Adapted from an October 1968 general conference address.
He was very clever—sometimes too clever for his own good.
President David O. McKay

“I wish I could say to every young man [and young woman] in this Church, that if you would be successful, if you would be happy, if you would conserve your strength, intellectual, physical, and spiritual, you will resist temptation to indulge your appetites and your passions.” —President David O. McKay (The Improvement Era, 48:310)

I had great pleasure in training a well-bred colt. He had a good disposition, clean, well-rounded eye, was well proportioned, and all in all, a choice animal. Under the saddle he was as willing, responsive, and cooperative as a horse could be. He and my dog, Scotty, were real companions. I liked the way he would go up to something of which he was afraid. He had confidence that if he would do as I bade him he would not be injured.

But my horse Dandy resented restraint. He was ill-contented when tied and would nibble at the tie rope until he was free. He would not run away; he just wanted to be free. Thinking other horses felt the same, he would proceed to untie their ropes. He hated to be confined in the pasture, and if he could find a place in the fence where there was only smooth wire, he would paw the wire carefully with his feet until he could step over to freedom. More than once my neighbors were kind enough to put him back in the field. He learned even to push open the gate. Though he often did damage that was provoking and sometimes expensive, I admired his ingenuity.

But his curiosity and desire to explore the neighborhood led him and me into trouble. Once on the highway he was hit by an automobile, resulting in a demolished machine, injury to the horse, and slight, though not serious, injury to the driver. Recovering from that, and still impelled by a feeling of wanderlust, he inspected the fence throughout the entire boundary. He even found the gates wired. So for a while we thought we had Dandy secure in the pasture.

One day, however, somebody left the gate unwired. Detecting this, Dandy unlatched it, took another horse with him, and together they visited the neighbor’s field. They went to an old house used for storage. Dandy’s curiosity prompted him to push open the door. There was a sack of grain. What a find! Yes, and what a tragedy! The grain was poisoned bait for rodents! In a few minutes Dandy and the other horse were in spasmodic pain, and shortly both were dead.

How like Dandy are many of you young people! You are not bad; you do not even intend to do wrong; but you are impulsive, full of life, full of curiosity, and long to do something. You, too, are restless under restraint, but if left to wander without direction, you all too frequently find yourselves in the environment of temptation and too often are entangled in the snares of evil.

[illustration] Illustrated by Greg Newbold