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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A terrible story with a happy ending

Art by Xu Beihong
Tragedy was narrowly averted today. I'll tell you how:

I have a blanket strap, torn and ruined after catching on the fence.

I have a fence, mangled and destroyed after catching on the blanket strap.

I have a FarmWife, tired and flooded with adrenaline after rescuing me.

I have neighbors, kind and gentle, who called FarmWife up to tell her that they'd seen her mule galloping over the bridge towards Highway 9. Mel from next door came over to watch the human filly while FarmWife searched for me.

This is how it went then: FarmWife came running over the bridge, panting and calling "muuuule!"  I heard her, and stopped in my tracks. I had been quite busy cantering across the Andersen's lawn, sides heaving, tail in the air. I was still a hundred feet from the highway. (The Highway is where loose livestock go to die in fiery wrecks, FarmWife told me later, but at the time I didn't know that. I thought it was where loose livestock go to escape grabby things.) A couple of other neighbors had assembled and stood sensibly at a distance saying things like, "easy, boy," and "want an apple?"

I heard FarmWife, I stopped, I whirled around, and I went to her. I trotted fancily across the lawn, then bounced up to FarmWife and told her, "oh, I'm so glad you're here. You wouldn't believe what happened. An invisible dragon almost ate me." I put my head in her lap and sighed. I wiped my nose on her tummy (it was running). She haltered me, rubbed my forehead, and took me home, thanking the neighbors on the way.

I am now naked, pending blanket repairs; locked in my little paddock, pending fence repairs; and tired, having just lived through the most exerting experience of my year. FarmWife is relieved that I didn't die under the wheels of a logging truck, and grateful to all the neighbors for their kindness and composure.

So there you go, friends—a good safe fence and a good safe blanket added up to a near-death experience, which proves that even mules are not immune from the horse-like condition of managing to almost die for very stupid reasons.

Now, the big question: should FarmWife get me a new blanket with more secure fasteners or should she leave me nude? She likes me cozy, not to mention clean on riding days, but she doesn't like me getting hung up. She thinks a different brand might suit me (this one has too much drop, meaning the blanket ends at my knees instead of at my tummy), but she's a little spooked by today's events. Your thoughts are welcome.

Ears to you,
Fenway Bartholomule

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