Read by Anita Rodgers
There was a loud knock at the door. “Woof, woof,” barked Dirk, the collie.
David Wagner could tell it was a bark of welcome from the dog. He wondered, “Who could be here at this hour?”
David opened his front door to find Farmer John. He said, “John, come in from the cold.” He asked, “What brings you out on a night like this? Where is your horse? Don’t tell me you came on foot.”
The two farmers had been good friends for many years.
David Wagner raised dairy goats on a large farm near the Secret Spring Meadow. His farm was well known for its goat milk that was used to make cheese, white butter, and ice cream.
Farmer John said, “No, Anna Meyer dropped me off on her way back to the village of Red Haven.”
David asked, “Why was the vet at your farm?”
Farmer John explained, “My horse, Haley, is not feeling well. The vet thinks it might help Haley if I put Billy in the stall next to her. I think Anna has a gift for healing animals. Would you let Billy come stay at my farm for a few days?”
David said, “Okay, let’s get going. I’ll get Billy.” In no time, they were headed to Farmer John’s house with Billy, the young buck, in the back of the wagon.
The night wind was very cold. Farmer John pulled his jacket up higher on the back of his neck. He looked at the small goat and remembered the first time they met. He had been to the village and was on his way home. Haley suddenly stopped in the road and wouldn’t move. Then he heard a faint bleating sound. Billy was laying in the grass, too weak to stand.
He thought, “It’s a good thing I got Billy to the vet in time.” Anna had told him the young goat was poisoned when he ate nightshade plants.
David asked, “Why does Anna think my goat can help your horse get better?”
Farmer John explained, “After Anna treated Billy, I put him in the stall next to Haley until he was well. When Billy gets out of his pen at your farm, he comes here to be with Haley.”
Now David understood. He said, “So your horse is like a second mother to my goat.”
Farmer John said, “Yes, I think so. Billy doesn’t wander from my farm. When I am working with Haley in the fields, Billy stays close by and eats the weeds.”
David said, “Billy was just a kid when you found him. He was curious about everything. Billy liked to test the fences and slip out. Then he would chew on and taste just about anything that looked like a plant. Billy was lucky you found him.”
Farmer John said, “It wasn’t luck. It was Haley. She heard Billy before I did.”
As they pulled in front of the barn, Billy said, “Meh, meh.” Farmer John took Billy in the barn and placed him in the stall next to Haley.
Billy looked at Haley through the wooden slats. He happily called, “Meh, meh.”
She lifted her head when she heard Billy’s call. Haley called back, “Neigh, neigh.”
David said, “It’s getting colder. I’m going to head home now. I’ll come back tomorrow to see how Haley is doing.”
Farmer John said, “Good night, David. Thank you for all your help.”
The dog, cat, and spider didn’t sleep in the house that night. The dog and cat curled up in the straw. The spider spun a web over Haley’s stall. All the animals kept a watchful eye on Haley during the night.
The next morning, David returned to check on Haley.
John opened the barn door. He said, “Good morning, David. Come and see Haley. She is feeling much better today.”
David saw that Haley was standing and eating her breakfast.
David said, “I have been thinking about Billy and Haley. I think Billy would be happier living here. Your farm grows the best corn and vegetables on Breakers Island. Let’s work out a trade.”
Your horse is like a second mother to my goat.