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Mark Twain – A Horse’s Tale

I am Buffalo Bill’s horse.  I have spent my life under his saddle—with him in it, too, and he is good for two hundred pounds, without his clothes; and there is no telling how much he does weigh when he is out on the war-path and has his batteries belted on.  He is over six feet, is young, hasn’t an ounce of waste flesh, is straight, graceful, springy in his motions, quick as a cat, and has a handsome face, and black hair dangling down on his shoulders, and is beautiful to look at; and nobody is braver than he is, and nobody is stronger, except myself.  Yes, a person that doubts that he is fine to see should see him in his beaded buck-skins, on my back and his rifle peeping above his shoulder, chasing a hostile trail, with me going like the wind and his hair streaming out behind from the shelter of his broad slouch.  Yes, he is a sight to look at then—and I’m part of it myself.

I am his favorite horse, out of dozens.  Big as he is, I have carried him eighty-one miles between nightfall and sunrise on the scout; and I am good for fifty, day in and day out, and all the time.  I am not large, but I am built on a business basis.  I have carried him thousands and thousands of miles on scout duty for the army, and there’s not a gorge, nor a pass, nor a valley, nor a fort, nor a trading post, nor a buffalo-range in the whole sweep of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains that we don’t know as well as we know the bugle-calls.  He is Chief of Scouts to the Army of the Frontier, and it makes us very important.  In such a position as I hold in the military service one needs to be of good family and possess an education much above the common to be worthy of the place.  I am the best-educated horse outside of the hippodrome, everybody says, and the best-mannered.  It may be so, it is not for me to say; modesty is the best policy, I think.  Buffalo Bill taught me the most of what I know, my mother taught me much, and I taught myself the rest.  Lay a row of moccasins before me—Pawnee, Sioux, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and as many other tribes as you please—and I can name the tribe every moccasin belongs to by the make of it.  Name it in horse-talk, and could do it in American if I had speech.

EText-No. 1086
Title: A Horse’s Tale
Author: Twain, Mark, 1835-1911
Language: English
Link: etext97/hrstl10h.htm


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