I was nothing much to look at. My hair was matted and grungy; my coat held a load of dirt and dust. I was condemned to sit on this shelf for the rest of my life. No one would ever buy me. I was sure of that. I was helpless with nothing to my name and no good looks at all, until one day a refined man came into the shop. He wore a nice shiny top hat and a blue double-breasted suit. I side-glanced at the elegant vases beside me. Surely he would select them. He spotted the items on my shelf and came over. I stood there with my head held low. His hand touched the vase next to me.
I closed my eyes, hoping that if I couldn’t see him, he couldn’t see me. I cringed, surmising he would pass me by. I nearly jumped when I felt a hand touch my neck and down my matted brown hair. I kept my eyes closed, hoping he’d go away and leave me alone.
“Well, now, little chap,” he said, holding me in his hand, “you look like you’ve had a tough life.” He stared into my scarred eyes. “I think I can make you happy again,” he whispered with a smile on his wrinkled face.
I could never be made happy! I was ugly, doomed for refuse, rejection, and cruel remarks the rest of my life. I tried to protest, but he held me so tight I couldn’t get free. He took me to the counter and paid for me. Loud noises surrounded us as he stepped into the street.
Awhile later, the man entered a house. “You need a good bath,” he said.
Bath? I shrieked. I was so scared.
The man removed his suit jacket and knelt in front of the tub. Messing with the knob, water came gushing out. He stood me in the small puddle; the water tickled my feet. The man took a piece of terry cloth and proceeded to wash me. It felt strange and good all at the same time. He wrapped me in a soft blanket and dried me off.
He took me into a nice room. My eyelids began to droop. The ‘bath’ had made me tired, but I couldn’t go to sleep now! Curiosity built inside of me as to what the man was going to do to make me happy again. He dug into a drawer and removed a bag of brown pieces of hair, bottles of black substance and glue, a knife and a tiny brush. He used the knife to scrape my body until there was nothing left but hard wood. My heart dropped. Is this what he meant by making me happy? To strip me of my identity? I could stand no more. I rested a foot and fell asleep, despite the probing of his feeble, gentle hands.
I awoke the next morning to find myself in front of a mirror. I nearly jumped out of my skin! This wasn’t me. It couldn’t be. Where was all of the matted, messy brown hair, and the scroungy mane and tail? I looked closer. My coat was now smooth and glossy. My hooves were shiny again. My eyes sparkled. I was elegant and refined.
“Are you happy now, fellow?” the man asked. He cautiously put me in an open box and we headed out of the house. Back down the street we went. A door opened and he set the box on the counter. “Good day, madam,” he greeted. “I have an object I think you will sell in your store.” He pulled me out of the box and to my horror it was the lady who had stuffed me inside that musty bag only the day before!
The lady eyed me with great pleasure. I trembled in her hands as she took me from the kind man. “Oh, yes, of course. This will certainly sell for a very high price.” Then she looked at the man. “But isn’t this the piece you bought from me yesterday?” she asked in a shocked voice.
The man smiled graciously. “Yes, madam, it is.”
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