Alec is on his way home from India. Having spent a carefree couple of months with his Uncle, he is headed back to England for school. What a summer he had had! He even learned to ride a horse! Thinking that the life of a missionary was boring, he had to revise his ideas of what life was like for his Uncle Ralph. The rugged beauty of the jungle had worked its magic on him.
Now standing on the deck of the steamer Drake, life at sea became a routine. With the vast expanse of the ocean, there were the random stops at ports to break up the monotony of the days. At one of the ports, they pick up a gentleman with a wild black stallion. Alec is entranced by the horse and the sheer size of it. Somehow, they manage to get the stallion onto the ship and secured into the hold below. The screams and thuds the stallion makes as it beats against the sides of its enclosure are heard by the entire ship. Alec cannot stay away from the magnificent beast, and begins to take sugar cubes to leave on the stall door. Each time he goes back, they are gone, but he does not dare get to close to the stallion.
Then in an instant, everything on board changes. A huge storm brings the steamer to a standstill, and its not long before Alec realizes that they are actually sinking. Missing his chance to get aboard one of the lifeboats, he suddenly remembers the stallion below. He races to let the horse out. Falling overboard with the stallion, he ties himself to the horse with a bit of rope that was lingering from the bridle. He notices as they move through the water, that from time to time, the stallion stops and then sets a new course. Before to long, they come to a deserted island. As they settle into a routine, they slowly learn to trust each other. Alec builds a shelter, and then has to learn to find food in an area that is not over abundant in supplies.
As they move on the island, Alec and the Black Stallion slowly build a trust with each other. One day as Alec is headed down to the shoreline to get some more moss to dry out for food, the stallion rears and knocks the boy over. He rears and stomps several times on the ground. When Alec looks, he sees that the stallion has saved his life, by keeping him from stepping on a snake. That night as he lays down to sleep, he determines that he is going to ride the stallion the next day.
As he works on getting onto the stallion, he is thrown off a couple of times before he can calm the stallion enough to stay on. As they whip around the island together, Alec cannot see anything, as they are moving so fast. Day by day, they go for more rides, and the stallion is responding to Alec’s commands.
As he sleeps in his shelter one night, the Stallion’s high pitched scream wakes him up. He realizes that his shelter has caught fire from the one he keeps smoldering outside. As the wind whips the flames higher, more of the island burns around him. He knows that he can build another if there is enough supplies, but as he searches the beach for more wood, a wonderful sight catches his eyes….
This week we are reading Chapters 1-4
- Alec heads off to India to spend some time with his uncle. There he learns to ride a horse. Have you ever ridden a horse? Did you enjoy it?
- After they get to the island, Alec knows there is not enough there to sustain them both for a long period of time. How do you think you would have felt becoming stranded on a desert island?
- Do you think Alec has given up hope of being rescued at this point?