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 are
apt to pronounce horses which they have not
learned to master.
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
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 colt.
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 dead.
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
"The sorrel is dead, madam,'' said her son, "I
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