KRAJKA and KRAKERS
13th of December 2021 Update
Krajka and Krakers saved!
We thank you with all our hearts on their behalf. Had it not been for your huge commitment, these two wonderful horses would not have received this most beautiful and most important gift for Christmas – life. Krajka and Krakers are already with us, safe and cared for. They will be able to look for the first star in the sky on Christmas Eve without fear.
Before Krajka and Krakers there is also a quarantine, as well as visits by a veterinarian and a blacksmith. Thank you again!
I will take you on a journey you will never forget. I’ll tell you a fairy tale. About the Polish countryside. Take the map. And move your finger slowly. Europe, Poland. The east of the country of the Vistula River, that far, far end where the world seems to have stopped. Wooden shutters, chickens and cows stand in the barn in every farmyard, there are milk cans by the gates, a PSS Społem shop on the crossroads and tormented natives discussing politics, travels from the past and local news on the stairs. There is silence, like an undisturbed silence. It smells like November wind and there are yellowed leaves on the paths and sidewalks. It smells like baked bread and pears picked for compote as you pass each hut. Lovely, right? But we’re not here on vacation.
Do you hear the whistle of the whip cutting through this silence? I enter the last yard, at the end of the village. I pass a fence, a dirtroad overgrown with weeds, I pass a rusty rake on a wooden stick and a tired broom made out of branches politely standing in the corner by the stairs, where the white milk cans are standing in a row. I pass into another world, a world as beautiful as it is terrifying. Because local law works here.
“You have 3 minutes, as I don’t have much time, I’m busy, you can see how much work awaits,” says an older man in a torn jacket and a hat with a worn NBA logo. In his hand he holds a whip and a thick, twisted stick. I don’t ask why. My guess is right, although this is the moment when I’d rather be stupid and not know why.
“It’s an old junk, what do you need such a corpse for. That blind foal of hers, such a looser, she caused havoc here and broke the door down, it should be killed to not waste any more money, so many good horses walk around the stables .. 3 minutes, I don’t have time, I told you “the host continues and marks my running out time sharply.
It is difficult to take photos in 3 minutes that can save the lives of mother and child. It is difficult to save a life that, resigned, is huddled in the dark, with its head tilted to the ground, wading through several tons of its own excrement. It’s hard to squeeze the trigger and spin the lens when you feel the host’s breath counting down on you until you finally go out and let him do his thing, the breath counting to let go and kill what needs to be killed.
I look at those beautiful eyes of Krajka, so tired that they don’t have the strength to hold their lids up. When I gently touch her wet nostrils, she shakes her whole body, and if she could, she would dig into the wall. I take my hand away before the wall comes down. And she falls with it. Here, every touch leaves scars. Here, the world is silent about every touch. For those whistling lashes on the rump and ears, for those strikes in the legs with a pole, no justice will ever be brought. Because they happen behind thick walls, behind closed wooden shutters, among the rows of milk cans, and in the gloomy silence of the country charm. I look at her legs crooked from work, at overgrown, broken hooves. There is too much of everything here. I listen to how Krajka’s breathing quickens with every movement of the man, and her beautiful, big eyes grow bigger and bigger. I look at all their fears, longings and all their hopelessness, which, mixed with terror, turns into resignation. It’s like collecting all the pain of this world and pouring it into this look that will flash you for a moment in one of the few photos I have been able to take. There is no point in screaming. Nothing will break the silence at this end of the world.
Krajka and Krakers. Mother and son. Together in this barn. Together they will climb the steep ladder together in a moment. Under one sky, under the cover of night, hidden like the worst sin. Up the gangplank, which will crash down for them in a moment. It is a bang that no one ever hears and everyone, pretending to be surprised, asks: “Is this where someone keeps horses for slaughter? I do not know anything..”
Together, minute by minute, the mother and son will move closer to their goal. A goal that will end all this suffering. There will be no need for a collection or any photos anymore. You won’t need that wall to squeeze into, or that whip that cuts through the silence and scars for the rest of your life. The host will also disappear. The whole world that only bore suffering will disappear. This blow seems to be salvation, a blow to this martyred Krajka’s head. A blow that will cut the guesswork out of whether it was worth it.
No, it wasn’t worth it.
It wasn’t worth being a good horse. It was not worth working beyond expectations for years. It wasn’t worth doing everything to please a man. It wasn’t worth the heartbeats and those millions of seconds of unlimited devotion. Believe me, it wasn’t worth it.