The Wheat Horse

We used a pub above one of t’ locks.
I took this mare of ours into t’ stables
and there were a black in t’ next box:
half starved, and stood on three legs.

I went to Dad, and he saw its owner
in t’ pub. “It’s lame, so I’m sending it
to t’ knacker’s”, bloke said. Now whether
dad took pity on that beast, he got it

plus five quid in exchange for our mare.
You can get locked up, working a boat
with a lame beast, so we sneaked out o’ there
while it were still dark. Come daylight

we let that horse graze ‘til after nightfall.
It were a long trip. Horse were near dead
but it slogged on, like it were grateful.
I took it straight over to Bingley’s yard

when we got back. He shod its good feet
and cut all t’ bad stuff off t’ other one.
Dad put a pint of wheat on t’ stove, boiled it
wi’ watter; put it in t’ beast’s nose-tin.

Ten year that horse gave us, hauling wheat.


From ‘The Navigators’, the second section of The Navigators.

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