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The Billings County Pioneer
Beach, North Dakota
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November 15, 1945     The Billings County Pioneer
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November 15, 1945
 

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/ THE STORY THUS FAR: A white eoR |s born on the Goose Bar ranch in Wyo- ming. His color indicates that he is a throwback to the Albino, a wUd stallion. Otherwise his ancestors are all thorough- breds. Thunderhead, or the Goblin as he is commonly known, grows from a stub- by and ill-formed foal to a sturdy year- ling. One day he wanders southward into the mountains. He r~aches a river and follows it ever higher. Suddenly an eagle darts at him, ripping his flesh. Goblin fights it off, but is badly fright- ened and runs home. & week later, how- ever, he returns to the river, and finds valley, accessible by only one small opening in high cliffs. Goblin's nose tells him that horses live within the valley. CHAPTER X f Goblin stood motionless, his eyes scanning the valley, his muzzle lift- ed tb suck in and savor and read all the messages it flung at him. He knew much about it already. This was the country that had called him and he had answered the call. Those horses over there, the big, loosely- flung herd, grazing quietly, were the horses he had been hunting Mares! His nostrils quivered. He neighed loudly. The mares raised their heads, the foals faced around. What magnificent animals -- big, smooth, glossy--the very smell of them was sweet and strong with health and power. The mares were blacks and bays and sorrels, and the colts were the same, except for a few piebalds. Nickering, they lifted their heads and trotted toward the newcomer. Goblin rushed happily to meet them. He was at home with mares. Most of his life had been spent with them. They milled around him, thrilled and excited by the advent of a stranger. He lost all thought of fear or caution in the happiness of having arrived. He met and smelled and talked to them one by one. The squeals and whinnies, the jumps and snorts and playful kickings were all delightful fun. Some of them tried to drive the intruder out, but their bites and kicks were half- hearted. On the summit of a near-by hill stood a great white stallion He was upwind from his mares, which was fortunate for the Goblin. As it was, the Albino noticed the commotion in his harem and lifted his head to observe it. This animal stood sixteen and a half hands high. He was pure white. His body had power and strength rather than gracefulness. He was not smooth. He was gnarled like an old oak tree. His coat was marred by many scars. His great age showed in the hollows of his flanks and shoulders and face. Behind the dark glare of his eye, a blazing fire burned and on this flame was pro-. jected an irresistible will-power, and a personality that was like the core of a hurricane. He looked over his kingdom. He had stood there for years, looking over l~s kingdom. And---Af horses think--wondering who would take over when his end came. He had no heir. How could he have? He permitted no colt older than a year to remain in the hand of mares, nor any stallion older than a two-year- old to be in the valley. Here and there, in the deep grass, were the polished bones of those who had challenged him. And if any attempt- ed to return after he had driven them forth---they did not try a sec- ond time. When Goblin caught the unmistak- able strong scent of the stallion he trotted out from the herd to find him. He saw him up there on a hill--just where Banner would have been--and with a joyful nicker, started toward him. The Albino came down to meet him. Goblin, a creature of fire and mag- netism himself, felt the oncoming stallion in terms of voltage, and it was almost too much to be borne. Goblin came to a stop. It occurred to him that he was going in the wrong direction. But he held his ground. He watched. He had never seen or felt anything like that before. The stallion was so contained, his power was so gathered and held within him that he was all curves. His great neck was so arched that his chin was drawn in and under, the crest of his head was high and rounded with long ears cocked like spear- poii~ts. His face was terrifying-- that ferocious expression! Those fiery eyes! And his huge, heavily. museled legs curving high, flung for- ward so that the great body floated through the air--then the massive hoofs striking and bounding up from the earth with sledge-hammer blows that made the hills tremble and echoed like,thunder in the valleyl The Goblin still held his ground. The Albino slowed his pace, came closer--stopped. Their noses were about two feet apart. For as long as a minute they faced and eyed each other, They were the same. Trunk and branch of the Same tree. And from that confusing identity--each seeing himself as in a distorted mirror-- there flamed terror and fury. No seN-respecting stallion would deign to attack a mere yearling, or even to take him seriously enough to administer heavy punishment. But suddenly the Albino raised his right hoof and gave one terrible pawing stroke accompanied by a short gr,mting screech of unearthly fury. And in so-doing, he both acknowl- THE BILLINGS COUNTY PIONEER " -- i ;i MARY O'H ARA A'." edged and attempted to destroy his it was a pretty big dose of trouble heir. for him. The stroke was delivered with lightning speed. From his great height, if the blow had come down on Goblin's head, as was intended, it would have killed him instantly. But Goblin was endowed with the same speed, and reflexes that acted quicker than thought. He swerved. The great hoof glanced down his neck, ripping the flesh at the shoul- der, and sent him rolling. To complete the attack, the stal- lion d~opped nose to earth, turned and la~shed with hind feet to Catch the body of the colt as he fell from the blow and finish him off. But the Goblin rolled too far and too fast, landed on his feet, and whirled to face his antagonist. The stallion plunged toward him-- head stretched out like a lethal mis- sile, the twisted mouth open and reaching to bite--the great teeth, like slabs of yellow stone--bared-- and in the wild and terrible face, two eyes blazing like fire-opals. The Goblin whirled and streaked toward the band of mares. They were bunched, watching, fascinated. They opened their ranks and let him in. They scattered at the impact of the Albino's head-on rush. C~blin dodged. He felt the rake of the Al- bino's teeth down his haunch--a chunk bitten out--he squealed and doubled behind another mare. The Albino's charge knocked her off her feet and Goblin went down under. her. He felt a burning pain in his J The stroke was delivered with lightning speed. ear and tore it loose. He was up again, shouldering into a group of mares and foals. When he came out the other side, the Albino had lost him for the moment. It was his chance. He fled toward the keyhole in the rampart, Albino in thunder- ing pursuit. Entering the passage- way, the Goblin followed the zigzag path which led through it, and here his smaller size gave him an ad- vantage. Emerging on the other side, the Albino was some distance behind, but still coming fast. It was, a long cK~se. Goblin s youth and his quickness at dodging and doubling--and the cover given to him by the rocks and chimps of trees--saved him. Six miles down the river, he was alone at last, as the afternoon light be- gan to fade. He was limping from the painful wound in his shoulder. He carried his head on one side, fa- voring the torn ear, now and then giving it a little shake to shake the pain 'away, scattering drops of blood. He ached all over. To move, now that he had stopped running, was an agony. He stood under a tree, twisted and quivering. He ate nothing all ~ght. The memory of all that had hap- pened was graven in him. He faced the rampart, cocked his one good ear, turned his head until he caught the wind, and stood straining, listen- ing, 'smelling, bringing to his con- sciousnqss--almost as strongly as if he could see him--the terrible mon- ster that had terrified and bested him. He had the impulse to neigh and challenge him--but not the strength nor the courage. Never mind---there would be another day. Wait. He had wounds to heaL Goblin grazed until he had filled his belly and renewed his strength, then took the way home. . $ $ Fortitude was demanded of Ken next day when Flicks went unex-- peetedly into labor and Rob said she was going to have a bad time and they would need the vet. Driving over to the telegraph sta- tion with his mother, Ken's face was white and furious. "God made the world, didn't He?" he asked sud- denly. "Well, I don't think much of the way He made it. I could have done it better. I can think up aw- ful nice worlds." Nell glanced down at him. What could she say? Goblin~now Flicks-- "Why do all the horrible things have to happen?" he asked passion- ately. She must answer him. "We car,'t understand entirely, Ken---" "Why not?" "You can't understand something that's so much bigger than you are. Not wholly understand. You can't even wholly understand your father or me--only one side of us. An~l even less, your Heavenly Father, the Fa~er of all of us. It would be as if a small circle, like a nut, could get outside a big circle, like an orange." Ken was silent, composing an im- portant prayer. "Please God, make me have fortitude. And don't let me lose my grip. But if you could man- age it to have the Goblin come back, and Flicks get through this foaling all right, that would be just keen, For Jesus Christ's sake, Amen." There was a flash of radiance on his face as he looked up at his mother. t Arrived at the railroad station, Nell entered the telegraph office, and Ken stood listening to the mys- terious dots and dashes which asked the telegraph agent at Laramie if he would be so kind as to do Captain McLaughlin of the Goose Bar ranch a favor, and telephone the veterina- rian, Dr. Hicks, and find out if he could start to the ranch immediate- ly to deliver a foal? Within five minutes the message came back that Dr. Hicks would come On the Goose Bar ranch the weather was hot--really hot--for only two or three weeks in midsum- mer. On this day the thermometer stood at a hundred and one with a burning, dry heat which lay on the land in shimmering waves, remind- er that it was not far removed from the desert. Inside the barn, in spite of wide open doors and windows, everyone was soaked with perspiration and Dr. Hicks had constantly to turn aside and shake the water from his forehead. Rob and the boys were naked from the waist up. Flicka, exhausted by hours of un- availing labor, lay on her side. It was a dry birth. For a long time before the veterinarian's arrival one of the foal's forelegs had been pro- truding. "Which means," said Dr. Hicks when he arrived, "that the other leg is curled back and makes birth im- possible. The foal is in the wrong po- sition, it will have to be straight- ened out." He asked for a gunny sack, cut holes in the corners for his arms and one in the middle for his head, removed shirt and under. shirt, donned the gunny sack, greased his arm and went to work. Ken watched him, vowing to him. self that never again should Flieka be allowed to have another foal. The doctor puffed as, holding the tiny yellow foreleg, he slowly forced it back into the mare. Ken saw it vanish with a strange sensation. Could the foal still be alive after being handled like that? At length the doctor's hand and wrist disap- peared too, and Ken, watching hie heavy brown face with its humor- ous expression, as if at any moment he was going to crack a joke, tried to read on it just what was going-on inside there. Lucky, thought he, that Dec was so big and husky. To be ableeto straighten out a foal inside of its mother took strength! While Dec worked he talked in short grunts. "This mare'll never foal again--that infection she had when she was a yearling injured her --scar tissue--it's a wonder she's as good as she is. All right for saddle --ah, there, Ive got it now--" "Got what?" breathed Ken. "The other hoof. Both of them. This isn't going.to be so bad, after all." Nell was kneeling at Flieka's head, sponging her face and mouth with cold y~ater. Now and then the mare gave a spasmodic heave. Presently Dec was pulling on something. Flicka groaned and la- bored mightily. Ken groaned and strained too, but Howard watched every move the doctor made, keenly nterested. Two tiny hoofs and a nuzzle appeared and the doctor got to his feet and mopped the sweat !rein his face. "She may be able to manage the rest herself now I've got it in the right position," he said. But Flicks couldn't. Most of her strength was gone and it .seemed that something still impeded the de- livery. McLaugh!!n looked at his watch. 'R'S been going on three hours now." He and Dec talked together in low voices. It frightened Ken to hear them--so casual and fatalistic. Ken toudhed the protrhding hoofs. They were not hard yet and were covered with rubber-like pads. He tried to pull on them and was dumb- founded to find that it was like try. ing to pull a bough from a tree. McLaughlln sent Gus for ropes. They tied a rope to the foal'a legs and Dec and his assistant put alJ their weight on it. The foal moved a little, the head was nearly out. Then ~ stuck, and when they continued pull the only result was that Flicka's whole body slid across the floor. They tied her forelegs to I post and pulled again. Flicka'g body stretched out straight and taught, ropes at each" end of her, but flu foal" did not budge. tTO BE CONTINUED) - Mi Good Eating! A General Quiz II i The Question,s,Kellogg's Corn Flakcu bring 1. Has the definition light or nearly all the protec- tive food elements of the 'heavy" cruiser anything to do ~ ith its size or tonnage? 2. A.person at the North pole is how many miles nearer the center I ' of the earth than ff he were at the ~quator. 3. How many men were in- volved in the six years of war in Europe? 4. What island is called the ~earl of the Antilles? 5. Is it cole slaw or cold slaw? 6. For how long are federal judges appointed? 7. Anahuac is an ancient name for what country? 8. How many men are required to keep one B-29 in combat? The Anawer 1; No. It refers to the size of its main guns. 2. Thirteen miles nearer. 3. Twenty-seven million of which 16 million were Allies. 4. Cuba. 5. Cole slaw. 6. For life. 7. 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