Last year, the children had a trampoline. It was black, with a blue pad around the circumference, and it was about the right size for the humans. Three feet across, maybe four, and no bigger around than a mule's belly. They jumped on it, one at a time . . . sink down two inches, bounce up six inches . . . sink down two inches, bounce up six inches . . .
Well, come summer they got a package from their human grandpa. They began to unwrap it, and it was full of rubber mesh and metal legs and a big green pad about 15 feet in diameter. It was, I realized, a trampoline! A huge one! A really, really huge one! Huge enough, I was sure, that it could not possibly be intended for the human children. It had to be for me!
Imagine my excitement. Little old me—Fenway Bartholomule, a small brown mule from a small green village, with a trampoline of my very own! I was tickled.
Well, there's this sad news—it was not for me. It turns out that there is a "no shoes, no bikes, and no hooves on the trampoline" rule. It is for those human children, those three diminutive little bipeds, and for them alone. They jump, and they jump, and they jump, and while they jump I think about how I am expected to jump on the cold, hard clay that stands in for an arena here at Bent Barrow Farm and how I am expected to jump over terrible heaps of brush and logs when we are out on the trail and how, despite my importance and my sophistication and my big, beautiful brown eyes, I am never invited to spring upon the soft and elastic surface of the giant trampoline.