The Horse With
The Special Shoe
By Janice Kunz
A Note from the Author
Thanks for your interest in “The Horse with the Special Shoe”
This short story for children and adults is copyrighted, so all
the text is under my copyright. I added some Powerpoint
clipart and public domain pictures so you would have
something to feast your eyes on rather than just the text. But,
I was very limited in what I had to work with so please don’t be
expecting anything that looks professionally illustrated.
Please let me know what you think of the story – would love
Once upon a time in the Land of Fern Forest there lived a
Nobleman who owned a stable of many horses. He owned one
hundred horses and had many different types of horses.
The Nobleman owned some horses who were exceptionally
strong and large and who could plow the fields all day long.
These horses were called the Thunders because when they
galloped across the open fields after a long day’s work their
large hooves made the sound of thunder. The Thunders were
a very beautiful tan color with light manes and tails.
The Nobleman’s stable also included the horses called the
Warriors. The Knights of Fern Forest rode the Warriors when
defending the Nobleman’s castle and estate. The Warriors were a
very courageous and strong breed and were not afraid of war.
They were a larger breed and wore armor to protect themselves in
The Nobleman also owned horses that were very athletic and
liked to show their skills before crowds of people. These horses
were called the Toppers because they tried to top what all the other
horses did. The Nobleman’s sons would often ride the Toppers in
races and jumping contests. Sometimes a Topper would become
injured in a race, but the Toppers never seemed to care what risk
they were taking. They loved to show off in front of the crowds.
They wore braided ribbons in their tails and manes.
Lastly, there were the Cart Pullers. The Cart Pullers were
said to be descendants of the Warriors breed. The Cart
Pullers were a very faithful and smart breed.
Although the Cart Pullers were a smaller breed they could
easily pull the Nobleman’s coaches when he and his family
had to go somewhere. They would also pull any coaches
that were transporting needed food and supplies.
One Spring day when all the baby horses were born there
was a new, beautiful white foal with large dark eyes and grey
legs who was part of the Cart Pullers breed. His parents
loved him and gave him the name Pepin. As Pepin grew up
he noticed when he ran and played with all the other young
horses sometimes his back would get sore.
The Toppers made fun of Pepin and said his sore back
was all in his head. The Toppers never had sore bodies
unless they got injured so they thought that Pepin was
faking his sore back. The Thunders said Pepin should
just keep exercising and his back would get better.
Exercise is what always helped the Thunders’ backs. And
the Warriors said they really didn’t know what to do about
Pepin’s sore back. The Warriors just didn’t say anything.
There were men at the stable who knew how to help
horses who were hurt. These men all thought exercises
would be best for Pepin to help his back.
Well, poor Pepin knew that he wasn’t faking it so he tried very
hard to just keep exercising. Pepin’s parents knew that Pepin
wasn’t faking either and his mother would nuzzle and massage
Pepin’s back as horses do. Pepin’s father tried to encourage
Pepin everyday. The support and love from his parents would
make Pepin feel better, but his problem never went completely
away. He was able to pull his cart everyday, but at night he
would have a sore back. Many nights as Pepin lay suffering
with his sore back he would feel very sad and discouraged.
Sometimes, he would even cry.
Pepin grew from a beautiful foal into a most handsome horse.
As a cart puller, he pulled just as much weight as any of the other
Cart Pullers. Pepin was a faithful, hard working young horse,
despite his ailment.
One day, the Nobleman overheard the horses in the stable
talking about Pepin’s sore back.
The Nobleman believed the Toppers and Warriors that Pepin
was either faking his problem or that he was not exercising
enough. When Pepin tried to tell the Nobleman that he was
not faking his problem and he had tried to exercise and get
better the Nobleman did not believe him. So, the Nobleman
decided to sell Pepin. It was not uncommon for the Nobleman
to buy and sell horses.
Pepin was very sad because he had tried so hard and he
could not get better. Pepin did not want to leave Fern Forest
but he was old enough now to venture out in the world and in
some ways it was very exciting for him. Pepin could always
come and visit his family and friends at Fern Forest. Pepin’s
parents would miss him, but were happy Pepin was setting out
on a new adventure. Pepin’s parents knew they could visit
Pepin wherever he went.
The Nobleman sold Pepin to a Drifter for a very low price. The
Drifter lived in the Village Square not far from the King’s Palace.
Pepin was boarded at a large village stable.
The Village Square
One night, the Drifter talked to the Stable Boy about Pepin’s
sore back. The Stable Boy went into the stall where Pepin lay.
He said, “Don’t be sad, Pepin. I know of someone who can help
you. He will know how to heal you”. When Pepin heard those
words, tears streamed from his eyes. He really wanted to be
healed but he thought he had tried everything and nothing
The Stable Boy
The Stable Boy left and soon returned with a man disguised
under a cloak. When the man removed the cloak Pepin
recognized him immediately. Pepin bowed down low for this
man was the King.
Pepin was ashamed of his sore back and while choking back
his tears Pepin said in a shaky voice, “Thank you my King for
coming here. I have tried in the past to be the best horse and
exercise hard but my back keeps getting sore. Other horses
tell me I am faking or that I should just exercise hard but the
exercise does not cure me. I am sorry that I am not the horse
others want me to be.”
The King stroked Pepin’s face and wiped away his tears and
said, “My dear Pepin please do not be sad. I know your heart.
I know that you are not faking your pain. I know you have
tried. You have an honest, faithful heart. I have come here
tonight to heal you not to harm you.”
The King slowly and gently ran his hand across
the sore spots on Pepin’s back and then he ran his
hands down each one of Pepin’s gray legs. Then
the King stepped back and carefully looked at
Pepin’s back left leg. “His left back leg is shorter
than his right back leg. That is why he is walking a
bit crooked and his back gets sore”, said the King.
The King told the Stable Boy, “Have the
blacksmith make this horse a special shoe for his
left back leg. Make this left shoe higher than his
right back leg shoe. Go quickly now and make it
so”. Pepin was overwhelmed with hope. “Thank
you my King’, said Pepin. The King gently stroked
Pepin’s face again and then quietly left.
The next day the blacksmith bought Pepin the Special Shoe.
When it was placed on Pepin’s hoof it felt different to Pepin, but
it didn’t hurt. Over the next few weeks as Pepin wore his
Special Shoe his back got better and better. Pepin told
everyone about what the King had done for him and about his
Special Shoe and soon the village stable was calling Pepin “The
Horse with the Special Shoe”.
One day when Pepin was pulling the Drifter’s cart
down the village street the Nobleman walked by. The
Nobleman could not believe his eyes. He did not
almost recognize Pepin because he looked so happy.
There was a spring in Pepin’s step. When the
Nobleman heard Pepin’s story he was overcome with
“Pepin”, said the Nobleman, “I am so sorry that I
never believed you and never tried to defend you
from the lies of others. Please forgive me Pepin and
come back to live with us again at my castle”. The Nobleman
Pepin told the Nobleman that he forgave him and he
would love to return to his home. So, the Nobleman
bought back Pepin from the Drifter for a very high
When Pepin returned to his home he told his family and all
the horses in the stable about the King and his Special
Shoe. His parents were so happy for Pepin. Some of the
horses believed his story, but others did not believe Pepin.
Pepin did not care if there were still some horses that didn’t
believe him. Pepin knew the truth about the King and his
Special Shoe and the Nobleman and Pepin’s family believed
him and that was all that mattered.
One day there was a loud sound of trumpets blowing. The
sound was coming from the road leading to the Nobleman’s
castle. It was the King in his elegant gold jeweled coach drawn by
the King’s beautiful horses. The King told the Nobleman that he
needed one more horse to add to his team of horses that drew his
carriage. It was the greatest honor to pull the King’s coach and so
every horse wanted the chance to show the King why they should
The Toppers wanted to go first and show the King
their talents. The Toppers jumped and ran fast and
pranced around showing their beautifully braided
manes and tails.
Then the Thunders each showed the King
how strong they were by pulling the heavy
The Warriors also showed their talents
at running and changing direction
The Cart Pullers showed the King how skilled they were at
pulling coaches. When it was Pepin’s turn to go next one of
the Toppers stepped forward and blocked Pepin and said,
“What are you doing Pepin? You don’t have a chance at
being one of the King’s Horses. You have lied all your life
and the King doesn’t want a lazy liar. Just go back to the
stable now!”. Pepin tried to get around the Topper and find
the Nobleman but now there were two Toppers blocking him.
The King said to the Nobleman, “You have many fine horses
here, Nobleman, but have I truly seen all your horses?” The
Toppers yelled “Yes, King you have seen us all. Please do tell
us your decision!”. But the King paused and then said, “Isn’t
there a Horse with a Special Shoe that lives here?”
The Toppers mouths dropped open. They couldn’t believe
what they hearing. The King was actually asking for Pepin, The
Horse with the Special Shoe”. The King could not be denied
his request. The Toppers reluctantly let Pepin through the
crowd. When Pepin saw the King he whinnied and the King
said, “My Pepin, it is good to see you. And how is your back,
now that you have your Special Shoe?”
“It is very good my King. Thank you”. Then Pepin
took his turn at pulling a cart to show the King his
After Pepin finished the King said, “Many of you
are very fine horses indeed. I have seen many fine
qualities today such as strength, endurance, athletic
ability, beauty and endurance. But there is one
among you whose heart is especially faithful. He is
one who has endured so much. Even though many
have teased him and made fun of him and did not
believe him when he was suffering, he still kept trying
even when he was sold and taken away from his
home. Many do look at the outward appearance and
abilities of a horse, but I, the King, look at the heart.
In this test of the heart there is no comparison, the
Horse with the Special Shoe, Pepin, is my choice.”
Pepin could hardly believe his ears. Many horses came
over to congratulate him. Pepin’s parents were so proud of
Pepin. There were even some who said they were sorry
they had not believed Pepin’s story about the King.
Then the King’s coachmen hooked Pepin to the front of
the team pulling the King’s coach. The Nobleman said,
“Pepin, please do visit us often. We are so happy for you.”
Pepin said, “Don’t worry Nobleman I will come to visit you
all often because this is my home, but I will be the King’s
And with that said, the Horse with the Special Shoe
led the King’s coach back down the road while the
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks
at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:17b
~ THE END