Horace the Mule

Mules were hardy. Stronger than horses, they worked harder and longer. They were less prone to accidents. But on occasion, they became sick. Horace was such a mule. Came down with colic. Don't know if he was related to Agnes, but he did belong to Flannie Ethel.

Concerned, she called the vet, Dr. Sqatterfield. "Doctor, Horace is sick -- his stomach is all swollen up, I wish you would come out and look at him." Dr. Sqatterfield said, "Oh, Flannie Ethel, it's after six o'clock and I'm fixing to eat supper. He's just blown up probably with gas and has the colic. Give him an enema of mineral oil and if he isn't better in the morning I'll come by."

"But how'll I give it to him?" she asked.

"Ah, Flannie Ethel, you are a farm woman, and know all about those things, get a piece of tube or hose, put a funnel on one end, and insert the other end and pour in the mineral oil. Then make Horace take some exercise; that sometimes unblocks gas."

So Flannie Ethel went out to the barn and there stood Horace with his head down; he was moaning and groaning, and his stomach was so swollen it looked like it was going to burst. So she looked around the barn for a funnel, but the nearest thing she could find was her brother's fox hunting horn hanging on the wall; a beautiful gold-plated instrument with gold tassels hanging from it. She took the horn, lubricated it with axle grease and affixed it -- properly.

Horace didn't pay attention.

Then she reached up on the shelf where medicines for farm animals were kept. . . . But, instead of picking up a bottle of mineral oil, she picked up a bottle of mineral spirits, otherwise known as turpentine, and poured a right liberal dose into the horn.

Horace raised his head with a sudden jerk. He let out a yell that could have been heard a mile away. He reared up on his hind legs, brought his front legs down, knocked down the barn gate, jumped a five-foot fence and started down the road at a mad gallop.

Now Horace's backside was on fire and all this exercise commenced freeing the trapped gas, so that every so often the horn would give a long drawn out blast. All the dogs in the neighborhood knew that when that horn was blowing, it meant that Flannie Ethel's brother Bill was going hunting, and out they dashed, following Horace. It was a marvelous sight: Horace running at full speed with the hunting horn in a most unusual position, the mellow notes issuing therefrom, the tassels waving and the dogs bark ing joyously as they followed along.

They passed the home of old man Harvey Morgan, who was sitting on his front porch. He hadn't drawn a sober breath in fifteen years, and he gazed in fascinated amazement at the sight that unfolded before his eyes. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. (Incidentally, he became head of Alcoholics Anonymous immediately afterwards.)

By this time it was getting dark. Horace and the dogs were approaching the canal. The lock tender heard the horn blowing, figured that a boat was approaching, so he hurried out and started cranking up the bridge. Horace went overboard and many of the dogs followed him but they all managed to swim out.

Now, it happened that the lock tender was running for the office of sheriff in the county, but he managed only seven votes. The people figured that any man who didn't know the difference between a mule coming down the canal and a boat wasn't fit to hold public office in the county anyway.

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