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The Autobiography of a Horse
by Anna Sewell [English Quaker -- 1820-1878.]
[Note: 'Black Beauty' was originally published in 1877. This etext was transcribed from an American edition of 1911. Some small corrections were made, after being confirmed against other sources.]
To my dear and honored Mother, whose life, no less than her pen, has been devoted to the welfare of others, this little book is affectionately dedicated.
Chapter 01 My Early Home 02 The Hunt 03 My Breaking In 04 Birtwick Park 05 A Fair Start 06 Liberty 07 Ginger 08 Ginger's Story Continued 09 Merrylegs 10 A Talk in the Orchard 11 Plain Speaking 12 A Stormy Day 13 The Devil's Trade Mark 14 James Howard 15 The Old Hostler 16 The Fire 17 John Manly's Talk 18 Going for the Doctor 19 Only Ignorance 20 Joe Green 21 The Parting
22 Earlshall 23 A Strike for Liberty 24 The Lady Anne, or a Runaway Horse 25 Reuben Smith 26 How it Ended 27 Ruined and Going Downhill 28 A Job Horse and His Drivers 29 Cockneys 30 A Thief 31 A Humbug
32 A Horse Fair 33 A London Cab Horse 34 An Old War Horse 35 Jerry Barker 36 The Sunday Cab 37 The Golden Rule 38 Dolly and a Real Gentleman 39 Seedy Sam 40 Poor Ginger 41 The Butcher 42 The Election 43 A Friend in Need 44 Old Captain and His Successor 45 Jerry's New Year
46 Jakes and the Lady 47 Hard Times 48 Farmer Thoroughgood and His Grandson Willie 49 My Last Home
01 My Early Home
The first place that I can well remember was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside; at the top of the meadow was a grove of fir trees, and at the bottom a running brook overhung by a steep bank.
While I was young I lived upon my mother's milk, as I could not eat grass. In the daytime I ran by her side, and at night I lay down close by her. When it was hot we used to stand by the pond in the shade of the trees, and when it was cold we had a nice warm shed near the grove.
As soon as I was old enough to eat grass my mother used to go out to work in the daytime, and come back in the evening.
There were six young colts in the meadow besides me; they were older than I was; some were nearly as large as grown-up horses. I used to run with them, and had great fun; we used to gallop all together round and round the field as hard as we could go. Sometimes we had rather rough play, for they would frequently bite and kick as well as gallop.
One day, when there was a good deal of kicking, my mother whinnied to me to come to her, and then she said:
"I wish you to pay attention to what I am going to say to you. The colts who live here are very good colts, but they are cart-horse colts, and of course they have not learned manners. You have been well-bred and well-born; your father has a great name in these parts, and your grandfather won the cup two years at the Newmarket races; your grandmother had the sweetest temper of any horse I ever knew, and I think you have never seen me kick or bite. I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."
I have never forgotten my mother's advice; I knew she was a wise old horse, and our master thought a great deal of her. Her name was Duchess, but he often called her Pet.