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Strawberry Shakespeare

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From A Horse's Point of View! Ch. 14
By Strawberry Shakespeare
Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Attention Horse-lovers! The young folks edition of Black Beauty, the great classic novel by Anna Sewell, is available for your reading pleasure on Strawberry Shakespeare's site. Check out this wonderful readaloud for the whole family -- from a horse's point of view. Enjoy Chapter 14 right now!




by Anna Sewell








One day, while our cab and many others were waiting outside one of the

parks where music was playing, a shabby old cab drove up beside ours.

The horse was an old worn-out chestnut, with an ill-kept coat, and bones

that showed plainly through it, the knees knuckled over, and the

fore-legs were very unsteady. I had been eating some hay, and the wind

rolled a little lock of it that way, and the poor creature put out her

long thin neck and picked it up, and then turned round and looked about

for more. There was a hopeless look in the dull eye that I could not

help noticing, and then, as I was thinking where I had seen that horse

before, she looked full at me and said, "Black Beauty, is that you?"


It was Ginger! but how changed! The beautifully arched and glossy neck

was now straight, and lank, and fallen in; the clean, straight legs and

delicate fetlocks were swelled; the joints were grown out of shape with

hard work; the face, that was once so full of spirit and life, was now

full of suffering, and I could tell by the heaving of her sides, and her

frequent cough, how bad her breath was.  Our drivers were standing

together a little way off, so I sidled up to her a step or two, that we

might have a little quiet talk. It was a sad tale that she had to tell.


After a twelve month's run off at Earlshall, she was considered to be fit

for work again, and was sold to a gentleman. For a little while she got

on very well, but after a longer gallop than usual, the old strain

returned, and after being rested and doctored she was again sold. In

this way she changed hands several times, but always getting lower down.


"And so at last," said she, "I was bought by a man who keeps a number of

cabs and horses, and lets them out. You look well off, and I am glad of

it, but I could not tell you what my life has been. When they found out

my weakness, they said I was not worth what they gave for me, and that I

must go into one of the low cabs, and just be used up; that is what they

are doing, whipping and working with never one thought of what I

suffer--they paid for me, and must get it out of me, they say. The man

who hires me now pays a deal of money to the owner every day, and so he

has to get it out of me, too; and so it's all the week round and round,

with never a Sunday rest."


I said, "You used to stand up for yourself if you were ill-used."


"Ah!" she said, "I did once, but it's no use; men are strongest, and if

they are cruel and have no feeling, there is nothing that we can do but

just bear it--bear it on and on to the end. I wish the end was come, I

wish I was dead. I have seen dead horses, and I am sure they do not

suffer pain."


I was very much troubled, and I put my nose up to hers, but I could say

nothing to comfort her. I think she was pleased to see me, for she said,

"You are the only friend I ever had."


Just then her driver came up, and with a tug at her mouth, backed her

out of the line and drove off, leaving me very sad, indeed.


A short time after this, a cart with a dead horse in it passed our cab

stand. The head hung out of the cart tail, the lifeless tongue was

slowly dropping with blood; and the sunken eyes! but I can't speak of

them, the sight was too dreadful! It was a chestnut horse with a long,

thin neck. I saw a white streak down the forehead. I believe it was

Ginger; I hoped it was, for then her troubles would be over. Oh! if men

were more merciful, they would shoot us before we came to such misery.



For kids who love stories about horses, a must-read is Saving Bluestone Belle, the award-winning comic-adventure novel by Strawberry Shakespeare. Click here to see the eye-popping book cover and learn more about this rollicking adventure tale! Also be sure to check out Strawberry Shakespeare's new short story collection for kids, The Cloud Horse, containing three enchanting fables that are guaranteed to please the fussiest young reader.






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