WIND IN THE GREAT WESTERN DESERT
Even the endless desert wind seemed to pause and the
rustling fronds of the great palms fell silent as the
young clansman led the horse into the grand outer
courtyard. Many secretly admired his brave bid for the
hand in marriage of the First Lord's favorite daughter.
Others saw only a common upstart from a poor clan
soon to get his comeuppance.
"My Lord, allow me to make you this most unworthy
gift," he said, all the while struggling to remember the
carefully rehearsed requirements of court etiquette.
Quiet laughter ran through the ranks of the assembled
courtiers when the young lad bowed more often than
It was a fine animal, more than the boy's family could
easily afford. It drew admiring looks from those who
understood horses and a modest smile from the
favorite daughter of the First Lord of the Great
Western Desert. This was the match she hoped for, but
in those far off days it was for her father to make such
The First Lord had risen to prominence as a leader of
men who spent their lives in the saddle. He knew
horses well and his inspection was careful. All the
court listened in silence. He paused behind the beast
gauging the strength of its hindquarters for carrying a
man in full armor. It was then that the horse, itself
perhaps as nervous as the young clansman, chose to
pass wind loudly and very obviously in the direction
of the First Lord.
Still watching in silence, the courtiers, some with
hands straying towards ever-ready sword hilts, looked
towards their lord. Was this an affront that could be
ignored? Surely the horse or the young clansman or
both should be punished on the spot.
The First Lord looked steadily into the eyes of the
now pale clansman to see what there was to read there.
To his credit, the young lad kept his composure. He
turned to his daughter and those who were close
enough saw a depth of meaning in the glances they
exchanged and the unspoken plea in her eyes. Finally
he turned to the horse and slapping it on the rear said
in a voice loud enough for all to hear, "Well, it wasn't
me this time."
And so the silence was well broken as all the court
dissolved in laughter for this was the humor of the
warrior. The older and wiser heads who understood
such things, noted with appreciation that their Lord
had once again succeeded in balancing the needs of
state with those of family. This was something they
respected in a society where family ties and bonds of
kinship mattered a great deal. Then of course there
would be a wedding feast to look forward to.
Later when the court was dismissed, the Old
Chancellor approached and said quietly, "A kind and
wise decision, My Lord. Your daughter seems so
"Yes old friend," the First Lord replied, "and the boy's
clan may be small and poor but it is so very well
placed to control the mountain passes to the north."
Wind in the Great Western Desert
was First Place in
Adult Creative Writing Club
Competition No. 71