(Image taken by Annette Corkery, graveyard where Paddy Farrell is buried. Some of her artwork can be purchased in postcard form here : https://www.creativeardaghcraftshop.com/shop?category=Postcards )
Master was frightened. I could smell it. He talked softly while he fastened the saddle around my belly but I could feel his fear. I snorted and moved from foot to foot, rubbing my head against his face. He patted me gently, whispering. We set off in the dark. Master carried a big metal stick. It didn’t feel like market day.
I was uneasy. I neighed at him. He didn’t notice. He rushed me on. He motioned me to gallop on the bumpy road. He was not like Master.
We travelled past the fields and past the market town. He galloped me onwards and uphill. I had been on this road before, going to a bigger market but then we cantered and walked. More people and other animals were with us. This time was different.
The town was noisy. Men smelling of fear and anger everywhere. Men on horse and on foot with long iron sticks in their hands. They listened to Master as we moved between them. They ran at other men. The other men made loud noises with their sticks. There were big flashes of fire. Master used his stick. We shook and fell back.
Men fell. Men bled. Horses fell. Horses bled. Master fell. Master bled. I gently touched him with my nose. He looked at me. “Home girl, home girl” he whispered. He pushed me away. I stayed. He shouted “Home girl”. He closed his eyes. I went.
I galloped past the noise, the shouting, the broken men and the blood. I stopped and nudged horses on the ground. They didn’t move. I galloped home. Sweat blinded me. I didn’t stop. Mistress came out. She screamed. She fell to the ground. She wept. I put my head down. Lost without Master.
Flash Fiction, inspired by a local tale of a hero buried in our village. Paddy Farrell, leader of the rebel brigade in the 1798 rebellion in Granard. The story goes that the rebels were massacred and their bodies displayed, hanging on the hill, in front of the Motte in Granard, to warn what would happen to anyone else who fought the oppressive regime of the time. However Paddy’s body was brought home as when he died in battle his horse ran home and so knowing he was killed his people came and took his body home.