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    Chapter 8

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    Chapter 8
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    A GOOD SLEEPER



    Twinkleheels' stall was an end one. Next to him stood the old horse Ebenezer; and beyond Ebenezer were the two bays. Twinkleheels often wished that he might have someone for his nearest neighbor that was a bit livelier than Ebenezer. When the old horse stayed in the barn he spent a great deal of his time with his eyes half shut, dozing. If Twinkleheels spoke to him, Ebenezer seldom heard him the first time. And often Ebenezer even fell asleep while Twinkleheels was talking to him.

    Twinkleheels always moved smartly. Ebenezer took his time about everything. When anybody backed him between the thills of a wagon he was as slow as Timothy Turtle and no more graceful. And while people harnessed him he usually sighed heavily now and then, because he dreaded being hurried along the road.

    Before Twinkleheels came to the farm to live, Johnnie Green had thought it quite a lark to drive or ride Ebenezer. Now, however, Johnnie paid little heed to the old horse. And, to tell the truth, Ebenezer was content to be let alone.

    "This boy must have found it a bit poky, riding you," Twinkleheels remarked to Ebenezer one day when he noticed that the old horse was actually wide-awake.

    "He found me safe," Ebenezer replied. "That's why Farmer Green let Johnnie ride me."

    "It's a wonder you didn't fall asleep and tumble down and throw Johnnie," Twinkleheels said.

    "I'm very sure-footed," Ebenezer told him proudly. "Of course, a person will step on a loose stone now and then. But I've never really stumbled in my whole life."

    "How old are you?" Twinkleheels inquired.

    "I'm twenty," Ebenezer told him.

    "And you've never stumbled in all that time!" Twinkleheels cried. "How did you manage to stay on your feet like that?"

    "By minding my business," Ebenezer explained with a shrewd glance at his young companion. The answer--and the look--were both lost on Twinkleheels.

    "I heard Farmer Green tell Johnnie to turn me and you into the pasture to-morrow," he told Ebenezer.

    "Don't you mean 'you and me'?" Ebenezer suggested mildly.

    "Well, it's the same thing, isn't it?" Twinkleheels retorted.

    "There's a slight difference," said Ebenezer. "I see there are some things you've never been taught. Colts were different when I was a yearling."

    Twinkleheels looked almost angry.

    "I hope," he snapped, "you don't take me for a yearling. Just because I'm a pony--and small--you needn't think I'm an infant. Why, I'm five years old!"

    Old Ebenezer yawned. It seemed as if he was always sleepy.

    "You've a good deal to learn," he said. "When I was five I thought I knew everything.... I still find that I can learn something almost every day."

    Twinkleheels sniffed. "I don't believe you've picked up much that was new to-day," he said. "You've been dozing every moment, except when you ate your meals."

    To his great disgust, Ebenezer gave a sort of snort. He no longer heard anything that his youthful neighbor said.

    "I'll see that he learns something in the pasture to-morrow," Twinkleheels promised himself. "I'll get him to race with me--if he can stay awake long enough. And I'll show him such a burst of speed as he's never seen in all his twenty years."
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