The Adventures of Ivan the Horse: A story by Saol Anois, Festina Lente, Bray, Co Wicklow

Fighting Words 2019: Saol Anois, Festina Lente, Bray, Co Wicklow. Illustration by participants

 

Once upon a time, there was a horse called Ivan. Ivan had a beautiful navy coat and golden mane and tail. He worked at the Bombay Pantry, where authentic, original Indian curries were made. While working, making the sauces in the Bratt pans, he often enjoys listen to Irish jigs and dancing in his chef’s hat. Jeff the dog sleeps alongside Ivan while he works.

One day the health inspector came in to inspect the place and said, “It’s very clean but there’s a dog and a dancing horse in here, we’ll have to close the place down if the dog doesn’t go. You can keep the horse outside in the small field.”

Then Ivan replied, “But I’m half human! Someone cast a spell on me long, long ago and turned me into a half horse half man. It was Dave Irish the leprechaun!”

“What’s the dog doing here in the first place? You can stay, however, how did you get turned into a horse?” said the inspector.

“I have no idea, all I know is that Dave Irish cast a spell on me and he got the spell wrong!” answered Ivan.

Suddenly, a princess called Ella walked into the kitchen. “Can I ride on your back Ivan?” she said.

“Yes, of course. With one condition, if you can give me my own body back, with true love’s first kiss,” neighed Ivan.

The princess replied, “Hmm, I can only grant you one wish, you can be the world’s greatest dancer, or have your body back from Dave Irish’s curse, you choose . . .”

This story took shape at one of the workshops run by Fighting Words, which was founded by Roddy Doyle and Seán Love in 2009 to nurture young writers around Ireland. It is now in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Mayo, Wicklow, Galway, Donegal, Kerry, Wexford and Kildare.