WHITE WILLIE
or The Horse That Wouldn’t Give In by Arthur Caighton It was Snigson who told me the story, just as I tell it to you And he told it with simple candour, and swore it was perfectly true It certainly sounds most amazing, you’ll think so as well, I expect And if anyone else had informed me, I’d have doubted if it was correct. 'Tell you a yarn' murmured Snigson, when I met him at Splashton-on-Sea 'Well I’ll tell you of poor White Willie, a horse that belonged to me If no other good it answers, my story will show to you When faithful and brave and willing, what a trusty old horse can do.' 'It was out in the veldt where it happened, in the course of the African War And I was sent out - special orders - to capture a trouble-some Boer He’d been making himself a great nuisance, and as we were short of men They gave me the job to surprise him, and bring him back home again.' 'I mounted my charger, White Willie, so called from his snow white skin And leaving the blockhouse behind me, I set off to bring the Boer in. But I hadn’t gone far on my journey, my senses all on the alert When away on a neighbouring kopje a cannon began to spurt.' 'Hidden away on the hillside those rascals had watched with glee And anxious to test their cannon had started to practise on me And, as I turned round in a hurry, and started for home once more A shell landed near to White Willie and burst with a terrible roar.' 'I dug my spurs in his haunches and he answered by extra pace He knew just as well as I did, we were in for a terrible race But we’d hardly gone more than a furlong when quicker than one could see A shot took away his right fore leg and left my poor horse with three.' 'Now when they were minus a front leg most horses would give the job best But Willie was not of that kind though, and galloped on home with the rest But in spite of his plucky endeavours, hardly a pole had he gained When another shot took off his hind leg and so only two remained.' 'His pace was now very much slackened, and Willie was breathing hard But still never once did he falter, though his beauty was sadly marred And when we were getting near safety, another leg fell to that gun And will you believe what I tell you, White Willie hopped onwards with one.' 'A hind leg was all he possessed now, and the strain was beginning to tell And he’d hard work keeping his balance, with me on his back as well But he carried me right to the entrance, like a terrier learning to beg Just as a shot came behind us, and took off his last poor leg.' 'We carried him into the blockhouse and patched him as well as we could And a doctor much touched by his conduct made him four stumps out of wood They were only a length of twelve inches, but they helped him to get about And we had such a day of rejoicing, the first time that Willie went out.' 'Well, I brought him back home to England, I couldn’t quite leave him you see And he hobbled about with the children as happy as he could be. Though barely as high as a donkey, he was treated with care and pride And I’d show him to you with pleasure, if he hadn’t have gone and died.'
The end