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The Legend of Sable Island's Bare Back Beauty

The Beginning of a Legend

By Donna Fox (HKB)Published about a year ago Updated about a year ago 11 min read
Created with AI Image Generator API

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sable Island, it is a well known island located off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian geography, Nova Scotia is an island province on the east coast.

Sable island is famous for being inhabited by a herd of wild horses. Once having a human settlement for a short time. The village upon the small sand bar -like island, now sits abandoned.

This is where our story takes place.

By Émilie Martin on Unsplash

There is a legend about Sable Island, that tells of a woman they call the Bare Back Beauty.

Legend has it, if you find yourself on Sable Island you may see a starkly dressed woman riding a pure white horse. Leading the herd as they break through the fog.

Many have described the experience as something spiritual in a sense. The moment ends and you lose sight of the herd. But when they emerge again, the pure white horse and woman disappear, not to be seen again for some time.

It is often thought that the woman and lead horse are spirits, which would explain their often sudden disappearance.

Here is the origin story of the Legend of Sable Island’s Bare Back Beauty.

By Thanuj Mathew on Unsplash

Swimming through the ship wreck of Arcadia, I looked through the remains for something tradable. Anything at all that I could take back to the market in exchange for fresh fruit or something more savoury than the seaweed I’ve been living off of.

As I rummaged through what was left behind, I noticed a stray ray of sunshine gleaming down on a pile of valuables. Immediately, I became distracted as my eyes followed the ray of sunlight to the surface.

It had felt like days since I had seen a spec of sunshine in these cold murky waters.

Unable to resist the temptation to absorb some much needed sunshine on my chilly scales. I swam up to the surface, throwing caution to the wind as I burst forth from the water in excitement. Immediately I felt the heat of the sun and warm breeze caress my exposed scales.

I watched my scales fade and turn into something that very closely mimicked human skin.

Floating on my back, I allowed the sunlight to touch all my scales. Warming my body completely.

My peace was interrupted by an unfamiliar sound breaking the ocean’s sweet melody.

Popping my head up, my eyes found a peculiar sight. An island I had yet to notice in the few months I have inhabited the area.

Upon that island was a beach, where many four legged creatures were running in unison.

The drumming of their canter as they ran along the shore, had my heart racing. The creatures moved as one unit, like schools of fish.

Their hair whipping in the wind as their many colours blended into one blurred entity.

My interests peeked, I couldn’t resist an adventure on this beautiful sunny day.

Swimming closer, as I continued to watch the creatures gallop over the sands and grasses of the sand bar- like beach.

The water grew shallow as I swam closer, forcing me to crawl on my forearms up to the beach where I last saw the creatures.

They had disappeared over a small hill and ran out of sight.

Sitting at the waters edge, I resigned myself to soaking up more sunshine while I waited. Hopeful for their return.

But they never came. Soon the sun began to set and there was no sign of my four legged friends.

Knowing the dangers of staying on land, I felt it best to go rest within the nearest shipwreck. You never know when humans or predators could over complicate a situation.

I awoke the next morning, still intrigued by the creatures from yesterday. After collecting a quick seaweed snack I raced back to the island. Although difficult to locate due to the morning fog, I managed to find myself at the edge of the shallows. I then crawled up, just as I had yesterday.

Once upon the beach, I lay still. Waiting for them to emerge from the fog.

Even though I expected their arrival, I still felt stunned at seeing the leader. A pure white creature, leading the herd as he came trotting into view.

The creatures seemed so much more majestic up close. It was like time had slowed down as I watched them cantering towards me and slow as they laid eyes on me.

The leader paused for a moment and the herd followed suit. Then, alone, he cantered up to me. Just out of arms reach as I heard him give a snort as he sniffed in my direction.

I did my best to remain still and low to the ground. I wanted to appear as nonthreatening as possible, in hopes that he would come closer.

The white beauty grew nervous, slowly backed away. Leading the herd away from me and towards a nearby patch of grass.

I remained and watched them graze for some time. Only interrupted by the grumbling of my own stomach.

Looking in my bag, I was sad to find that my seaweed had dried and wasn’t any good. So I crawled back into the ocean and searched for a snack that might satisfy me.

The closest thing I could find was more seaweed, so I begrudgingly collected some and stuffed it in my bag. Chewing on some as I began to return to the island.

But then the idea struck me. The creatures were eating grass on the island, they might like grass from the ocean. AKA seaweed.

It was worth a try, so I turned back and began collecting copious amounts of seaweed and putting it in my bag. Enough that the bag over flowed and was hard to keep closed.

Later that day, I took seaweed to the shore and placed it in several piles. Spreading it out along the beach.

Crawling out towards the open ocean, I stayed on the edge of the shallow water waiting for the creatures to investigate the gift I had left.

Like clockwork, they arrived. Trotting onto the beach as they had the last two times.

The leader stepped towards the seaweed with interest. Tested it and then made a whiney like sound to call the rest. As his herd began to feast on my treat, I watched the leader.

He scanned the horizon looking for the source, until his eyes landed on me.

My heart skipped a beat as my gaze met his pale blue eyes and he froze in place. It felt like an eternity that our eyes were locked and my breath was caught in my throat.

Just as suddenly, the white beauty broke eye contact and lead his herd away.

Leaving my brain buzzing from the interaction, I dove back into the water and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening collecting more seaweed.

I would awake early the next morning to spread more seaweed along the beach again.

This time, the plan was that I would sit next to one of the piles. Hoping to get a closer interaction with the four legged creatures.

As the sun began to rise and the morning fog was slowly clearing, I began to feel thrumming of their many feet hitting the beach sand.

Like the mysterious and ghost- like creatures they were proving to be, the herd emerged from the thickest part of the fog. Still lead by the white beauty.

They didn’t need to investigate the seaweed this time as the herd began to devour this oceanic treat. Making their way from pile to pile, until the last pile to be approached was the one nearest me.

I held my breath as the leader approached me, alone.

His blue eyes wide in a mixture of fear and curiosity. He leaned down, just out of reach. Similar to how he had before, offering his nose forward to smell me.

I continued to hold my breath as I waited for him to make the first move.

He stood motionless, locking his pale eyes on mine. Also waiting for me to make the first move.

My impatience began to win out as I felt my hand rise from my lap. I slowly turned it over to be palm up. Even slower yet, I reached out towards the white beauty. Hoping he would see me as a friend and not a threat.

The white beauty snorted at me in hesitation but took a few tentative steps forward. Nodding his head as his nose met my hand in anticipation.

Taking another short step, he was close enough that his nose was able to nudge the back of my hand.

I stayed still for a moment, unsure of what to do next.

Sensing my hesitation, the white beauty nudged me again so that my hand rest upon his nose.

Without thinking, I used my powers to communicate with him telepathically.

What are you? I asked.

I am a horse, what are you? He replied, freezing in place where my hand rested between his eyes.

I remained breath taken.

I am a mermaid. How did you come to be on this island? I asked, smiling slightly as I rubbed his forehead with my thumb.

I was born here. He explained, tapping the ground with one of his hooved feet.

I have seen you watching us for many days, why? He asked with a shake of his head.

I was curious about you. I have never seen creatures like you before. I explained. Watching you run seems so magical, its like you can fly. I added, my eyes parting from his to see the herd gathered behind him. Hesitating to come a little closer, waiting for his go ahead.

Following my gaze, he broke our connection and looked to the herd. Giving them a nod as though to tell them, it was okay to approach. Then turning back to me and nudging my hand again.

Do you have a herd? He asked, his eyes bore into me again.

I shook my head.

What do they call you? I asked, still fully invested in the white beauty. Trying to keep my focus on him as the others came near enough to investigate me.

They call me Pegasus. He replied, snorting at me once more.

It’s nice to meet you Pegasus, my name is Maris. I replied, smiling as my heart skipped a beat.

I allowed my eyes to wander and found myself surrounded by the entire herd. Made up by all these different coloured horses, all of whom were investigating and sniffing at me in curiosity.

Would you like to fly with us? Pegasus asked, bobbing his head once more in excitement.

I would love to. I replied, starting to scoot myself away from the waters edge to let my fins dry off and my legs form.

Pegasus nosed at me, scooping his head under my arm and pulled me to my feet as they formed.

Then without warning he took off, leading his herd. Giving me an encouraging whiney as though to tell me to follow.

I ran as fast as I could, following the herd. Falling horribly behind.

Pegasus turned around and lead them in a circle around me.

I stood in the eye of a hurricane of horses. Watching as the browns and blacks of the horses hides blurred together. Only able to catch glimpses of white here and there.

Then without warning, Pegasus ran through the middle and scooped me up with his neck. Continuing to run and sweeping me off my feet.

Climb onto my back. He coached, continuing to run and rolling his neck to nudge me.

I scrambled and then found myself on top of the world. Sitting on Pegasus’ back as he lead the herd onward.

The wind whipping through my hair and Pegasus’ too. My heart raced at the adrenaline I now felt.

This was exactly how I imagined running with them would feel like. Just like flying.

As we rode into the sunset, I looked back to see the many foot prints that the herd had left in the sand. I thought about the impact our friendship would have on my life and the foot prints it would leave in the sand of my heart.

By Miguel Alcântara on Unsplash

A few notes from the author:

Now I feel it would be unfair to you if I didn’t explain that this legend is not a genuine one but one of my own making.

However, the island that my fictional story takes place, is very much a real place and is indeed inhabited by a herd of wild horses.

Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to a good friend of mine and a fellow creator on Vocal.

Novel Allen. This author is one of the most beautiful souls I have found on this platform. One of my favourite works of hers that I highly recommend you check out is “Foot Prints in the Sand”. I won’t spoil it for you but I most definitely have a nod to her inspiring work, near the end of my story.

Thank you so much for your support, Novel Allen! Thank you for always inspiring me to leave my own foot prints, just as you always do!

Here is the link to her poem that inspired me:

Short StoryFantasyfamilyFableAdventure

About the Creator

Donna Fox (HKB)

Thank you for stopping by!! 💚💙💜🩵

If you are interested in longer works by me, I have two books published on Amazon.

Jogger's Trail and Fox in The Hole.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (6)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran10 months ago

    Pegasus! Tell me why the hell was I imagining Maximus from Rapunzel? 🤦‍♀️ Anyway, I'm at awe that you created this legend. You know what they call the creators of legends? Legendary! And you are precisely that! Also, I was so happy that the Bare Back Beauty is actually a mermaid!

  • Tina D'Angeloabout a year ago

    Beautiful! It felt very real.

  • Susan Marshallabout a year ago

    Donna, you have written such a lovely, spiritual story with strong connection between the protagonist and Pegasus. The tale echoed of an age that lives in the story and exceeds well before and passed its time. It warms my heart.

  • Jessica Bandaabout a year ago

    Lovely, if only I could be Maris at least for a day.

  • Noyon Khanabout a year ago

    really nice

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    Awwwwwww! Donna. That was so nice of you. So much love just as I was feeling a bit demotivated. A beautiful story. I love the island, mermaids and horses too. You have a brilliant imagination, this is a great story. Fly on winged Pegasus and write your wonderful stories. Great to have you back. Good luck on your journey.

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