The Mosquito and the Horse

An Estonian fairy tale, this version is from Tales of The Amber Sea, compiled and translated by Irina Zheleznova in 1974.

One day a horse was out grazing in the field when a mosquito flew up to him.

Said the mosquito, seeing that the horse did not notice him: “Don’t you see me, Horse?”

“I see you now,” the horse replied.

The mosquito looked over the horse – he looked at his tail, his back, his hoofs, his neck and at both his ears, one after the other. He looked and he shook his head.

“You’re terribly big , friend, aren’t you!” said he.

“Well, yes, I’m not what you’d call small,” agreed the horse with a nod.

“I am much smaller than you.”

“You are indeed!”

“And you must be strong, too?”

“Strong enough.”

“I don’t suppose a fly could get the better of you, could it?”

“Certainly not!”

“Nor a horse-fly?”

“Nor a horse-fly.”

“Nor even a gadfly?”

“No. Nor even a gadfly.”

The mosquito was pleased.

“The horse is strong but I’m even stronger,” thought he, and, sticking out his chest, said:

“You may be big and strong, Horse, but we mosquitoes are stronger still. We need only light into you, and you’ll be done for. We’ll win hands down!”

“No, you won’t!” said the horse.

“Yes, we will!”



They went on like that for an hour and then another, but neither would let the other have the last word.

“It’s no use arguing,” said the horse at last. “We can have it out between us and see who wins!”

“Yes, let’s do that!” the mosquito agreed.

He rose from where he has been sitting on the horse’s back and called in a piping voice:

“hey, there, mosquitoes, fly here.”

And at this so many mosquitoes came flying toward him as cannot be imagined! From a birch wood they flew, and from a spruce grove, from the swamps, and the pond, and the river, and they all flew straight at the horse. They settled all over him and clung to his body, and the horse asked:

“Well, are all of you here now?”

“All!” replied the first mosquito who was a bully if there ever was one.

“And has each found a place for himself?”


“Then hold on fast!” said the horse.

He flung himself down on his back, his hoofs sticking up in the air, and began rolling from side to side, and in less than a minute he had squashed all the mosquitoes. Of the whole mighty host only one little soldier was left alive, and even so his wings were grazed, and, apart from him, the bully who had been sitting some distance away from the rest. That is always the way with bullies: they start a fight and then steal off and don’t take part in it.

The little soldier who had only just managed to fly away from the horse now flew up to the bully, and addressing him as if he was a general, reported:

“The horse is dead! He was killed on the spot! Had we had only four more men we might have clung to his hoofs and skinned him.”

“Good work!” said the bully, and off he flew to the forest in all hasted in order to notify the bugs and the gnats of the victory. For this was no joke! The mosquitoes had vanquished a horse, so surely their tribe was the mightiest of all the tribes on earth!

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