The following events are depicted as they occurred; there is no exaggeration, no hyperbole, no creative reconstruction of the facts or embellished description of these events. The only inaccuracies may occur in the exact dates as no diary was kept.
Kingly Moment #1
This day began like numerous others with no forewarning of what was to come.
It was a warm sunny day in May which began as usual with Eddy armed with a pail of oats calling out to King who had spent the night in the pasture. Accustomed to the routine King responded to the call and presented himself at the pasture gate where he knew he would get a treat.
Willingly he allowed himself to be lead to the barn where he would be harnessed and made ready to haul the homemade cart with Eddy and Harry aboard, the three miles to school.
Earlier that morning Clara had roused her boys out of bed, cooked a pot of rolled oats, made and packed their lunches, made sure that their faces had been washed and their hair combed. Following breakfast it was Harry’s duty to retrieve a sheaf of oats from the oat stack, place it on the cart, then wait in the barn for Eddy to appear with King and help Eddy harness the brute.
Even at the age of twelve Eddy was not tall enough to harness King by himself. Just placing the harness collar and the rest of the harness on King required the efforts of two boys. In order to complete the task, Eddy would clamour on to the stall divider, reach over to the hook on which the harness hung, then lug it from the hook on to King’s back. Not ever did King object to the tugging, the pushing, the shoving that he was subjected to in order to successfully secure the harness on his back. Only occasionally would he be uncooperative and that was when the boys would try to put the bridle bit in his mouth. Usually he allowed his head to be pulled low enough to put the bit in his mouth, then slip the bridle over his ears but sometimes he would get stubborn and no amount of tugging would convince him to lower his head nor would he willingly open his mouth to accept the bit. On these occasions it was necessary to climb on top of the manger, take the bit in hand and manually separate his lips, then bang the bit against his teeth hard enough to hurt him. That procedure would convince him to cooperate.
After the harness had been set in place King was backed out of his stall and lead outside to be hitched to the two wheeled card.
The cart that was relegated to transport the Flath kids to school was put together from the remnants of a four wheeled buggy that had been destroyed by former events. The original shafts were replaced by two relatively straight aspen saplings. These saplings were bolted directly on to the axle eliminating the need for springs. Several boards had been nailed on to the saplings which constituted the platform. A box made out of boards was nailed on to the platform on top of which two other boards spanned the open box which then became the seat.
The distance between the horse’s rump and the passengers sitting on the box was no more than four feet. The space behind the seat was large enough to accommodate the lunch boxes, the book bags as well as feed for King.
Starting out that morning King showed no signs that there was something amiss with him. The ride to school was uneventful and even at noon when given his noon lunch he ate appreciatively and even offered a small snort in appreciation of receiving the usual sheaf of oats.
The after school hitching routine was completed successfully and the ride back home began as expected. All was well until the trio came to within a couple of hundred yards of the grave yard.
King as usual had kept up a little faster pace on the way home than his pace going to school and even on this day, after a few slaps of the reins on his rump, King broke into a lumbering trot so there was no warning as to the reason for King’s sudden halt.
Normally when King needed to relieve himself he would simply raise his tail a little, move it to one side and let go. The turds as they were expelled would harmlessly drop to the ground through the space between his back side and the cart. No big deal; the boys were fully accustomed to having a close up view and thought nothing of it. Horses have the ability to relieve themselves while walking and King was no exception so Eddy and Harry were confused as to why King suddenly stopped and raised his tail. They could see what was about to happen and within a few seconds came to a full understanding of why King stopped.
King lowered his head, expanded his chest and as his chest expanded his belly contracted, his tail went up. There was no escape; it all happened too fast. Viewing from close quarters, the boys realized a catastrophe was about to occur and they would be the victims. Nothing happened with the first snort but stunned into a momentary frozen state, a second snort set the action in motion. King erupted. From a distance of four feet King could not miss; the voluminous mess found it’s target and King hit his mark.
Getting hit by a mess delivered by a clydsedale was like getting struck in the face by a pail of pudding followed by a two inch stream of green liquid shot from a fire hose. There was shit everywhere. On first contact, the sticky stuff stuck to their heads. It was in their hair, covered their eyes, blocked their nasal passages, filled their ears and even flew past them on to the cart itself. The pudding stuck only momentarily as the green gush that followed quickly diluted the goo as gravity took over and pulled the whole mess down to the lower portions of their torsos. The warm soft goo slipped silently under the collars of their shirts, down their chests, past their belly buttons and rested in puddles on their laps from where it crept slowly down their naked legs.
It was over in less than ten seconds. There was only one volley after which King calmly lowered his tail, remained stationary and waited calmly as though nothing had happened.
Dazed and bewildered the boys sat in stunned silence clueless as to what to do about the mess that covered them. Realizing that they had to do something, they slowly began the task of ridding themselves of the mess that they were in. With green sticky fingers they wiped their faces and squeezed the warm goo out of their hair and away from their eyes flinging gobs of it into the air. Once their vision returned and they realized the extent of the mess, they leaped off the cart and with slimy hands they danced around ripping and tearing at their clothes. They had no towels, no jackets, no blankets, no paper………………….. they had nothing with which to clean themselves. The only thing available to them was the grass that grew along side the road. Naked except for their shoes they ripped up clumps of brome grass and began wiping themselves. Now it was May and grass in May is fresh and green – full of green juice. That fact did not enter their heads as they ripped, wiped, ripped and wiped.
The grass treatment was somewhat successful in ridding their bodies of the scum that King had deposited but in removing the scum, the fresh green grass covered the boys in green juice that soon dried leaving them in one sorry state.
With tears making little paths through the green caked face Harry cried, “What are we going to do with King? I am not getting back on the cart!”
“Well, I am walking home and leaving that son of a ………… right here,” retorted Eddy.
After some consultation between them, the boys picked up their clothes, threw them on to the cart, tied the reins to the cart, and yelled at King.
Slowly walking on either side of the cart, they trudged the rest of the way home. They did not risk walking directly behind King………… just in case!