Chapter 2: The Hunt
Before I was two years old a circumstance happened
which I have never forgotten. It was early in the spring;
there had been a little frost in the night, and a light mist
still hung over the woods and meadows. I and the other colts were feeding
at the lower part of the field when we heard, quite in the distance,
what sounded like the cry of dogs. The oldest of the colts raised his head,
pricked his ears, and said, "There are the hounds!" and immediately
cantered off, followed by the rest of us to the upper part of the field,
where we could look over the hedge and see several fields beyond.
My mother and an old riding horse of our master's were also standing near,
and seemed to know all about it.
"They have found a hare," said my mother, "and if they come this way
we shall see the hunt."
And soon the dogs were all tearing down the field of young wheat
next to ours. I never heard such a noise as they made. They did not bark,
nor howl, nor whine, but kept on a "yo! yo, o, o! yo! yo, o, o!"
at the top of their voices. After them came a number of men on horseback,
some of them in green coats, all galloping as fast as they could.
The old horse snorted and looked eagerly after them,
and we young colts wanted to be galloping with them,
but they were soon away into the fields lower down;
here it seemed as if they had come to a stand; the dogs left off barking,
and ran about every way with their noses to the ground.
"They have lost the scent," said the old horse; "perhaps the hare
will get off."
"What hare?" I said.
"Oh! I don't know what hare; likely enough it may be one of our own hares
out of the woods; any hare they can find will do for the dogs and men
to run after;" and before long the dogs began their "yo! yo, o, o!" again,
and back they came altogether at full speed, making straight for our meadow
at the part where the high bank and hedge overhang the brook.