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    Chapter 15

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    Chapter 15
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    STEPPING HIGH



    Twinkleheels was feeling quite important. Something that Farmer Green had said to Johnnie in his hearing made him hold his head higher than he usually did--and step higher, too.

    "You seem very proud to-day," the old horse Ebenezer said to him. "When Johnnie Green led you back from the watering trough I noticed that you were strutting in quite a lordly fashion. You made me think of Turkey Proudfoot."

    "Ah!" Twinkleheels exclaimed. "I've just heard some news. I'm going to the blacksmith's to-day to be shod. You know I've never worn any shoes. And I've always wanted some."

    Old Ebenezer smiled down at Twinkleheels.

    "Well, well!" he said. "I don't blame you for feeling a bit proud. I remember the day I got my first set of shoes. You see, I was young once myself."

    The old horse seemed to feel like talking. Twinkleheels was glad of that, for he felt that he must chatter about the new shoes he was going to have--or burst.

    "Of course," said Twinkleheels, "most folks are shod before they're as old as I am. But I've spent a good deal of my time in the pasture and I don't often travel over hard roads.... How old were you when you first visited the blacksmith's shop?"

    Ebenezer shut his eyes for a moment or two. And Twinkleheels feared he was going to sleep. But he was only thinking hard.

    "I must have been about two months old," Ebenezer declared.

    "Goodness!" cried Twinkleheels. "I didn't suppose colts of that age ever wore shoes."

    "They don't," Ebenezer replied. "You didn't ask me when I had my first shoes. You asked me when I first visited a smithy. At the age of two months I jogged alongside my mother when she went to be shod. I must have been about three years old when the blacksmith nailed my first shoes to my feet."

    Twinkleheels gave Ebenezer an uneasy glance.

    "Does it hurt," he asked, "when they drive the nails into your hoofs?"

    "Oh, no!" Ebenezer assured him. "To be sure, a careless blacksmith could prick you. But Farmer Green always takes us to the best one he can find."

    "To tell the truth," Twinkleheels confessed, "I'm a bit timid about going to the smithy. I don't know what to do when I get there. I don't know which foot to hold up first."

    "Don't worry about that!" said old Ebenezer. "They'll tell you everything. Just pay attention and obey orders and you won't have any trouble."

    Twinkleheels thanked Ebenezer.

    "It's pleasant," he said, "to have a kind, wise horse like you in the next stall. There are some matters that I shouldn't care to mention to the bays. They're almost sure to laugh at me if I ask them a question."

    The old horse Ebenezer nodded his head.

    "They're young and somewhat flighty," he admitted. "You know, they even ran away last summer. You'll be better off! if you don't seek their advice about things."

    "I wish you were going to the blacksmith's shop with me," Twinkleheels told Ebenezer wistfully. "Somehow I'd feel better about being shod if you were there."

    "I shouldn't be surprised if I went along with you," Ebenezer told him. "I cast a shoe yesterday. And the three that I have left are well worn."

    And sure enough! Inside a half hour Farmer Green harnessed Ebenezer to an open buggy. Johnnie Green brought Twinkleheels out of the barn by his halter, led him up behind the buggy, and jumped in and sat beside his father.

    Then they started off.

    "We're going to the village to get some new shoes," Twinkleheels called to old dog Spot. "Why don't you come, too?"

    "I would," Spot barked, "but I always follow right behind the buggy; and you've gone and taken my place."
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