Ever since there’s been turtles and rocks — which seems like probably always, as far as a horse can tell — horses have been mistakin rocks for turtles, and turtles for rocks. Now, I’ve always observed the difference between the two was clear-cut. One’s got legs, and a snapper that’ll bite your nose if your nose noses where it don’t belong, and the other’s a rock.
But a lot of horses mix ‘em up, which accounts for so much unnecessary spookin it hardly seems worth startin to speak of it at all. There’s been plenty of tales told already, especially around the County Island, where we got giant turtle-rocks that’s called tortoises, which is a fancy way to say boulder-sized turtles. Well, they’re both rock-colored. And they’re both rock-shaped. And they both do often sit still in one place, like rocks do. And occasionally a rock will roll, such as if it falls down the side of a crumbly, rocky, steep trail. Turtles, on the other hoof, don’t so much roll as they lumber along. I guess it’s the lumberin rather than rollin that makes some horses so distrustful of ‘em, although I don’t suspect such horses would be any happier to see a rollin turtle, neither.
Some County Island people got a notion that if you find a desert turtle in the desert — which accounts for all the County Island as far as this horse can see — such as maybe by the road, or lumberin across your lawn (which is a kind of pasture horses ain’t allowed to eat on account of people are crazy) that they need to “help” the turtle by “relocatin” it. To where, I don’t know. Seems to me the turtle knows where he needs to be, and he’s already there, or on his way. Ya ain’t supposed to touch desert tortoises. Even a horse knows that.
And some other County Island people also got a notion that rocks and boulders need to be “helped” and “relocated.” I’ve told ya about how they will move a perfectly good tree from where it’s rooted to no more than a few short lopin paces away to another spot they proclaim to be “better” for it. They do the same damned, pardon my french, thing with rocks and boulders, to move to where they’re called “decorative” — which is almost always another way to say “spookable to a horse.”
If people think they ought to move turtles, and they also think they ought to move rocks… could it be that these County Island people are themselves like spooked and confounded horses, and can’t tell a turtle from a rock? That’s but one of the idle thoughts that occupy my time, since I got so much time to kill here in my retirement from proper ranch work.
I’m usually too straightforward of a horse for game-playin, but let’s all play a game together now. I like to call my game “Turtle or Rock.”
Here’s your questions.
1) Is this a turtle, or a rock?
2) Is this a turtle, or a rock?
3) Is this a turtle, or a rock?
4) Is this a turtle, or a rock?
5) Is this a turtle, or a rock?
And here’s your answers.
1) This here’s a rock.
2) This here’s a turtle.
3) This here’s a bonafide flyin rock, bein flown on its way so as to be more decorative in a new location, likely next to a lawn-pasture. There ain’t no such thing as flyin turtles. That’d be more ridiculous than a flyin rock.
4) This ain’t neither. This here’s a pig. Pigs and javelinas are both County Island critters that are rock-shaped and rock-colored. That fact don’t bother me none, but some horses seem to take strong exception to it.
5) This also ain’t neither — this is ME! I’m a horse, remember?