YOUNG GEORGE AND THE COLT
BY HORACE E. SCUDDER
THERE is a story told of George Washington's
boyhood,—unfortunately there are not many
stories,—which is to the
point. His father had taken a great deal of pride in his
blooded horses, and his mother afterward took pains to keep
the stock pure. She had several young horses that had not
yet been broken, and one of them in particular, a sorrel,
was extremely spirited. No one had been able to do anything
with it, and it was pronounced thoroughly vicious as people
 apt to pronounce horses which they have not learned to
George was determined to ride this colt, and told his
companions that if they would help him catch it, he would
ride and tame it.
Early in the morning they set out for the pasture, where the
boys managed to surround the sorrel, and then to put a bit
into its mouth. Washington sprang upon its back, the boys
dropped the bridle, and away flew the angry animal.
Its rider at once began to command. The horse resisted,
backing about the field, rearing and plunging. The boys
became thoroughly alarmed, but Washington kept his seat,
never once losing his self-control or his mastery of the
The struggle was a sharp one; when suddenly, as if
determined to rid itself of its rider, the creature leaped
into the air with a tremendous bound. It was its last. The
violence burst a blood-vessel, and the noble horse fell
Before the boys could sufficiently recover to consider how
they should extricate themselves from the scrape, they were
called to breakfast; and the mistress of the house, knowing
that they had been in the fields, began to ask after her
"Pray, young gentlemen," said she, "have you seen my blooded
colts in your rambles? I hope
 they are well taken care of. My favorite, I am told, is as
large as his sire."
The boys looked at one another, and no one liked to speak.
Of course the mother repeated her question.
"The sorrel is dead, madam," said her son, "I killed him."
And then he told the whole story. They say that his mother
flushed with anger, as her son often used to, and then, like
him, controlled herself, and presently said, quietly:—
"It is well; but while I regret the loss of my favorite, I
rejoice in my son who always speaks the truth."