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    Chapter 9

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    Chapter 9
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    THE RACE



    When Johnnie Green turned Twinkleheels and the old horse Ebenezer into the pasture, the first thing they did was to drop down on the grass and enjoy a good roll.

    There was a vast difference in their actions. Twinkleheels was as spry as a squirrel. He rolled from one side to the other and back again, jumped up and shook himself like old dog Spot, almost before Ebenezer had picked out a nice, smooth place to roll on.

    Ebenezer bent his legs beneath him in a gingerly fashion and sank with something like a sigh upon the green, grassy carpet. It was only with a great effort that he managed at last to roll all the way over; and then he couldn't roll back again. Clumsily he flung his fore feet in front of himself and by a mighty heave pulled himself off the ground.

    "Slow, isn't he?" Twinkleheels remarked to the Muley Cow, who was chewing her cud and looking on.

    "He doesn't get up the right way," said the Muley Cow. "When rising from the ground one should stand on his hind feet first."

    "I don't agree with you," Twinkleheels told her. "Ebenezer uses the right method. But he's terribly poky about it. You can almost hear his joints creak."

    The Muley Cow was somewhat offended.

    "I've known Ebenezer a great many years," she snapped. "I don't care to hear a young upstart--a mere pony--make fun of him."

    Twinkleheels moved away. He felt the least bit uncomfortable.

    "I don't like your young friend," said the Muley Cow to the old horse Ebenezer. "He hasn't a proper respect for old people like you and me."

    "Oh, he's not a bad sort," Ebenezer replied. "He has a good many things to learn. Perhaps he'll be wiser by night. I shouldn't worry about him, if I were you."

    The Muley Cow told Ebenezer that he was entirely too good-natured. And they went their own ways, grazing and rambling aimlessly about the pasture.

    Now and then, during the day, they chanced to meet. And always the Muley Cow asked Ebenezer if Twinkleheels had learned anything more.

    "Not yet!" Ebenezer said, each time. "The day's not done till sunset."

    Well, late in the afternoon Johnnie Green came slowly up the lane and stood by the pasture bars and whistled. Twinkleheels and Ebenezer happened to be together when they heard that cheerful chirp.

    "I'll race you to the bars!" Twinkleheels exclaimed.

    "Agreed!" cried Ebenezer. The word was no sooner out of his mouth than he started with a rush. He was three jumps ahead of Twinkleheels before that surprised pony began to run.

    "I'll soon catch the old horse," Twinkleheels thought. "He can't last long. I'll pass him before we reach the brook."

    Before Twinkleheels came to the brook Ebenezer had crossed it in one mighty leap. He was pounding along with a powerful stride over the firm turf of the pasture. And behind him Twinkleheels' pattering feet struggled to shorten the distance between them.

    To Twinkleheels' dismay he saw that Ebenezer was steadily drawing away from him. Although Twinkleheels ran his fastest, Ebenezer reached the bars six good lengths ahead of him.
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