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    Chapter 19

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    Chapter 19
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    THRASHING TIME



    The pair of bays were feeling grumpy. Thrashing time had come. And they knew that they would have to spend long hours in the tread mill out in the field, where the oats were stacked. They grumbled a good deal, as they stood in their stalls.

    "I don't see why you object to turning the tread mill for Farmer Green," Twinkleheels said to them. "I'd like to try my hand at it--or my feet, I should say. I should think it would be great fun. Yesterday I saw Johnnie Green and some other boys walking on the tread mill and making it go. They seemed to find it a lark."

    "Huh!" said one of the bays. "They'd hate it if they had to walk up hill hour after hour and never get anywhere. The noise of the tread mill and the thrashing machine is most unpleasant."

    "It wouldn't be so bad," said his mate, "if Farmer Green would let us eat all we wanted of the oats that we help thrash. But he doesn't give us even an extra measure."

    "We'd run away," remarked the bay that had spoken first, "except that running away wouldn't do us any good. All our running would only make the mill turn faster."

    "We can't even stand still if we want to," his mate muttered. "There's a bar that crosses the top of the tread mill, right in front of us. Farmer Green ties us to it. There we are! When he unlocks the tread mill we have to start walking or we'd slide down backwards; and unless our halters broke, our necks would get a terrible stretching."

    The old horse Ebenezer, who stood between Twinkleheels and the bays and couldn't miss hearing what was said, looked scornfully at the two grumblers.

    "Think of the oats Farmer Green gives you every day!" he exclaimed. "I should suppose you'd be glad to earn some of them."

    "The trouble is--" said the bay nearest him--"the trouble is, we have to earn not only the oats that we eat, but those that Farmer Green feeds to you and that pony."

    "I've helped thrash many a time," Ebenezer declared.

    "Well--I dare say you have," the bay admitted. "But what about that pony? I never saw him do any work. I venture to say that he's never done a day's work in his life."

    Twinkleheels couldn't help feeling uncomfortable.

    "I'd be glad to help with the thrashing," he said. "But what can I do if Farmer Green won't let me?"

    The bays talked to each other in an undertone. Then one of them said: "You might refuse to eat any more oats."

    Somehow Twinkleheels did not care for that suggestion; and he said as much.

    "What's the matter with hay?" the other bay asked him. "If you have plenty of hay you ought to be satisfied."

    "No!" Twinkleheels told him. "I can't get along on hay alone. Johnnie Green expects me to be spry and playful. And you know very well that a horse or a pony can't be spirited without plenty of oats."

    Once more the bays muttered to each other in a low tone. And at last they told Twinkleheels that he was greedy.

    "You don't need any oats," they said. "You have more to eat than we do, all the time."

    Twinkleheels was astonished.

    "I don't know what you mean," he cried. "Johnnie Green feeds me only oats and hay; and that's no more than you have."

    "We don't agree with you," the bays retorted. "You have meal. And you must eat a lot of it, too."

    "Never!" Twinkleheels declared. "Why do you say that?"

    "You have a mealy nose," they explained. "It always looks as if you'd just eaten out of the meal bin."
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