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Strawberry Shakespeare

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From A Horse's Point of View! Ch. 15
By Strawberry Shakespeare
Tuesday, November 11, 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 15 right now!




by Anna Sewell








At a sale I found myself in company with a lot of horses--some lame,

some broken-winded, some old, and some that I am sure it would have been

merciful to shoot.


The buyers and sellers, too, many of them, looked not much better off

than the poor beasts they were bargaining about. There were poor old

men, trying to get a horse or pony for a few pounds, that might drag

about some little wood or coal cart. There were poor men trying to sell

a worn-out beast for two or three pounds, rather than have the greater

loss of killing him. Some of them looked as if poverty and hard times

had hardened them all over; but there were others that I would have

willingly used the last of my strength in serving; poor and shabby, but

kind and humane, with voices that I could trust. There was one tottering

old man that took a great fancy to me, and I to him, but I was not

strong enough--it was an anxious time! Coming from the better part of

the fair, I noticed a man who looked like a gentleman farmer, with a

young boy by his side; he had a broad back and round shoulders, a kind,

ruddy face, and he wore a broad-brimmed hat. When he came up to me and

my companions, he stood still, and gave a pitiful look round upon us. I

saw his eye rest on me; I had still a good mane and tail, which did

something for my appearance. I pricked my ears and looked at him.


"There's a horse, Willie, that has known better days."


"Poor old fellow!" said the boy; "do you think, grandpapa, he was ever a

carriage horse?"


"Oh, yes! my boy," said the farmer, coming closer, "he might have been

anything when he was young; look at his nostrils and his ears, the shape

of his neck and shoulder; there's a deal of breeding about that horse."

He put out his hand and gave me a kind pat on the neck. I put out my

nose in answer to his kindness; the boy stroked my face.


"Poor old fellow! see, grandpapa, how well he understands kindness.

Could not you buy him and make him young again as you did with



"My dear boy, I can't make all old horses young; besides, Ladybird was

not so very old, as she was run down and badly used."


"Well, grandpapa, I don't believe that this one is old; look at his mane

and tail. I wish you would look into his mouth, and then you could tell;

though he is so very thin, his eyes are not sunk like some old horses."

The old gentleman laughed. "Bless the boy! he is as horsey as his old



"But do look at his mouth, grandpapa, and ask the price; I am sure he

would grow young in our meadows."


The man who had brought me for sale now put in his word. "The young

gentleman's a real knowing one, sir. Now, the fact is, this 'ere hoss is

just pulled down with over-work in the cabs; he's not an old one, and I

heard as how the vetenary said that a six-months' run off would set him

right up, being as how his wind was not broken. I've had the tending of

him these ten days past, and a gratefuller, pleasanter animal I never

met with, and 'twould be worth a gentleman's while to give a five-pound

note for him, and let him have a chance. I'll be bound he'd be worth

twenty pounds next spring."


The old gentleman laughed, and the little boy looked up eagerly. "O,

grandpapa, did you not say the colt sold for five pounds more than you

expected? You would not be poorer if you did buy this one."


The farmer slowly felt my legs, which were much swelled and strained;

then he looked at my mouth. "Thirteen or fourteen, I should say; just

trot him out, will you?"


I arched my poor thin neck, raised my tail a little and threw out my

legs as well as I could, for they were very stiff.


"What is the lowest you will take for him?" said the farmer as I came

back. "Five pounds, sir; that was the lowest price my master set."


"'Tis a speculation," said the old gentleman, shaking his head, but at

the same time slowly drawing out his purse, "quite a speculation! Have

you any more business here?" he said, counting the sovereigns into his

hand. "No, sir, I can take him for you to the inn, if you please."


"Do so, I am now going there."




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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