Once upon a time, far far away, in a land where everything happened just as it should, there lived a man who married a woman and she became his wife. The man worked hard every day on his farm, just as he should, and his wife kept the home for him just as she should. Together they lived in a small house near the village, and had children, just as they should. Every year, at the village there would be a festival, just as there should be in every village in every land, and at this festival every year, the King visited his people, just as he should.

The years past and the man and his wife grew old, but it was alright, because they had three children who looked after them just as they should. Their first child was a strong young man, and he looked after the farm, and married the daughter of the weaver in the village and she came to live at the farm and help him. Their second son was a handsome young man, and married the daughter of the innkeeper in the village and left home to live with her in her father's house. The third child was a daughter who was neither strong nor handsome, and didn't even talk much, but she had a gentle spirit and simply cared for her aging parents.

So the times went on, and everyone in the village lived as they should, until one day when things changed.

As always with change, it isn't expected and no one is ready for it. This is what makes change so exciting, because it gives those with the ability, the chance to stand and thrive in the change so they may have the experience to live. It could even be said that with out change, some people never truly live and experience all they could be able to. And also that those who see the change happen will forever hold it in their hearts and will never be the same again.

In any case, the change that occurred to the people of this village where everything happened just as it should came not in the form of torrential rains or harsh dry drought. Nor did it come in the form of oppression or the fear of war. Instead it came from the absence of the King at the yearly festival.

No body thought they would miss it, but on the final day of the festival, when the winds held the promise of spring rains to come and the winter was ending, the entire village, from young to old, looked to the south to see the King ride through on his horse with his courtiers. But no one came. Perhaps the road was tough and he was caught, or his Kingly duties had kept him delayed, the people suggested to each other, but these reasons faded as the days after the festival grew.

And so the first change in as long as any one could remember had happened in the village where things had always been just as they should. The people continued life as had always done. The man and his wife grew older. Their first son, who was strong, and his wife looked after the farm and the house. The second son, who was handsome, and his wife worked hard in the inn. And the daughter, who was neither strong nor handsome, and didn't talk much, but had a gentle spirit, looked after her parents.

But change as always, hardly ever happens in a singular event which can be ignored or even missed unconsciously. Change comes and goes, but it never takes kindly to being missed. So even as the people of the village where things usually happened just as they should were forgetting that their King had not appeared as he should for their festival, another change happened.

It was a cool morning a few weeks after the festival when the gentle spirited daughter named Layan, who had gone out of the house to feed the chickens, turned to find herself facing a large horse. Layan contemplated the large black beast as he snorted and pawed at the ground. It was wearing a saddle of worn leather and a high quality blue blanket underneath that. The harness was still over the horse's face, Layan noticed as the horse shook his head at her approach. Where could this horse have come from? The village was only small and the two farms had brown horses. Layan had never seen anything like this black stallion before.

Quietly, as always, Layan calmed the horse and took him back to the barn. There she took off his harness and let him drink and then unsaddled him and brushed him down. Leaving the horse tethered to the side fence, Layan returned to the house and went about her duties as she did everyday and promptly forgot about the big black horse that she had left outside.

That night however, the strong son, who's name was Cathal, asked:

"Where did the black horse come from?"

And so Layan explained how she had found the horse and left him outside the house.

"What will we do?" asked the old man as he sat close to the fire with his wife.

"Can we let him go to find his own way home?" suggested Cathal's wife while she cleared the table of the dishes from dinner.

"I tried that," said Cathal, "and he won't leave."

Layan watched and listened as her family discussed the black horse some more, and then slipped out the door into the night to see for herself.

The horse was indeed still where she had left him, only now Layan could see he was no longer tied to the fence. Where did you come from? Layan asked the horse silently as she stroked its neck. She knew that her brother had tried to let the horse run away again so that they wouldn't have to worry about it, but for some reason the horse was still here.

The next day Cathal took the horse to the village and tethered him outside the inn where the second son, who's name was Alagan, worked and lived now. Layan and Cathal's wife helped the man and his wife follow them down the street. When they entered the inn, Layan was surprised to see most of the town there.

"The horse must be returned," Cathal was saying to his younger brother, Alagan.

"Well I can't do it," replied Alagan, from behind the bar. "I should be here with my wife, managing the inn for her father."

"I can't do it either," offered the miller, "I should be looking after the wheat we harvested to ensure we have flour made for the winter."

One by one each of the village members made their reasons known to the others, and eventually, everyone in the room had something else that they should be doing instead of taking care of the horse.

Everyone is doing just as they should, Layan realised, and we need someone who is ready to do something that they aren't supposed to. And so, Layan stood from her place beside her parents and walked to the door.

"I will take the horse," she said to the room quietly and left.

It was almost as if no one had said anything at all, because as Layan untethered the horse and walked back to the only home she had ever known, no one followed her from the inn. Maybe this is what makes change all the more exciting, the thrill of knowing you are going somewhere that no one else is daring to go. The fact of knowing that you are about to do something that is maybe what you should have been doing all along.

In any case, as Layan left her house after gathering a small bag of things, and she and the horse started to make their way south, she could feel the well wishes of those who had left the inn and simply sat on the rail and stood leaning against the walls to watch her leave.

Layan walked a long way that first day, following the road as long as she could until the sun was leaving the sky with its traces of orange fire and throwing dark shadows over the earth. She lay down that night to sleep while the black horse stood beside her and woke in the morning to eat some of the bread she had bought and continue on her way. And so Layan and the black horse had started their journey and left the village where things always happened just as they should.