With apologies to Jane Austen
An acknowledged universal truth --
A leopard cannot change
His spots, nor can a horse or mule
His kinship rearrange.
Near the Stetson Derby racetrack
Were stabled in track’s shed,
Two broodmare sister horses,
Siblings -- Thoroughbred.
Each mare begat an offspring.
One, sired by a stud,
A yearling known as Fordyce --
A pedigreed pureblood.
But the lineage of his cousin
Was steeped in speculation,
Brunt of vicious jokes and gossip,
This unfortunate relation.
This cousin was a blue-nosed mule
Whose christian name was Grimstock.
His father was a donkey
From the wrong side of the racetrack.
Often Fordyce, without mercy,
And taunting, deeply cruel,
“Little beauty and no breeding,”
He would jeer to mock the mule.
Distinction of his rank preserved,
To keep Grimstock in place,
With equine haughty arrogance
Came a challenge to a race.
Eavesdropping near vain Fordyce
Was a horsefly on the wall,
Though little common horse sense
Echoed from that stall.
The horsefly hailed a deerfly,
Kin from his mother’s side --
His second cousin twice removed,
A bookie known trackwide.
The wager on this one-horse race,
With odds at three to one,
The horsefly bet the deerfly
That the mule would not run.
Fordyce knew he’d easily win
And showed a lot of pluck,
Stuck clover in his horseshoe
To increase his horse-hoof luck.
“They’re off,” was heard at race-start.
The derby had begun.
The horsefly and the deerfly rode
Fordyce, the favored one.
And then, who knows what happened,
Perhaps a charley horse,
But Fordyce hit the racetrack deck,
Smashed both flies from the force.
The outcome of this equine
Cousin’s racing duel,
And the winner by a blue-nose was
Grimstock, the dark-horse mule.
One step ahead of glue-truck fate,
His life-plans now revised,
Into the meadow’s long tall grass,
Fordyce was pasturized.
Two acknowledged universal truths –
Boasting from a horse stall
Is quintessential horse nonsense and
Pride goes before a fall.
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