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Moondancer looked across the table at her son, who was silently playing with his food. Normally he’d be talking a mile a minute about all the things he was reading about. This wasn’t like him.

“How was your first day of school?”

The mule colt sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Somehow Moondancer already knew what was wrong as she searched for a way to address it. “Are the other foals nice?”

“No!” Solomon cried. “All they did was stare at my ears and my teeth and laugh when they thought I couldn’t hear them. I don’t want to go back! Ever!”

“Sol, you have to go to school,” Moondancer countered. “What about all the things you were so excited to learn this year?”

“I don’t care about that if I have to deal with them all day,” he pinned his ears back. “Can’t I wear a hat to school? Or a mask? So they don’t stare at me?”

Moondancer moved over to sit beside her son, patting him comfortingly on the shoulder. “Don’t give those other fillies and colts any attention. They’re probably jealous that they aren’t as special and unique as you, so they make fun to try to feel better about themselves. You stand out and they wish they could too.”

“I don’t WANT to stand out!” Solomon cried. “I don’t WANT to be special! I just want them to leave me alone!” He shoved his food away in frustration. “Can I just…Can I be excused now?”

Moondancer nodded somberly as she watched him get up and head to his room. “Yes, Solomon. You may be excused.”
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