The Ballad of Bucephalus
I wrote this a few years ago. Solon, my warpony, really reminds of the horse that Bucephalus must have been.
Ballad of Bucephalus and Alexander
It was a bright sunny morning when you found one another. You were twelve years old, the pride of your father. He was just a young stallion, afraid of all the moved in his world.
There were many in the herd, but you picked him out immediately. Perhaps it was the brilliance of his black coat, or perhaps, that his head was shaped like that of an ox. It mattered not to you that the others made fun of him. You knew he was destined for the same greatness as yourself.
You watched the stallion and your father noted your interest. He beckoned to another to catch the unruly sprite and show off his paces. Rider after rider was thrown to the ground and it was you, a twelve-year old boy, who realized that the stallion was only afraid of his shadow.
Without a word you moved forward to grab the young horse. Your father watched intently as the others around laughed at your boldness. The horse snorted, blowing warm air across your face. You took the reins gently and turned him into the sun. In the blink of an eye you swung upon his back.
And so began the bond that no other could break.
Your father laughed aloud, so proud of his son! “Son, find another Kingdom because Macedonia is too small for you!” When asked what he was to be named you shouted out, “Bucephalus!” Your father shook his head with a smile, knowing something special had happened that day.
Though others could care for him, only you could ride. Soon your adventures took you to far away lands. Among them your trip to Gordium where you cut the Gordian Knot as Bucephalus stood quietly by your side.
There were the battles of Granicus and Issus, Chaeronea and Gaugamela. In all, Bucephalus carried you swiftly through the hordes. There was no man, no cavalry horse that could match your grace and speed. And when you rode, you were one.
Bucephalus fought as bravely as you.
At Jhelum, Bucephalus did not bolt when the trumpeting elephants stormed forward. He held his ground and did his best to keep you protected. As a soldier lashed out, he maneuvered himself in between you and Death itself. But it was Bucephalus who received death’s blow. In the frenzy of the battle, Bucephalus carried on. It was not until you reached camp that you saw the damage that had been done.
Bucephalus gave a brave front, but there was nothing your doctors could do. He went to his knees and you cradled his head. And as it had begun thirty years ago it ended, with a warm breath across your face.
You had become Alexander the Great because of the love and trust of an ox-headed horse. You gave Bucephalus a funeral worthy of the most important member of State. In leading the procession you declared that a city would be named to Honor the greatest of all horses.
And in your dreams, for many years later, you would ride across green valleys on the back of Bucephalus who as he had in life, so he did in death…never left your side.
Dedicated to the memory of Bucephalus, the greatest of all warhorses.
Bucephalus and Alexander