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    Chapter 10

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    Chapter 10
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    The old horse Ebenezer had beaten Twinkleheels in the race to the bars. While Johnnie Green slipped their halters on them, and they munched the oats that he gave them, neither of them spoke. Johnnie mounted Ebenezer bareback; and leading Twinkleheels, he turned down the lane.

    "You're not as slow as I thought you were," Twinkleheels said to Ebenezer as they drew near the barn. "And somehow I couldn't seem to get to running smoothly. I'd like to race you again. I think I could beat you next time."

    "Perhaps you could," said Ebenezer. "I don't often run nowadays. But I did running enough when I was younger. I used to race at the county fair, every fall."

    "Did you ever win a race at the fair?" Twinkleheels inquired.

    "Yes!" Ebenezer answered. "Yes! I can remember winning a race now and then."

    "He never lost a race in his whole life!" cried the Muley Cow, who was walking just ahead of them. "Ebenezer used to be known as the fastest horse in these parts. He had a record."

    Twinkleheels gasped. "A record!" he exclaimed. "What's that?"

    "I don't know, exactly," said the Muley Cow. "I never saw Ebenezer's. But it must have been a fine one, for Farmer Green was always talking about it."

    "A horse's record," Ebenezer explained, "is the fastest time he ever makes in a race." Then he added, to Twinkleheels: "You and I will have another race the next time we're in the pasture together."

    Twinkleheels gave him an odd look. Somehow Ebenezer did not seem just a poky old farm horse, as Twinkleheels had always regarded him. For the first time Twinkleheels noticed that Ebenezer had many good points. There wasn't a single bunch on his legs. And his muscles showed plainly as they rippled on his lean frame beneath a coat that was both short and fine.

    "I don't believe I could beat you if we raced a hundred times," Twinkleheels blurted.

    "Of course you couldn't!" the Muley Cow interrupted again.

    "Oh, you might," Ebenezer said. "There'd be no harm in trying, anyhow. Racing with me would be good practice for you, even if I did win. If you're going to have a race, don't look for an easy one! Choose a hard one. That's the kind that will make you do your best."

    Twinkleheels thanked him.

    "It's very kind of Ebenezer to race with you," the Muley Cow bellowed. "You ought to feel honored."

    "I do," said Twinkleheels. "But please don't talk so loud! I don't want everybody on the farm laughing at me because I lost a race."

    The Muley Cow went into the barn grumbling.

    "That pony is a young upstart," she muttered. "The idea of his telling me not to talk so loud! Ebenezer is altogether too pleasant to him."

    Old Ebenezer continued to be agreeable to Twinkleheels. They often raced in the pasture, later. And though Twinkleheels never won once, he enjoyed the sport.

    And he never called Ebenezer "poky" again.
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