Chapter 4: Birtwick Park
"The thing is this," said Merrylegs. "Ginger has a bad habit
of biting and snapping; that is why they call her Ginger,
and when she was in the loose box she used to snap very much.
One day she bit James in the arm and made it bleed,
and so Miss Flora and Miss Jessie, who are very fond of me,
were afraid to come into the stable. They used to bring me
nice things to eat, an apple or a carrot, or a piece of bread,
but after Ginger stood in that box they dared not come,
and I missed them very much. I hope they will now come again,
if you do not bite or snap."
I told him I never bit anything but grass, hay, and corn,
and could not think what pleasure Ginger found it.
"Well, I don't think she does find pleasure," says Merrylegs;
"it is just a bad habit; she says no one was ever kind to her,
and why should she not bite? Of course, it is a very bad habit;
but I am sure, if all she says be true, she must have been very ill-used
before she came here. John does all he can to please her,
and James does all he can, and our master never uses a whip
if a horse acts right; so I think she might be good-tempered here.
You see," he said, with a wise look, "I am twelve years old;
I know a great deal, and I can tell you there is not a better place
for a horse all round the country than this. John is the best groom
that ever was; he has been here fourteen years; and you never saw
such a kind boy as James is; so that it is all Ginger's own fault
that she did not stay in that box."