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Chapter 48 Summary

Farmer Thoroughgood and his Grandson Willie

At the horse sale, Jack is of course placed with all the broken-down horses, some of whom are in such bad shape they should probably have just been shot out of mercy. Some of the buyers and sellers do not look much better than the pitiful creatures they are hoping to buy. A man approaches from the direction of the better horses. He appears to be a gentleman farmer who has a kind face and a young boy by his side. When he arrives at the pitiful group of horses, the man looks around until he sees Jack. He still has an impressive mane and tail, so he looks somewhat better than the horses around him. Jack perks up his ears and looks at the man.

The farmer tells his grandson that this was once a fine horse; the contours of his face and the structure of his neck and shoulders tell the man he is a purebred horse. He pats the animal on the neck, and Jack puts out his nose as an act of kindness. The boy strokes Jack’s face and asks if his grandfather can “buy him and make him young again” as he did with another horse named Ladybird. The boy believes the horse is not old or diseased, just in need of kindness and gentle treatment. The horse would grow young again in their meadows.

The man who brought Jack to the sale now speaks. He tells the gentleman that, indeed, this horse is not old and is simply in need of rest. He repeats the doctor’s pronouncement that six months of rest would make a new horse of him. In the last ten days of taking care of Jack, the man from the stables says the horse has been the most grateful and pleasant animal. Five pounds is a small price to buy the animal a chance to recover and become whole again. The boy reminds his grandfather that he made an extra five pounds on the sale of their colt, so he would be out nothing if he buys this horse.

The gentleman begins to examine the horse gently and carefully, estimating his age at thirteen or...

(The entire section is 743 words.)