I love it whenever I find a good horse story and this one is a dandy! I found it in an ethnography about the Yaquis of Sonora that was written in the 1940's. The horse covered in watermelon vines was an image that just begged me to bring it to life. So I did.
The horse is of cedar and the base of pine, decorated with acrylic paint; horsehair; fur, and seed beads. Approximately 8"x8"x12", c. 1999, Luna Rivera
Scroll below the image to read the story of the Watermelon Horse.
In old Sonora lived Tesak Pascola, a Yaqui gentleman rancher. He had an old horse who was his favorite: didn't use him much; just let the old horse wander free on the vast pastures of the rancho. One time, Tesak Pascola decided to visit a friend on a neighboring rancho. Seeing the old favorite grazing close to the hacienda, he decided to saddle him up and ride him the little way to the neighbor's. And so they went. Tesak spent a pleasant afternoon with his friend, and was gifted with a fine watermelon from the friend's garden to take home, as well. When he was ready to return home, Tesak noticed that the trip had caused the old horse to acquire a saddle sore on his back. He felt real bad about this, and decided to leave his saddle and walk the horse home. First he applied a healing pack of mud to the horse's back, then off home they went. Tesak cut into the watermelon and shared it with the old horse as they walked. Munch, munch, they ate the watermelon and tossed the seeds away. When they got home, Tesak applied more mud to the horse and then turned him loose to roam.....Tesak didn't see the old one for quite a while, but he didn't think much about this, as the rancho was such a huge place. Then one day he decided to go in search of the old horse. But he couldn't find him anywhere! Worried, Tesak continued to search and search. What he did find in one field was a huge watermelon vine...and comming from inside a sound: "munch, munch"! Tesak Pascole began tearing thru the vine and at the center found...his old horse! Contentedly munching watermelons! The seeds Tesak had thrown away on that day weeks ago had taken root in the mud on the horse's back and grown with the monsoon rains...rooting the horse to the ground eventually, but he didn't care- he was growing himself an endless supply of delicious watermelons to eat (for you non-horse people: horses LOVE watermelon)! All good things come to an end, however- Tesak cut away the vine, and also harvested many good-sized ripe watermelons the horse hadn't gotten to, yet. And he shared the melons with all the neighbors.....A few years later, the well-loved old horse died. Then the whole community gave a fiesta and mourned the passing of Tesak Pascola's Wonderful Watermelon Horse.