by Pippa Anderson
Piper was 10 years old and had been a horse nerd most of her life. Her mom had gotten her to try many different things. (Piper said no to all these things) Gymnastics? NO. Violin? NO. Sewing? NO. Now they were on the Baysville (a cruise ship). “You should come to the water park with your brothers,” her mom suggested. “No thanks,” said Piper. She tugged at her favorite necklace and mumbled, “I’ll stay here with my books”.
After her mother left their room, Piper decided to get some fresh air. She walked onto the deck and she saw something in the distance. Piper leaned over the rails and squinted. And found that it was an island. And there was a horse on the island! She jumped with joy, and then raced back into her room and grabbed her journal. Humm… maybe she should get her mom’s camera too. She grabbed it and sprinted back out onto the deck. As Piper fumbled with the camera, the ship began to pass the island. Piper panicked. To see the island now she had to lean farther and farther over the rails. A couple of things happened at once. The camera slipped out of her hands, and Piper fell overboard. SPLASH! The worst part was she didn’t know how to swim. She screamed, and then she hit her head on a floating log.
* * *
She woke to the sound of a horn. Piper sat up. She was on a beach. Suddenly she saw a small boat moving away from the island. There were people in it. Piper yelled “Come back!” but they were too far away to hear. She realized that she was alone with no other humans. She felt her neck and thought, “Where is my necklace?”
When she looked around, she found she was in the middle of a long narrow island. There were no trees except for one short pine. Everything else was sand and grass. And then she saw – a small laboratory! It was half buried in sand but Piper squeezed through the door. Inside was a small table, canned food, a can opener, a camp stove, a bed, and a table. She realized the people leaving on the boat must have been scientists. She sat down on the bed and began to sob. She missed her mom and brothers and was afraid of being alone. Then she heard a “neigh”. She went back outside and there was a beautiful stocky black pony with a full tail. The horse walked away and Piper followed. He crossed the sand to the little tree, and started to dig. As Piper observed, she saw her journal in the sand, dried out and with the pen still attached. Awesome! She began to write, making notes about the horse and how he dug in the sand. After a couple minutes of digging, he put his head down. Piper took a step forward and looked. She gasped – the horse was drinking! She thought, “now that I think about it I am very thirsty.”
“Excuse me!” she said to the horse. The horse neighed and took a step backwards. Piper was amazed he listened to her. She cupped the water into her hands and began to drink.
* * *
After three days of observing, Piper got used to the island. She had a favorite bird now, who perched on the little window of the laboratory. He was an Arctic Tern and Piper had named him Peckling.
One day, Piper woke up and realized she was out of canned tuna and peaches. She had no breakfast, and she was getting hungry. Hmm. She looked around and found string, book binders, a broom, and a pot of worms. There were also fishing hooks on the wall. An idea came to her.
Outside, the black horse was waiting. Piper had named him Sable. “Hey Sable!” she said, as he nuzzled her hand. “Sorry, I can’t observe you today.” She went down to the shore and put her invention together. It was a fishing rod. Her daddy had taught her to fish. She cast and on the first cast she hooked a fish. She reeled in by pulling on the string. Later that night, she had a delicious dinner.
* * *
One day Piper heard the boat horn again. Her heart did a flip. The boat seemed to be heading to the other end of the island. She grabbed her bag and the journal and squeezed through the door. Standing outside was Sable. She knew Sable was a fast horse.
“Sable, I need your help. Can I get on your back?”
Sable whinnied twice, meaning yes.
“Thank you!” she said and petted his head.
Piper had never ridden a horse, but she could give it a try. She pulled herself onto Sable’s back. “Hiya horsey!” she said. The horse looked at her, and then he began to run. “Faster!” cried Piper. They reached the point of the island and there stood three men, the scientists.
“Well, hi there young lady, what are you doing here?” the first one said.
Piper fell off Sable and stood right back up. “I’ve been here for a week!” she said. Then she told them how she had fallen off the ship, found the canned food, and learned how to fish. “Anyway,” said Piper, “I would like to go home, I miss my mother and my brothers.”
“Well then, hop on the boat!” said the scientist.
“Can I say goodbye to Sable first?” asked Piper.
“Sable?” asked the scientist.
“The black horse. I’ve been observing him and now he’s my friend.”
Piper turned to the horse. A tear trickled down her cheek. “Goodbye, Sable.” Sable bent and picked something up off the ground. Her favorite necklace!
“Alrighty then, bye bye horsey and let’s go,” said the scientist.
“Goodbye, Sable,” Piper whispered as she walked onto the boat with her journal and her observation notes. She would never forget Sable.
Pippa Anderson © 2022
Grade 4, age 10, LeMarchant St. Thomas School, Halifax, NS
Sable In Words 2022
Youth Writing Contest, 10-13 age group
Sable Island Institute