lot better! But at the same time, the top 1% now live even better compared to the rest of us than the kings did compared to the average person back then.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ooh, yes, well, we could easily tip over into a rant about wealth being funnelled into the top few percent of society, how the rich are becoming richer while the poor are squeezed, facing ever growing cuts to basic services such as libraries, health and social care, how social mobility is at its lowest since the Second World War … But we’ll should try to keep the blood pressure down if possible. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, the life of the farmer – agronomist. The decisions that have to be made under circumstances like this are difficult.

    Five out of five Nutrena Horse Feed bags.
    (“Feed your horse Nutrena
    The best feed that money can buy!”)

    Nutrena is a regional, Kansas feed and grain company. Just so you know. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right. Most of us (at least in the UK) see wolves as noble creatures just doing what comes naturally, see the forest as a place of beauty in which to enjoy nature. But … if the wolf is eating th animals you rely on to survive a hard winter and the forest is filled with these wolves (and rampaging boars and thieves and outlaws and evil spirits) then your perception will be somewhat different. Thank you Bjorn


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