“Little Horse Crossing the River” is a fable (fairy tale) created by Mr. Peng Wenxi, a teacher of Ruian Primary and Middle School in Zhejiang Province. It was originally published in “New Youth Daily” (the predecessor of “China Children’s Daily”) in November 1955.
An old horse and a small horse lived in the stable. One day, the old horse said to the little horse: “You have grown up, can you do something for your mother?” The little horse bounced and said: “Why not? I am willing to help you do things.” The old horse is happy. Said: “That’s great, you can carry this half-pocket of wheat to the mill.”
The little horse picked up the wheat and ran quickly to the mill. Running, a small river blocked the way, and the river was rushing. Xiao Ma was embarrassed and thought: Can I go there? It would be great if mom was around and asked her what to do!
He looked around and saw an old cow grazing by the river. The pony dashed over and asked: “Uncle Niu, please tell me, can I walk across this river?” The old cow said, “The water is very shallow, and I just didn’t have a calf, so I can walk across it.”
After hearing what the old cow said, the little horse immediately ran to the river, ready to wade over. Suddenly, a squirrel jumped from the tree and stopped him yelling: “Little horse, don’t cross the river, don’t cross the river, the river will drown you!” The little horse asked in surprise, “Is the water deep?” Squirrel Seriously said: “It’s very deep! Yesterday, one of my partners fell into this river and drowned!”
The pony stopped quickly, not knowing what to do. He sighed and said, “Oh! Let’s go home and ask mom!”
The pony flicked its tail and ran home. The mother asked: “How come back?” The little horse said embarrassedly: “A river is blocked, I…I can’t get through.” The mother said, “Isn’t that river very shallow?” The little horse said, “Yes! Cow!” Uncle said the same. But the squirrel said that the river was deep and he drowned his partner!” Mother said, “So is the river deep or shallow? Have you thought about what they said?” The little horse lowered his head and said : “No… I didn’t think about it.” Mom said kindly to Xiao Ma: “Child, just listen to others, don’t use your brain, don’t try, it won’t work. The river is deep or shallow, you go try it. You will understand if you try.”
The pony ran to the river, and just raised his front hoof, the squirrel yelled again: “Why, you don’t want to die!” The pony said, “Let me try.” He went down the river and waded over carefully. . It turns out that the river is neither as shallow as the old cow said, nor as deep as the squirrel said.