‘The Continuation Of The Story Of A Horse’ by Isaac Babel

The Continuation Of The Story Of A Horse by Isaac Babel, 1926

The magic trick:

Showing how quickly war can breed disillusionment

As we saw yesterday’s feature, “Afonka Bida,” recall a previous story in the Red Cavalry cycle, today’s even more explicitly is a sequel of sorts.

“The Story Of A Horse” told of the petty argument over a horse between soldiers of different rank. The lower ranking soldier lost his argument, lost his horse, and nearly lost his mind.

The continuation of that story flashes forward four months and consists of two letters between the men. The letters, though brief, show a dramatic turning of the tables.

The disillusionment shoe is on the other foot now.

But, like it’s preceding story, the result of the argument isn’t really the point. The fact that these men are in and out of belief says so much about the nature of this particular war and the values of war in general.

And that’s quite a trick on Babel’s part.

The selection:

And we hope that that white stallion will trot beneath you on soft paths for many a year to come in aid of Freedom so beloved by all, and the Brother Republics in which we must keep a sharp eye out for the provincial authorities and the district units in an administrative respect….

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