An Old Horse Named Maude (In The Time Of Robert Burns)
Old Maude and me
Had been together seems since recorded history
She’d be about 35 years old
As I recall, through many a winter cold
But she no longer pulls the plow
With wifie leading and I keeping to the furrow
Out to pasture with the cow
And there she’ll stay till death’s bow.
Master Robert asked me why
I’d waste perfectly good grass on the bay
Yet, there was no way that I’d put her down
For she’d already earned her pay when she was sound.
True her bones showed through
The hair coat, matted, no new hair grew
But she had a life blest
For now she had plenty of time to rest.
In early spring as I was digging rocks in the field
(Seems there are always more when you till)
A boy came across to see me about old Maude
Was the son of James Chambers across the ford.
Said, Master Robert sent him to get the mare
Cause she was there to share
His fine horse had gone lame
And he’d use Maude for a while this spring.
We got the lines from the shed
And the boy hopped on her back and headed
Back to Mister Robert’s place
Kicking her sides, as if to race.
But old Maude just ambled along
Ignoring the plummeting to race from home
One foot a front of the other is how
She’d learned to pull the plow.
Months went by
And as the rock piles grew high
I wondered how I’d get them home
With the sled that needed to be pulled along.
Then one day arrived at the gate
Master Robert with his daughter, Kate.
She was driving the rig and smartly too
Being pulled by Maude, stepping high just so.
Kate got down and held the rig firm and good
And at Maude’s head there she stood
Brushing her mane and scratching her ears
Offering a bit of carrot to tease.
After a while Master Robert said to me
“I came to make a deal you see,
This old nag has caught me dauter’s eye
And so a swap tween us is nigh.”
I stood there and admired the two year old mare
That was tied to the back of the rig there
A fine young horse, the best I’d seen
And wondered just what he’d mean.
Said he, “I figure a trade with a boot is in order
If we can arrive with the amount as a starter
Let’s just say five pounds would be enough
For a fair trade between us.”
I ran me hand along old Maude’s neck
Admiring how fat and sleek
She’d become with the attention.
Was a match made in heaven.
Her back was smooth and clean
Polished were the traces she stood between
The crupper was bright and well placed
So’s the rig could be forward or backward faced.
I stood there with arms extended
And showed him my two empty hands as I intended
Five pounds was out of the question,
No way could I pay such a ransom.
Then he reached into his sleeve and drew out his purse
A five pound note, he selected first
Placed it in me hand as tho
The deal was done, if I thought so.
“Take the filly, and that’s my share”
And he reached behind and untied the mare.
She’ll work, cause she’s already broke to plow
And I know you need a good horse just now.”
Thrust the lines into my hands to show
The deal was done, and said to Kate, “It’s time to go.”
Up on the rig she bounded with a grin
Turned it smartly and off they ran.