This is just a short little story I wrote last night.
The stable boy had never intended to offend anyone that day. In fact, despite having the rise early to fulfill his daily responsibilities, he was having a reasonably good day. Whistling a merry tune, he was just now setting to cleaning out the stables. Other helpers would be dealing with the other responsibilities for right now, and that left him in charge of the stables.
What occupants the stalls had were all asleep for the moment, taking a few more minutes worth of rest before they would have to wake fully. That suited the stable boy fine. He loved horses, but he also enjoyed his short time alone in the early mornings.
It was not until he heard something buzzing about his ear that there was even a hint of annoyance. Still, he shrugged it off and the buzzing left after only a short moment. Unfortunately, it came back again, more aggressive now. He sighed and gently brushed his hand by his cheek, trying to remove his unwanted visitor. The third time he was significantly less subtle about it. He swung his hand towards the sound with a muttered word of exasperation. He hit something, and was finally satisfied that his problem had been dealt with.
Suddenly, a strange blue aura began to grow about him. He blinked in surprise, dropping the thick straw broom that he had been using to clear the stable floor. He hadn't meant to drop it; his fingers simply refused to hold it anymore. Before he could divine the reason, however, he seemed to launch up further into the air, the beneficiary of a sudden and quite unexpected spurt of growth.
By now he was completely certain that he had run afoul of some sort of evil witchery. His thoughts were only confirmed further when his chest was thrust out into a barreled shape, snapping the straps on his overalls and causing them to collapse to the ground beneath him. This was not a moment too soon, as the rest of his body followed his chest in expanding, growing larger and thicker, even as his remaining clothing burst and fell about him in a disorganized heap. He might have taken more care for his nudity if his arms had not chosen that moment to refuse to move as expected. Instead of the flexibility he had grown to expect from his arms, he could only hold them out in front of him, hands falling lower than he had expected, but not nearly far enough to cover him. He had more problems than his present nudity, however. It seemed that his elbows had reversed, and now more resembled knees in appearance and function.
He had hardly begun to consider this when he felt an itch from behind. Before he could give it a second thought, he gave his long brown tail a flick in the direction of the itch and met with the realization that he had somehow come by a tail in the last few moments. The itching continued however, growing more expansive as it seemed to cover him completely. As his body itched, his skin darkened and thickened, now thick hide rather than soft human skin. A piebald coat of fur, colored brown and white, suddenly and quickly overtook his new hide.
He turned to look at himself, and his neck stretched out to accommodate this action, growing long hair along its length in a mane as he turned. Just as he caught sight of his hands, now very quickly being absorbed by the black mass of his forehooves, his face pushed out in front of him. Eyes fled to the sides of his head, even as his ears raised up into points and took their posts on either side of his mane.
The stable boy blinked, looking himself over as he realized that he now more readily resembled the other occupants of the stables than his fellows in the bunkhouse. The next moment he dropped to his four hooves, hips refusing to hold him upright for any length of time anymore. He snorted and gave an indignant whinny, just as his eyes crossed, staring straight at a glowing blue speck that now sat on his muzzle.
"What's this lark, then?" the thing said, giving a flick of its iridescent blue wings. The stable boy recognized the buzzing sounds they gave immediately. "It's been ages since the last joker gave me reason tae be angry wit 'im," the creature drawled in a thick, and likely fake, Scottish accent.
The stable boy tried to apologize, and was surprised to hear his voice, deeper though it might have been, coming from the horse's body. "I'm quite sorry, sir! I did not see you, and the buzzing of your wings simply made me think you were a horsefly. I had no idea that you were one of the fae folk!"
"Hah! Grand fool this one thinks I am! Change ye back and ye'd be off tae sick yer fellows on me and mine. Nae, yer lot shall be in the stables with yer hoofmates till the punishment run its course. Say, till the comin' of spring."
The stable boy snorted in surprise. "I can't be a horse for half a year!" he cried, his voice carrying a desperate whicker.
"Can ye not? As I see it, ye already are a fine piece of horseflesh for the present, and I am under no obligation to change ye back at all!" He emphasized this with a lash of magic towards the top of the horse's head. For a moment, the horse's eyes, which had been showing their whites in panic since the end of the change, grew calmer. Behind them, the mind of the boy relented, giving control to the horse whose mind had been awakened by the magic bolt. A moment passed before the boy regained some control, but the horse's mind remained there, alongside his own instead of behind it.
As he spoke, he could not longer separate human language from the tongue of horses. His voice faded from words to neighs, his mind too heavily affected for him to realize the difference. The fae still understood his plea, though: "Please, give me another chance!"
"Aye! Ye already have been given that chance. Ye shall live here as a denizen of these fine stables until the first bud of the coming spring. On that day ye shall again be human, and yer second chance shall begin. Should ye then harm me or another fae, however, yer lot shall remain forever in the stables, and never again as their keeper."
The fae stopped him as he started to protest, rising from his muzzle with a quick wing flap. "Yer punishment is begun! There is nothing further to say." And with that the stable boy forgot human speech and watched as the creature flew away.
The piebald stallion had appeared from nowhere one day, but he had soon become the master's favorite. No one remembered the old stable boy who had once worked there. Regardless, the stallion did, even as thoughts of that man faded until they seemed memories of another person entirely.
And then one day, he again stood on two feet, a little unsteadily, even as his oddly colored beard withdrew into his clean shaven face. He looked at the fae flying before him, even as his human mind returned in full.
"Well lad, have ye learned yer lesson?"
The stable boy looked at himself, smiling as he saw his body again, fingers, hands... He looked at the fae and nodded.
"Aye, I've learned my lesson."
And he slapped the fae out of the air.
No one knew where the piebald mare had come from, and no one seemed to notice the stallion which had gone missing. In the remaining human portion of her mind, however, the mare had one constant thought.
"It was worth it."