A BIG LITTLE PONY
When Johnnie Green sent him along the road at a trot, Twinkleheels' tiny feet moved so fast that you could scarcely have told one from another. Being a pony, and only half as big as a horse, he had to move his legs twice as quickly as a horse did in order to travel at a horse's speed. Twinkleheels' friends knew that he didn't care to be beaten by any horse, no matter how long-legged.
"It's spirit, not size, that counts," Farmer Green often remarked as he watched Twinkleheels tripping out of the yard, sometimes with Johnnie on his back, sometimes drawing Johnnie in a little, red-wheeled buggy.
Old dog Spot agreed with Farmer Green. When Twinkleheels first came to live on the farm Spot had thought him something of a joke.
"Huh! This pony's nothing but a toy," he had told the farmyard folk. "He's a child's plaything--about as much use as the little wooly dog that lives down by the sawmill."
One trip to the village and back, behind Johnnie Green's glistening new buggy, was enough to change Spot's opinion of the newcomer. Back from the village Twinkleheels came clipping up the road and swung through Farmer Green's front gate as fresh as a daisy. And old Spot, with his tongue lolling out, and panting fast, was glad to lie down on the woodshed step to rest.
"My goodness!" said Spot to Miss Kitty Cat. "This Twinkleheels is the goingest animal I ever followed. He doesn't seem to know the difference between uphill and down. It's all the same to him. I did think he'd walk now and then, or I'd never have travelled to the village behind him."
"He's not lazy, like some people," Miss Kitty Cat hissed; and then crept into the farmhouse before Spot could chase her. She had a poor opinion of old Spot. And she never failed to let him know it.
It was true that Twinkleheels was not lazy. And it was just as true that he liked to play. When Johnnie Green turned him loose in the pasture he kicked and frisked about so gayly that Jimmy Rabbit and Billy Woodchuck and their friends had to step lively now and then, to get out of his way. They said they liked high spirits, but that Twinkleheels was almost too playful.
When Twinkleheels took it into his head to do anything he did it without the slightest warning. If he decided to shy at a bit of paper he was out of the road before Johnnie Green knew what had happened. And if he wanted to take a wrong turn, just for fun, he darted off so fast that he usually had his way before Johnnie could shout "Whoa!" Everybody said that he was as quick as Miss Kitty Cat. And that was the same as saying that there wasn't anybody any quicker--unless it was Grumpy Weasel himself.
But Twinkleheels and Miss Kitty were not alike in any other way; for Twinkleheels was both merry and good-natured. He let Johnnie Green pick up his feet, one at a time, and clean them. And the worst he ever did was to give Johnnie a playful nip, just as Johnnie himself might have pinched the boy that sat in front of him at school.
Only, of course, Johnnie Green wouldn't have used his teeth to do that.