Two horses grew up together pulling a cart for a driver. For many years, they worked together and took their driver, who cared for them in every way, to many splendid places carrying many wonderful things in the cart for people all over to enjoy. But one day, each of the horses started to think he was smarter than the rest and that he should be in charge of the cart’s destination.
One wanted to pull the cart one way to the ocean where he believed they could enjoy beautiful days by the water and enjoy life. The other thought it would be better to pull the cart the other way to the forest where they would be protected from storms.
Each refused to help the other pull the cart in the direction the other wanted so the horse on the left gave a great effort and pulled to his side while the other merely stood there. Though the horse was strong, the cart went nowhere. It was too heavy for him to pull on his own.
Then the horse on the right pulled with all his might. Despite his straining, yanking, grunts, and struggling, the cart also failed to move.
Then the two decided to pull at the same time in their own personal directions. They started to sweat, grunting curses against the other, each blaming the other for their lack of progress. They swished their tails and gnashed their teeth crying loudly that if the other would just see reason, they could go to the best place. The only problem was that neither could agree on anything other than the other was completely in the wrong. Their attempts to pull the cart in their own selfish directions erased each other's considerable expenditure of energy.
Soon, the cart began to strain and make ominous cracking sounds. It was going to tear apart if something was not done soon. The normally patient driver, seeing what was happening, decided it was time to take action.
Taking the reins, he started with gentle words and built until he was muscling the two arguing horses almost against their will, he slowly and agonizingly got the two bickering beasts to finally start pulling more or less in the same direction. Even though the cart still creaked and strained, it moved an inch, then a foot, and finally started making progress.
As their harnesses jangled and clanked against the yolk, each said to themselves, "I wonder if that other fool can see we've finally started moving forward!" But even though they were making progress, they still did not see their destination. They continued to resist the cart driver, but being wiser than the two horses, he knew where he was going and continued to resolutely guide the two indignant equines. He led them not left to the ocean with its beauty, but no safety nor did he lead them right to the forest with its shady trees. Instead, he kept forcing and cajoling them to work together, leading them.
Both horses were jolted out of their own selfish thoughts as they stared in surprise at the most beautiful valley they had ever seen. All their egotistical thinking had never allowed them to even think about what lie between the ocean and the forest.
Protected by mountains on every side was a charming little farm nestled next to a magnificent meadow where they could run and play with sweet tasting grass that seemed to grow everywhere. Flowing through the valley was a clear river where they could drink cold, refreshing water any time they wished and plenty of shady trees with large green leaves and sturdy trunks that would protect them from wind and storm. And the best part was there was a huge, majestic red barn absolutely stuffed with hay, oats, and even apples as a treat! Nearby was a big white house for the driver to live with a wide covered porch which held welcoming rocking chairs and potted flowers. The smell of baking bread wafted temptingly from the open door. It was perfect for all of them. Chickens and other animals greeted them all as they approached, cackling, barking, and clucking gleefully.
The horses turned to the driver and asked, "How did you know about this? It's even better than what each of us wanted!"
The cart driver, knowing his horses were headstrong and set in their ways, smiled and said, "You’re both wonderful companions and have excellent ideas of where we can go, but if only one of you got your way all the time, one of you would be perpetually unhappy. We can all agree that fighting against each other made no progress so I listened to what both of you wanted and thought of this place which has a little of everything.”
Turning to one horse, the driver said, “I know it’s not the ocean, but you have beautiful water,” then turning to the other, he continued, “And I know it’s not the forest, but you have shady trees. Remember that only by working together did we come to this destination where all of us could be happy."
He continued, "This doesn't mean that some days won't visit the ocean or others we'll enjoy the forest, but we'll always come back to our home here in the valley in between where we can all live in harmony. But always remember that the cart is heavier than either of you can pull alone. Never forget that you need each other."