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    Chapter 3

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    Chapter 3
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    TRICKING TWINKLEHEELS



    Clutching in one hand the four-quart measure with a taste of oats in it, and holding the halter carefully behind his back, Johnnie Green walked slowly towards Twinkleheels. He called with short, sharp whistles--all on one note. And Twinkleheels soon came cantering up from the other side of the brook, where he had been feeding. As he neared Johnnie Green he slowed down to a walk.

    Johnnie stood still and shook the oats about inside the measure, holding it up so that Twinkleheels could see it.

    Twinkleheels whinnied. He knew that sound. He thought it one of the pleasantest on the farm. He, too, stopped. Then he moved forward a few steps, stopped again, sniffed, and at last came straight up to Johnnie and thrust his nose into the grain measure.

    While he was munching the oats Johnnie Green passed the end of the halter rope about his neck.

    "There!" Johnnie cried. "There, young fellow! Now I've got you. And you'll never lead me such a merry chase again."

    Twinkleheels acted as mild as the Muley Cow. He stood perfectly still while Johnnie slipped the halter on his head and buckled it. Then he followed Johnnie to the pasture bars, down the lane, and into the barn.

    "I got him!" Johnnie called to his father.

    "I thought you would," said Farmer Green. "That pony likes oats too well to resist a taste of them."

    After that Johnnie had little trouble catching Twinkleheels in the pasture. Somehow the sound of the shaking oats, and the sight of the grain measure, seemed to put all thought of the halter out of his head.

    To be sure, once Johnnie forgot what he was doing and hid the oats behind his back, while he held the halter up in front of him and shook that at Twinkleheels. And it was an hour, that time, before Twinkleheels would let Johnnie come near him.

    But that was a mistake.

    One day Johnnie Green was in a great hurry. He was going to ride over the hill, to play with some friends. Running to the barn, he caught up Twinkleheels' halter and snatched the four-quart measure off the top of a barrel.

    "I won't stop to take any oats to-day," Johnnie said to himself. "I'll fool Twinkleheels. It will be a good joke on him when he puts his nose into the measure and finds it empty."

    Johnnie Green hurried to the pasture. At his first whistle Twinkleheels pricked up his ears. He had come to think only of one thing when that whistle sounded in the pasture. That one thing was oats. And now Twinkleheels squealed and kicked and tore down the hillside to the bars, where Johnnie Green stood and waved the grain measure in the air.

    Twinkleheels had long since given up stopping to listen for the swish of the oats inside the measure. He came trotting up to Johnnie and reached his head out for the treat that he had always found waiting for him.

    He thrust his nose into the measure. There was something wrong. He blew into the measure. Then he snorted and drew back. And if Johnnie Green hadn't been spry Twinkleheels would have given him the slip.

    But Johnnie grabbed him and had the halter on him in a twinkling.

    "I fooled you this time," said Johnnie as he turned to let down the pasture bars.

    Twinkleheels hung his head.
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