Flying on Four Hoofs

Beautiful short story in today’s Guardian by Xu Zechen, translated by Helen Wang:

They used to ride past the melon shack on their way to graze the horses by the Wulong River. Afterwards, when the horses were full, they would bring them on to the dirt road to gallop, and race against the cars and trucks with their four, or more, wheels. How I envied their high spirits, their freedom, as they rode bareback, clutching the mane with their right hands, cracking the whip with their left, whooping and hollering, their shirts, bereft of buttons, whipped up in the wind, like the battle flags of a victory charge in a movie. They galloped along, side by side, forcing the cars and trucks to the edge of the road. Hongqi said drivers used to stick their heads out of the window and swear at them, but why should they care? Their horses were faster than the cars. It thrilled me just to imagine being on the back of a galloping jujube-red horse, its long strong legs stretching and reaching.

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