“Open Winter.” HL Davis.
Review: Old Apling has agreed to herd Gervais’s horses to the train station in the town over the high lands, and he takes young Beech, willful, impetuous with him. They have to contend with the horses’ starving for want of grass because it has been a dry winter and with lack of water. Several times they almost give up the trip and let the horses loose. They have several encounters with people who belong to the land they are crossing. They make several mistakes that almost cost them their lives. But the cool, old Apling keeps them from harm by calm reasoning.
They finally make it. They get the herd through because it was their responsibility to do so. They had agreed with Gervais to do it. They had lived in a way that others hadn’t even though the hardships and apparent meaninglessness of the trip made them at times lose faith. The old man and the youth learned from each other. The experience was worth it. And those in the town who were comfortable envied them that experience. The author’s incredible use of detail paints pictures.
Rating of this story: ***** out of *****.
Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. RP Warren and A Erskine.
: Dell Books. 1954. New York