President David O. McKay loved horses. One of his favorite horses was named Sonny Boy. Even when he was President of the Church, he kept horses on his farm in Huntsville, Utah, so he could ride them whenever he visited.
Once, someone stole a hand-carved saddle from President McKay’s saddle house on the farm. President McKay valued the saddle greatly and felt very sad when it was stolen. After that, he was very careful to keep his saddle house locked.
One hot summer day, several members of President McKay’s family were visiting the farm. Two of his sisters were driving past the saddle house when they saw that a window had been left open. Fearing that another theft would happen, they stopped and closed the window.
Later that day, they told President McKay what they had done, hoping he would be as relieved as they were. But the prophet’s forehead creased with worry as they explained what they had done.
“I left that window open on purpose,” President McKay told his sisters. “There is a birds’ nest inside, and that is the only entrance the parent birds have to carry food to their babies. I think I shall just have time to run over.”
“We can easily run over and open the window again. It’s no trouble,” one of his sisters offered. She knew that President McKay needed to leave soon to get back to Salt Lake City.
“It’s all right,” he said. “I must pick up a rope that needs repairing anyway.”
President McKay reached for his sister’s hand, gave it a squeeze, and left to rescue the bird family. Before long he had gone there and come back home again.
“Was everything all right?” his sister asked when he returned.
“It was just as I expected,” President McKay said. “One bird was outside trying to get in, and another was inside attempting to get out.” He patted her arm gently. “But, all’s well now.”
President McKay was a very kind person. He knew that Heavenly Father was mindful of all of His creations, and he had a special love for Heavenly Father’s creations too.
“Man’s greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others.” 1
President David O. McKay (1873–1970)
In Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 8.
Illustration by Paul Mann