#Three Line Tales: Yuletide

This short story is for Sonya’s photo prompt. It ties in well with the block buster Norse-type saga I’m just polishing up.

photo by Patrick Wittke via Unsplash


When the little girl had filled the mangers in the cow barn, she ran outside to look at the horses in the field behind the longhouse, especially the stocky, sturdy pony with a sprinkling of snow on his chestnut coat.

She felt a pang, as she always did, that the pony had to be outside in the snow while the cows were warm in the barn, and would have liked to bring him in, just for a while, but if she’d said as much, her father would have shrugged and reminded her it would soon be Yule.

She couldn’t know, but the stirrings of compassion when she looked into the gentle eyes of the little horse, were the same as a child might feel a thousand years hence, if she were to look into the eyes of what was to be the meat supply for the festive season.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

53 thoughts on “#Three Line Tales: Yuletide”

  1. Do you know Esther The Wonder Pig … if you don’t here she is (amongst others she lives with a turkey called Cornelius who loves hugs) … I follow her on FaceBook, I think she Tweets as well or rather Steve and Derek do. They are doing some good. Your story, very different, also strikes the heart in precisely the same spot.


      1. I’m a fellow pig lover. My eldest daughter told my husband when I first introduced them that if he wanted to win my heart he should get me a pig. He has learned that she was not joking. Those boys deserve all the good things for what they have done

      2. And Esther is a real pig, destined for a fate worse than death, not one of these ornamental pigs that people buy from an animalerie, treat like a pet rabbit and then put them on le bon coin when they get bored with them. Poor critters, all of them.

      3. I have a friend in England (we were at school together) who runs a rabbit and guinea pig sanctuary …. she remarked yesterday that it is amazing how the instance of sudden animal allergy goes up at this time of year as soon as it gets cold, and then again after Christmas. Disgraceful. What I love about Esther is the fact that she is real and that she has been used to such great effect in raising awareness of animals for slaughter to a vast audience. When I say pig, I mean real pig believe me. Other friends have a gang of Gloucester Old Spots and Tamworths freerange in their woods in Oxfordshire. They are both vegan.

      4. If pigs would eat brambles we’d get some. I don’t think there are enough acorns for them though. Anyone who runs a sanctuary, for whatever, has my highest admiration. It’s a huge and expensive undertaking, and once you’ve got the critters you can’t just declare bankruptcy (or allergy) and close shop.

      5. She was always an enormously sensitive and thoughtful girl … she clearly didn’t lose that. Pigs will eat pretty much what you throw at them. And I think you may have truffles in your area …. this could be your fortune. Get a pig. Get many pigs. Piiiiiiigs 🐖 🐖 🐖 🐖

      6. Neither, they normally find the truffles on other peoples land but no-one remembers whose land it was in the first place and no-one is going to let on that they found them. though hiding a pig hunting truffles is probably problematic.

      1. We are so hypocritical about it too. The Chinese produce the most horsemeat, but you don’t expect much sentimentality about animals from the Chinese, but the US is fourth on the list, producing for export. Same in Europe. Countries that don’t eat it still produce huge quantities to export to countries where the animals are slaughtered and eaten.

      1. I’ve had a horse steak which was a bit tough and sausages made from horsemeat which were quite tasty (so heaven knows what else went in them!). Goat isn’t too bad with roast spuds and mint sauce.

      2. It used to be quite easy to get horsemeat here (France) usually in the form of minced meat. I’ve had it, but wouldn’t eat it again. We used to eat goat quite often too. Much cheaper than lamb or mutton.

  2. A tough life back then, though. You couldn’t afford to get sentimental over animals when you were relying on them to support you through those long, frozen winters. Well told tale Jane

      1. Very doubtful, I’d say. But I guess both points of view are valid in their way – why not value life in all its forms if you can afford to do so.

      2. It’s what the country folk accuse townies of—valuing all life, even when it’s the country folk who know best what has a right to live. Why, is beyond me.

      3. Namby pamby townies who never really get their hands dirty and use the countryside as a leisure activity rather than a work place. I’m sure that view has some merit. For instance, we had a fox in our garden a few days ago – gorgeous, healthy animal too. She was eating a chicken of all things, complete with feathers and feet, not the KFC kind. There’s some local amateur poultry owner very annoyed right now and of course if your livelihood depends on prey animals and they keep getting nabbed by foxes … Mind you, this person was obviously a bit naive about protecting their flock.

      4. The farmers round here all keep chickens and never lose any because they lock them up at night close to the house and they have dogs. The foxes eat mice and ‘vermin’. Doesn’t stop the same farmers shooting them though. Illogical, but there you are.

      5. They have a list as long as your arm of ‘vermin’, many of which are on the endangered species list (pine martens and weasels apparently) and don’t harm anything but rats and mice. You’d expect farmers to be grateful!

      6. I think they just like killing things. Whatever rubbish they spout about being the true guardians of the countryside, basically it’s all about getting pleasure out of killing.

    1. Thanks Irene. Horse meat is very hard to find now in France as most people refuse to eat it and horse meat is exported instead. Did you know that the US was the fourth largest producer of horse meat in the world? Most goes to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. Lots of countries that don’t actually tolerate eating horse still produce huge quantities to export to countries that do.

      1. That is really interesting Jane. I was unaware that horse eating habits had changed in France. In Australia I know that horse meat is used for pet food but who knows what else they might do. They’d keep it quite because people would be up in arms.

      2. I read somewhere that 80% of horses kept in France are for consumption! And France isn’t even on the list of major horsemeat producers. So all those herds of horses we see grazing in fields and think, ah, lovely, are probably to be shipped abroad to be slaughtered unless (like Australia) the law allows the slaughter of domestic horseflesh. You’re right. If these fields had signs up saying that’s what they were for, there would be an outcry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s