“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” James felt bad for his brother because Gregor had been in pain the entire journey, but actually seeing their destination perked him up. He had been badly hurt while serving as a stable boy in their small village. The trip was not a long one, but it was arduous. Walking together, with James along to protect him, Gregor was also happy to see the king’s residence in view. It certainly was beautiful, but since Gregor had met the king once before, he was not in awe as his brother. They had left their home before the sun rose, and expected to be back by evening.
In this part of the country there were few jobs available to the poorer population. Gregor was fortunate to have worked along side his father at their home. His experience was with farming horses, but at the stables he worked with a variety of well groomed animals. Some were for riding on a fox hunt, while others were for the ladies in their fancy velvet riding costumes. The ones Gregor loved the most were the racers. They were temperamental, but very beautiful.
Gregor just stumbled upon the job of stable boy when he and his father were going into the village for supplies. One of the king’s men was riding nearby when his horse startled and there was an accident. Gregor retrieved the horse and helped the rider. The king, observing from his carriage, asked the boy to come to him. He rewarded the boy with a job at the stables. This was a wonderful opportunity, because Gregor had the king’s favor, plus the learning experience with different types of horses.
He enjoyed working with all the horses, but the racers were the most dangerous. They were often nervous and skittish, and Gregor had to be careful. He was grooming his favorite, Black Beauty, when a rat ran by her hoof. Gregor, not seeing the rat, didn’t have time to react. The black sidestepped and Gregor found himself squeezed between her and the wall. It was quick, but an extremely painful injury. As a result, his older brother was taking him to the king’s physician.
King Daniel was not an ordinary ruler. He loved the entire kingdom, and was kept aware of any problems, especially of the people he had taken a special interest in. When he saw Gregor’s kindness, he immediately liked him. Hearing of his injury in his own stables, he sent for him immediately. The physician bandaged Gregor’s broken ribs after which the king requested to see the patient. Gregor and James were quite surprised by this invitation, but thoroughly enjoyed it. The two boys were then sent on their way back home, secure in thought that their ruler was a kind man and deserved their loyalty.