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    Chapter 14

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    Chapter 14
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    STUCK IN A DRIFT



    Outside the barn, in the snow-covered farmyard, Johnnie Green mounted Twinkleheels and rode him beyond the gate, where he could watch the fun up the road.

    Yoked to a sort of plough, Bright and Broad, the oxen, tore through the piled-up snow and threw it to either side in great ridges.

    "I'm going ahead to the crossroads," Johnnie Green told his father.

    That plan pleased Twinkleheels. Before Farmer Green could speak he plunged out of the broken road and wallowed in snow up to his neck. He was going to show Bright and Broad that he could get to the crossroads before they did.

    "Don't do that!" Farmer Green shouted to Johnnie.

    He was too late. The words were scarcely out of his mouth before Twinkleheels was reaching desperately for a footing. His toes found nothing firm beneath them--nothing but yielding snow. And his frantic struggles only made him sink the deeper.

    Johnnie Green slid off Twinkleheels' back and tried to help him.

    He could do nothing. And he turned a somewhat frightened face to his father.

    "We're stuck!" he faltered. "I can get out; but Twinkleheels can't. Do you suppose Bright and Broad could pull him out?"

    "They could yank twenty of him back on the road," Farmer Green declared. "But we don't need them. I'll dig the pony out."

    Seizing a shovel, Johnnie's father slowly dug his way to Twinkleheels, who had stopped struggling and was waiting glumly for help. In a few minutes more he had scrambled out of the ditch and gained the road again, through the path that Farmer Green made for him.

    "Now," said Farmer Green, "don't leave the broken road. This pony's too small to handle himself in these drifts. I wouldn't try to put even a full-sized horse through them. It takes oxen in such going. They're slow; but they're strong and sure-footed, too. And they can go where horses couldn't do anything but flounder and probably cut themselves with their own feet. That's why we always use Bright and Broad to gather sap in the sugar-bush."

    "I'll put Twinkleheels in the barn again," said Johnnie. "Then I'll come back on foot and help you."

    So he rode Twinkleheels back and hitched him in his stall once more.

    Old Ebenezer woke up as Twinkleheels pattered over the barn floor.

    "What!" cried the old horse. "Back again so soon? Did you race with Bright and Broad?"

    "The snow's too deep for a good race," Twinkleheels told him.

    "Bright and Broad don't mind the snow much, do they?" Ebenezer asked.

    "Oh, no!" Twinkleheels answered. "They're getting on slowly, up the road. They take their time, of course."

    "Couldn't they beat you to the crossroads if you raced with them to-day?"

    "Well--yes!" Twinkleheels admitted. And he gave Ebenezer a sharp look. "Who's been talking with you?" he demanded.

    "Nobody!" said Ebenezer. "I've been dozing here all the morning."

    "Not even a sparrow?" Twinkleheels asked.

    "No! Nobody has said a word to me."

    "That's strange," Twinkleheels mused. "I was almost sure a little bird had told you something."
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