Freckles, A Fragment

He was little an' peaked an' thin, an' narry a no account horse,—
Least that's the way you'd describe him in case that the beast had been lost;
But, for single and double cussedness an' for double fired sin,
The horse never came out o' Texas that was half-way knee-high to him!

The first time that ever I saw him was nineteen years ago last spring;
'Twas the year we had grasshoppers, that come an' et up everything,
That a feller rode up here one evenin' an' wanted to pen over night
A small bunch of horses, he said; an' I told him I guessed 'twas all right.

Well, the feller was busted, the horses was thin, an' the grass round here kind of good,
An' he said if I'd let him hold here a few days he'd settle with me when he could.
So  I told him all right, turn them loose down the draw, that the latch string was always untied,
He was welcome to stop a few days if he wished and rest from his weary ride.

Well, the cuss stayed around for two or three weeks, till at last he was ready to go;
And that cuss out yonder bein' too poor to move, he gimme,—the cuss had no dough.
Well, at first the darn brute was as wild as a deer, an' would snort when he came to the branch,
An' it took two cow punchers, on good horses, too, to handle him here at the ranch.

Well, the winter came on an' the range it got hard, an' my mustang commenced to get thin,
So I fed him some an' rode him around, an' found out old Freckles was game.
For that was what the other cuss called him,—just Freckles, no more or no less,—
His color,—couldn't describe it,—something like a paint shop in distress.

Them was Indian times, young feller, that I am telling about;
An' oft's the time I've seen the red man fight an' put the boys to rout.
A good horse in them days, young feller, would save your life,—
One that in any race could hold the pace when the red-skin bands were rife.