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Young George And The Colt

from Good Stories For Great Holidays - WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY





BY HORACE E. SCUDDER

There is a story told of George Washington's boyhood,--unfortunately
there are not many stories,--which is to the point. His father had taken
a great deal of pride in his blooded horses, and his mother afterward
took pains to keep the stock pure. She had several young horses that
had not yet been broken, and one of them in particular, a sorrel, was
extremely spirited. No one had been able to do anything with it, and it
was pronounced thoroughly vicious as people are apt to pronounce horses
which they have not learned to master.

George was determined to ride this colt, and told his companions that if
they would help him catch it, he would ride and tame it.

Early in the morning they set out for the pasture, where the boys
managed to surround the sorrel, and then to put a bit into its mouth.
Washington sprang upon its back, the boys dropped the bridle, and away
flew the angry animal.

Its rider at once began to command. The horse resisted, backing about
the field, rearing and plunging. The boys became thoroughly alarmed,
but Washington kept his seat, never once losing his self-control or his
mastery of the colt.

The struggle was a sharp one; when suddenly, as if determined to rid
itself of its rider, the creature leaped into the air with a tremendous
bound. It was its last. The violence burst a blood-vessel, and the noble
horse fell dead.

Before the boys could sufficiently recover to consider how they should
extricate themselves from the scrape, they were called to breakfast;
and the mistress of the house, knowing that they had been in the fields,
began to ask after her stock.

"Pray, young gentlemen," said she, "have you seen my blooded colts in
your rambles? I hope they are well taken care of. My favorite, I am
told, is as large as his sire."

The boys looked at one another, and no one liked to speak. Of course the
mother repeated her question.

"The sorrel is dead, madam," said her son, "I killed him."

And then he told the whole story. They say that his mother flushed with
anger, as her son often used to, and then, like him, controlled herself,
and presently said, quietly:--

"It is well; but while I regret the loss of my favorite, I rejoice in my
son who always speaks the truth."





Next: Washington The Athlete

Previous: Three Old Tales



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