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    Chapter 20

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    Chapter 20
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    It was true, as the bays had said, that Twinkleheels had a mealy nose. So perhaps it was only natural that they should think he had meal to eat when they didn't. And he hastened to explain matters to them.

    "My mealy nose," he said, "doesn't mean that I've been eating meal. My nose happens to be the color of meal. All the brushing in the world wouldn't change it."

    The bay pair snorted. It was plain that they didn't believe what Twinkleheels told them.

    "You can ask Ebenezer," Twinkleheels advised them. "He'll tell you that what I say is true."

    "We don't want to ask him," said the bays. "Ask him yourself."

    "Don't be rude to this pony!" the old horse Ebenezer chided them. "If you had spent more of your time off the farm, and seen more horses, you'd know that mealy noses like his are not uncommon. In my younger days, when I went to the county fair every fall, I used to meet a great many horses. And I learned then that mealy noses are by no means rare."

    The bays stamped impatiently.

    "We don't care to argue about this pony's nose," said the one whose stall was next to Ebenezer's. "His nose is a small matter. We do insist, however, that he help with the thrashing. Maybe you've done your share of the thrashing in times past. But this pony's a loafer. We want to see him work."

    Poor Twinkleheels felt most unhappy. "Haven't I said I'd like to walk on the tread mill?" Twinkleheels cried. "But Farmer Green would never allow me to."

    "We don't care to argue with you," said the bay who stood beside Ebenezer. "You are altogether too small for us to bother with any longer."

    "If I'm so small, then I shouldn't think what few oats I eat would annoy you," said Twinkleheels.

    "Oh, your appetite's big enough!" cried the other bay. "You're always eating something. Yesterday we saw Johnnie Green ride you up to the kitchen window where Mrs. Green was peeling potatoes. And she gave you a potato. And you ate it."

    "People are always feeding you," echoed the bay's bay mate.

    "How can I help that?" Twinkleheels asked them.

    "You could decline with thanks," they explained.

    Twinkleheels shook his head.

    "It wouldn't be polite," he said. "Besides, I like potatoes and apples and carrots even more than oats and hay."

    Just then Farmer Green came into the barn and backed the bays out of their stalls. They both sighed.

    "We're in for it now," they told Ebenezer. "He's going to take us out and make us walk on the tread mill."

    A little later Johnnie Green saddled Twinkleheels and followed his father and the bays to the field where the thrashing machine stood beside several stacks of oats.

    Before Johnnie and Twinkleheels arrived on the scene a great clatter warned them that thrashing had already begun. Hurrying up, they found the bays toiling up the endless path that slid always downward beneath them.

    The bays were a glum appearing pair. Twinkleheels tried to speak to them, but the thrashing machine made such a racket that they couldn't hear him whinny; and he couldn't catch their eyes. They wouldn't look at him.

    A stream of oats was pouring out of the grain spout. Johnnie Green dismounted. Picking up a handful of the newly thrashed oats, he fed Twinkleheels.

    The bays looked at Twinkleheels then. They looked at him with envy.

    "That pony has begun to eat up the new oats already," said one of the bays to his mate. "I hoped he'd have the decency to decline them when Johnnie Green offered him a taste."

    "Not he!" groaned his mate. "That pony even hinted to Johnnie Green that he'd like some oats. I saw him hint, out of the corner of my eye."

    "Ah!" cried the other bay. "Twinkleheels not only has a mealy nose. He's mealy-mouthed as well!"
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