Chapter 1: My Early Home
The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow
with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it,
and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side
we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate
at our master's house, which stood by the roadside; at the top of the meadow
was a grove of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook
overhung by a steep bank.
While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass.
In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her.
When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees,
and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the grove.
As soon as I was old enough to eat grass my mother used to go out to work
in the daytime, and come back in the evening.
There were six young colts in the meadow besides me;
they were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses.
I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together
round and round the field as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had
rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.
One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me
to come to her, and then she said:
"I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you.
The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are cart-horse colts,
and of course they have not learned manners. You have been
well-bred and well-born; your father has a great name in these parts,
and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races;
your grandmother had the sweetest temper of any horse I ever knew,
and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up
gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will,
lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."