Basma and Stardust
Basma couldn’t stop biting her nails. She was nervous because it was her first horse riding lesson.
She loved horses, and had wanted to ride for as long as she could remember. But now – when it was her chance to try it for the first time – she was getting cold feet.
Her mind was racing as she worried about all sorts of things that could go wrong:
- What if the horse didn’t like her?
- What if it didn’t want her to get on?
- Would he throw her off?
- Maybe it was too soon…maybe she should come back when she was older.
It was too much for her to bear, and she turned to walk away.
Mother: “Basma. Where are you going? It’s almost your turn to ride?”
Basma (yelling): “I don’t want to! I changed my mind…”
Basma (pleasing): “Can’t we just go home?”
Her mother knelt beside her and looked her in the eyes:
Mother: “Basma…I know you’re scared. But remember: this has been your dream for so long. Let’s just try it out and see.”
Basma (refusing): “No! I’m scared!”
Mother: “Basma…let’s breathe. Take 3 deep breaths with me….In through the nose, and out through the mouth.” her mom said.
Mother: “Are you ready?”
Basma (nervously): “Um….I…OK…yes”
Mother: “One…” (Mom breathes first, then Basma)
Mother: “Two…” (Mom breathes first, then Basma)
Mother: “Three…” (Mom breathes first, then Basma)
Mother: “Feeling better?”
Basma (whispering): “No….well….a little, I guess.”
Mother: “OK – let’s try this, then.”
“Tell me 4 things you can see.”
Basma looked around:
Basma: “Um….trees. I see trees.”
Mother: “Good! What else?”
Basma: “Clouds. That one looks like cotton candy!”
Basma: “Grass! I see lovely green grass”
Mother: “It is beautiful”
“One more, Basma. What else do you see?”
<Rooster sound effect: Cocka-doodle-doo!> shrieked a rooster
Basma: “A rooster! I see a rooster!”
Mother: “Awesome, Basma!”
Mother: “Now…what can you hear? Tell me three things you can hear.”
Basma: “Birds! They’re singing so beautifully today!”
Mother (agreeing): “They certainly are!”
Basma: “I know! Children playing! I can hear them on the playground.”
Mother: “Nice, Basma! Maybe we can go play with them later…”
Basma: “That would be nice.”
Basma: “Crickets…I hear crickets!”
Mother: “Really? I can’t even…” <cricket sound effect>…”Oh. There it is!”
Mother: “Are you alright now, Basma?”
Basma: “Almost…this is fun!”
Mother: “OK, OK.”
“Now…what can you smell? Name two things!”
Basma took a few deep sniffs.
Basma: “The air! It’s got a lovely fresh smell to it.”
Mother: “Yes, Basma. It’s always beautiful after the rain. Alhamdullilah.”
Basma thought a little while longer.
Basma: “Strawberry….I smell strawberry!”
Mother (confused): “But there are no strawberries here,”.
Basma smiled slyly.
Mom took a while, then figured it out.
Mother: “You sneaked bubblegum out of the cupboard at home, didn’t you?!”
<Basma giggles>: “Just one piece!”
Mother: “OK, OK. But next time, ask before you take.”
Basma:: “Yes, mom.”
Mother: “OK Basma…last one. Tell me what you can…..TOUCH!”
Basma thought long about it, then ran into mom’s arms and gave her a big hug.
Basma: “You! I can touch you, mom!”
Mother: “And mommy loves you!”
Mother: “Are you alright now, Basma? Can we go see the horses?”
Basma (tentatively): “Um….OK. Yes…let’s go.”
Basma took a deep breath, then headed off to the stables with mom.
<sound of horses neighing>
Basma: “Mom! Look!” Basma pointed at a big, chestnut brown horse.
Mother: “Wow! Shall we go say hello?”
Basma stepped forward slowly, then stopped. Walking over to her was the most beautiful dapple grey horse, smaller than the others.
Basma: “It’s so pretty! Look how his coat shines!”
“He likes you!” said a lady walking behind the horse. “I think he was waiting for you to come ride.”
Mother: “What’s his name?”
Macy: “Stardust. And I’m Macy. Nice to meet you.”
Mother: “Nice to meet you too” said mom.
Basma (excited): “Staaaaar-dust!”
Macy: “Come on. Let’s get you started.”
She got a little purple helmet out and fastened it onto Basma’s head.
Macy: “Safety first!”
Basma walked slowly towards Stardust and put her hand on his mane.
<sound of horse neighing then snorting>
Basma pulled away.
Macy: “Don’t worry. He won’t hurt you. He’s really friendly!”
Macy: “Come on.”
She led Basma to the left side of Stardust, helped her put her foot into the stirrup, then helped her get up onto Stardust.
Macy: “Since it’s your first time, you just hang onto the reins, and I’m going to lead him.”
Basma (nervous): “OK”
Mother: “Basma..let’s first recite our dua before you go.”
<Mom and Basma recite together>
In the name of Allah it will go, and in the name of Allah it will stop. Indeed our Lord is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Macy: “Shall we?”
Mom and Basma nodded in unison.
Macy led Stardust, as he trotted down a path through the meadow. Basma was a little nervous, but the further they went, the more confident she became.
As Stardust started walking faster, Basma closed her eyes and felt the wind through her hair.
She imagined Stardust was galloping through the meadow, as she held on a steered him all through the flowers. He came to a gate, but jumped right over!
“This is so much fun!”
She couldn’t contain her joy. It was almost as if Stardust was made for her!
<Mom’s voice coming from afar> “…Basma…Basma! Are you OK?”
Basma opened her eyes and looked around. Macy was smiling, still pulling Stardust along. She was daydreaming!
Macy (laughing): “I can see you’re enjoying this!”
Basma: “Mm hmm.”
Macy led Stardust around one last corner, then back to Basma’s mom.
Basma (squealing): “That was so much fun! Can we come again tomorrow? Please?! Please, mom?!”
Mother (playful tone): “You’re not scared anymore?”
Basma: “No! I love Stardust! I want to ride every day!”
Narrator’s voice: “Sometimes, it can be difficult to start something new, and our worries can stop us from trying. But if we just take some time to try to calm down, and go slowly, we often find that it’s not as scary as we thought. If we face our fears – with some help from others – we grow braver, and we can end up having a lot of fun!”
Written by: Yacoob Manjoo – South Africa