Saturday, May 22, 2010
Shakespearian Mule ...
Grandpa DooLittle's old mule named Clyde had gotten so old that he wasn't physically able to plow the fields as he had done for many, many years ... and Clyde had been in the DooLittle family for so long that it seemed like he was part of the DooLittle family, almost as much as Grandma DooLittle was ... thus Grandpa just didn't feel morally sound trying to compel his old friend to exert more effort than he may be inclined to put forth ... he decided to put ol' Clyde out to pasture and bring in a young mule that a fellow had advertised for sale on a farm at the far end of the county ... so he grabbed his checkbook and drove over there in his cattle truck to enquire about the possible purchase of this animal, which according to the ad was a stout, hardworking beast ... his only concern was that the ad also stated that this mule was "Shakespearian" at times ... now Grandpa had no idea what "Shakespearian" meant, but figured it could most likely be remedied with a diet of fresh oats, sweet feed and cold spring water.
Grandpa found the farm where the mule was and asked the fellow if he still had the mule for sale ... he did, and so Grandpa followed the man into the barn where the mule was ... there stood a fine looking specimen ... tall and wide and muscular ... this mule looked capable of working from dusk 'till dawn and then some ... Grandpa wanted this mule ... but what did "Shakespearian" mean? ... so he asked the farmer who replied "well sir, this is the hardest working critter a fellow will ever come across ... his only shortcoming is that he truly enjoys Shakespeare, and when he gets to yearning for some verse or prose he locks up tighter than a rusty cog and won't move a muscle until he hears some ... so I keep this book on William Shakespeare close by for when he gets to feeling all Shakespearian, then I just read a few lines to him from this book and he moves right along ... if you take the mule, I'll throw in the book on William Shakepeare for free ... Grandpa figured that was a fair deal, so he wrote out a check for the mule and asked the farmer to load the big critter onto the back of his truck ... the farmer led that mule out of the barn and across the lot to the back of Grandpa's truck ... then it happened, that mule froze right there in his tracks as if petrified ... the farmer then calmly retrieved that book on William Shakespeare from his hip pocket, flung it open and began flipping through the pages until he settled on the following as he read "journeys end in lovers meeting, every wise man's son doth know" at which the young mule relaxed and stepped up onto the back of the truck without further prodding ... "see what I mean" said the farmer "just read a few lines from this here book on William Shakespeare and that there mule will move right along!"
Well, Grandpa got the mule back home and over the next several weeks was amazed at the amount of work he could do ... and just as advertised, that mule did get "Shakespearian" on a couple of occasions at which Grandpa simply pulled the book on William Shakespeare from his hip pocket and read a few lines which always seemed to get the big brute moving right along once again ... the first instance occurred one night as Grandpa was attempting to put the mule in the barn for the night, he stopped just outside the door and refused to budge ... Grandpa grabbed the book and read "captain of our fairy band, Helena is here at hand, and the youth, mistook by me, pleading for a lover's fee ... shall we their fond pageant see? ... Lord, what fools these mortals be!" as that mule strolled on into the barn ... another time that mule wandered down to the lower pasture to visit with Clyde and refused to return ... again Grandpa read from the book "we that are true lovers run into strange capers; but as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly" as that mule immediately ran back to the barn.
The first real glitch happened one morning when Grandpa heard the weatherman on the radio say that a heavy rain was imminent ... he still had two acres of bottom land that needed to be plowed before that rain arrived ... so he hurried out to the barn and hitched up the plow to that mule ... he then led that mule down to the field and dropped the plow ... I reckon you know what happened next ... yep, that mule suddenly got all "Shakespearian" ... Grandpa felt around his hip pocket for that book on William Shakespeare, but it wasn't there ... so he ran back up to the barn, but that book was nowhere to be found ... in desperation, Grandpa raced back down to the field and pleaded with that mule to plow the field, promising extra oats and sweet feed if he did, and that he would read to him all afternoon from that book on William Shakespeare if they got finished before the rain arrived ... but that mule still would not move ... now a bit angry, Grandpa quickly returned to the barn, retrieved his double-barreled shotgun and walked angrily back down to where that mule was standing as stiff as an hickory stick ... Grandpa DooLittle pulled back both hammers on that shotgun, stuck it right up against the side of that mule's head and said "to be or not to be, that is the question?!" ... those two acres of bottom land got plowed before the first raindrop fell!