Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 707
Something memorable happens when Darkie is two. He and the other colts are feeding in the lower part of the field when they hear dogs baying nearby. One of the older colts recognizes the sound of hunting, and they all go to the gate where they can watch; Duchess and an older horse are already there. She tells her son the dogs have found a hare, and they will get to see the hunt if the dogs come this way.
Soon the chase comes to the field next to the watching horses. First come the dogs; they are neither whining nor howling, but the noise is nothing like Darkie has ever heard. Soon some men on horseback follow; some of them are wearing green jackets. The older horse and the colts wish they could gallop with them, but the hunters are soon gone.
In a field below, the dogs and horses come to a halt, and the dogs all have their noses to the ground, running around in every direction. The old horse says the dogs have lost the scent and thinks the hare may escape. Darkie asks where the hare came from and learns that the hunters just choose any hare they can find. Suddenly the baying begins again, and the dogs and hunters begin racing back up the hill toward the watching horses.
The horses can see the frightened hare as it makes its way to the fence, followed by dogs and men as they leap streams and dash over the field. The rabbit is unable to get through the fence and soon the dogs, with their wild cries, are on top of the poor creature. One shriek and the animal is dead. The hunters come and whip the dogs off the hare, holding up the torn and bloody carcass. All the gentlemen seem happy with the outcome of the hunt.
Darkie is astonished at the entire proceeding. When he looks back down the field, he sees several horses still near the water below. One of them is struggling in the stream; the other is groaning on the ground. One rider, covered with mud, is getting out of the stream, but the other remains on the ground, unmoving. Duchess tells Darkie that the man has broken his neck. All the horses, including Darkie, believe the man deserved his fate, but Duchess says that while she does not understand the men’s desire to hunt in such a way, horses are only horses and do not know what motivates men to do the things they do.
As they continue to watch, the horses see men going to help the fallen rider. The first to arrive is their master, who had been...
(The entire section contains 707 words.)
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