And the old horse recognized his mother, and she recognized him.
She greeted him by neighing. And when they were both in the great heavenly meadow the horse was filled with joy in finding again his old companions in misery and in seeing them happy forever.
There were some who had drawn stones along the slippery pavements of cities, and they had been beaten with whips, and had finally fallen under the weight of the wagons. There were some who with bandaged eyes had turned the merry-go-rounds ten hours a day. There were mares killed in bullfights before the eyes of young girls, who, rosy with joy, watched the intestines of these unhappy beasts sweep the hot sand of the arena. There were many more, and then still more.
And they all grazed eternally in the great plain of divine tranquillity.
Moreover, the other animals were happy here also.
The cats, mysterious and delicate, did not even obey the Bon Dieu who smiled upon them. They played with the end of a string patting it lightly with an important air, out of which they made a sort of mystery.
The good mother-dogs spent their time nursing their little ones. The fish swam about without fear of the fisherman. The birds flew without dread of the hunter. And everything was like this.
There were no men in this Paradise.
OF CHARITY TOWARD BEASTS
There is in the look of beasts a profound light and gentle sorrow, which fills me with such understanding that my soul opens like a hospice to all the sorrows of animals.
They are forever in my heart, as when I see a tired horse, his nose drooping to the ground, asleep in the nocturnal rain, before a cafe; or the agony of a cat crushed beneath a carriage; or a wounded sparrow who has found refuge in a hole in a wall. Were it not for the feeling that it is undignified for a man, I would kneel before such patience and such torments, for I seem to see a halo around the heads of these mournful creatures, a real halo, as large as the universe, placed there by God Himself.
Yesterday I was at a fair, and watched the merry-go-round. There was an ass among the wooden animals. The sight of it almost made me weep, because I was reminded of those living martyrs, its brothers.
I wanted to pray, and to say to it: “Little ass, you are my brother. They say that you are stupid, because you are incapable of doing evil. You go your slow pace, and seem to think as you walk: ’See! I cannot go any faster...The poor make use of me, because they need not give me much to eat.’ Little ass, the goad pricks you. Then you go a little faster, but not a great deal. You cannot go very fast...Sometimes you fall. Then they beat you, and pull at the rein fastened to the bit in your mouth. They pull so hard that your lips are drawn back showing your poor, yellow teeth which browse on miseries.”