“She prays for you,” he said, nodding slowly. “Do you know, every night before she goes to bed, she prays for you? I’ve heard her. She prays for her dead father and mother—they were killed only a week after the war began. One shell, that’s all it takes. And she prays for her brother that she’ll never see
again—just seventeen and he doesn’t even have a grave. It’s as if he never lived except in our minds. Then she prays for me and for the war to pass by the farm and to leave us alone, and last of all she prays for you two. She prays for two things: first, that you both survive the war and live on into ripe old age, and secondly, that if you do she dearly wants to be there to be with you.
If she goes, if my Emilie dies, then the only light left in my life will be put out.” He looked up at us through heavily wrinkled eyes and wiped the tears from his face. “If you can understand anything of what I said, then pray for her to whatever horse god you pray to—pray for her like she does for you.”
“Just look at him, Karl. Can you not see that he’s something special? This one isn’t just any old horse. There’s a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be? I tell you, my friend, there’s divinity in a horse, and especially in a horse like this. God got it right the day he created them. And to find a horse like this in the middle of this filthy abomination of a war is for me like finding a butterfly on a dung heap. We don’t belong in the same universe with a creature like this.”