Your KS # 23: The Grey Horse

July 1, 2017

 

 

In 1924, Katharine Susannah Prichard’s short story “The Grey Horse” won a competition run by the magazine Art in Australia. It’s a dark story about a man who won’t share the grey horse of the title with a neighbour who needs it so he can marry the woman he loves. It’s filled with the disappointments middle-age and marriage can bring, as well as Katharine’s deep appreciation for a fine horse: A superb creature, broad and short of back, deep barrelled, with mighty quarters, the grey stallion carried Old Gourlay, on the floor of the tip-dray, up-hill in the morning, curvetting with kittenish grace, as though the tip-dray were a chariot; prancing and tossing his head so that silver threads glinted in the spume of his mane. He brought loads of gravel down-hill, gaily, prancing still, with an air of curbing his pace to humour the queer, fussy insect of an old man who clung to the rope reins stretched out beside and behind him.

 

The story is set in Black Swan, which is actually Greenmount. In the introduction to Happiness, Katharine wrote that this and some other stories from the 1920s “reflect life when I came to live in Western Australia. The ‘Grey Horse’ used to gambol in his stable yard below our orchard”.

 

The story has been anthologised many times but you can read the original publication online thanks to Trove’s digitisation of Art in Australia: http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-352254314/view?partId=nla.obj-352311443#page/n16/mode/1up . Read it, and let it inspire you to write about horses for the KSPWC Story Horse Project!

           

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