The gentle reverberations under foot could be felt, but the first thing to be seen was the cloud of dust. The weary man took note by raising his downcast head just slightly. He continued his metered walking towards the oncoming cloud.
Atop the racing horse the young boy was barely hanging on. The dirt flew in his eyes and through his squinted, tearful eyes. He could just make out the world flopping back and forth, up and down around him. He had grabbed a handful of the horses mane when it originally reared up, spooked. When it darted off in the uncontrollable gallup the boy dug in his heels and grabbed for whatever he could. As he bounced around like a piece of popcorn on the back of the speeding horse he didn’t have time to think. That’s what happens when you are scared. You are just scared. And nothing else. But now, some minutes later, he had wrapped his mind around the situation.
He was on a wild, speeding horse. He was barely staying on it, but also had no way of getting off. And he didn’t know how to stop it. He wished he at least had a saddle.
As the horse came over the ridge of the dirt road, the boy could just make out a tall figure. Oh no! The boy braced for the oncoming collision.
The horse did not turn away, but barreled down on the man in the road. As it came within reach, in one simultaneous movement, the man in the road dropped his cloth bag and wrapped two enormous arms around the horse. The man’s feet plowed into the earth. He hugged the great chest and neck of the horse, first slowing it and then stopping it in its tracks.
The boy felt the first contact with the man and then the sudden deceleration. He was thrust forward when the horse’s momentum met this immoveable force. He shut his eyes tight and only opened them when he realized the horse was now standing still. Gently rubbing the horse’s nose, the giant of a man stood, shushing the horse softly.
He had not been run over.