The Never-Never Pony

By Joan Chase Bacon

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    1 Max was a little brown pony who lived all by himself in a beautiful green field. All day long he pranced and danced in the cool sweet grass. All night long he snoozed and snored under the dark, twinkling sky. “I like it here in my beautiful field,” said Max, “and I never want to leave it! Never, never, never!”

    2 But one day his owner and some men came in a big truck. They said, “Come on, old fellow. It’s time for you to come with us.”

    Max did not want to go with them. He tried to run away. But the men caught him and tied a rope around his neck. Poor Max! He felt terrible.

    3 The men took Max to the pony ride place. They led him into a big warm barn and into a stall with his name on it. They brushed the tangles out of his coat. And they gave him lots of good food. “Nice Max,” they comforted. “You will like it here, you’ll see.”

    But Max thought—“I do not like it here! I want to go back to my beautiful field!”

    4 The men took Max to the pony ride ring. Some children came running. They laughed and clapped their hands when they saw him. “Oh, what a beautiful little pony!” they cried.

    Max saw the other ponies trot around the ring—trot, trot, trot.

    5 A man climbed onto Max’s back. “Now let’s see what you can do,” the man said.

    Max showed the man what he could do all right. He could walk slower than a turtle—w-a-a-a-alk, w-a-a-a-alk, w-a-a-a-alk. He could run faster than the speed of light—gallop, gallop, gallop! And he could stop dead in his tracks without any warning—S-T-O-P!!!

    The pony ride man flew through the air and landed on the ground—THUMP! “This one isn’t for us,” he said sadly. “We’ll have to return him to his former owner.”

    6 Max went back to his beautiful green field. But then something astonishing happened. He wasn’t happy there any more. He missed the other ponies. He missed the men and the big warm barn. Most of all, he missed the children and all the excitement.

    Max was lonely! And two big tears rolled down his nose.

    7 Max ran and ran down the familiar road until he finally found the pony ride place. The men there were surprised, of course, but glad to see Max. “Welcome home,” said all the men.

    “We’re so glad to see you, Max,” said all the children.

    8 They called his owner and got permission for Max to try the pony ride again. This time Max showed the men what he really could do! He did not walk slower than a turtle. He did not run faster than the speed of light. He did not stop dead in his tracks without any warning.

    He trotted around the pony ring—trot, trot, trot.

    The children were glad to see Max back again. Max, of course, did not say anything. He just stretched out his nose for the children to pet. And he thought—“I will never say never again, for never is a long, long, long time!”

    Illustrated by Gary Hoover