GET A HORSE


| November/December 1957



We give his story because it is true and very interesting. All names of persons have been changed. Those of the 'Wide Open Spaces' will really enjoy it. (Editor)

IN JAIL IS A PLACE I have never been, but I may have had a close brush with it when I was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and charged with being a horse thief.

Well, it was all on account of Louie and his liking for sheep. He had a good job in a steel mill on Prince Edward's Island, but he had been raised on his father's sheep ranch in Nova Scotia and ever since he was a small boy until he was man-big his job had been caring for sheep and lambs. When one is, you might say, raised up among livestock and gets away off somewhere, where you hardly ever see an animal, not even a dog, one gets sort of lonesome for the so-called dumb creatures.

Also in Nova Scotia was a stripling of a country lass who no doubt had Louie on the hook and I guess they thought that being apart every day was not their idea of happiness, so when the railroads of Canada announced the harvest excursion Louie got a two-month leave of absence from the steel mill and after a short visit in Nova Scotia headed for the western provinces.

The roads gave you a long and interesting trip for very little money provided you put in so many days in the harvest fields. They gave you a card on which each of your employers marked down the number of days you worked for him and when you had the required number, all told, you could settle into the green plush for a cozy trip home. A band of antelope scamper away from the track; an arctic owl flies low over the stubble looking for mice; a coyote sits atop a straw pile eating at a jack rabbit. Darkness comes early, but the 'Golden Arrow' glides over the rails.

Louie was 'Johnny on the spot.' He arrived about ten days before the harvest was ready. He got a job on a big steam breaking outfit that I was with (breaking prairie sod that is ) When harvest started and Louie joined the shockers, it was agreed that the first time it rained enough to stop threshing for a couple of days that I was to go along with him and help him find a homestead that would make a good sheep ranch. There was a heavy crop in the west that year and an ideal season for harvest and threshing. It was well into the golden mellow Indian summer before we got our chance. And then one Thursday night there was a heavy soaking rain. They said, 'No more threshing this week.' The next morning, as usual in such a case, everybody went to town.