Chapters 1-3 Summary
In his earliest memory, Joey (a "gangling, leggy colt . . . not yet six months old") is separated from his mother at a horse sale. He is not sold at once. Finally, a drunken man purchases him for three guineas. Terrified, Joey tries to get away, but he is forcibly restrained and haltered by his new owner and his friends. He is then tied to the back of a cart and taken to a small farm, which is to be his new home.
Joey is left unceremoniously in a stable. His only consolation is that he is housed in a stall next to an old mare named Zoey, who seems kind and sympathetic. After a while, a young boy comes running from the farmhouse with his mother. Albert, who is thirteen, is excited to see the horse his father has brought home. Mother says that Father bought Joey out of spite, to prevent another farmer from getting him, but Albert does not care. He is just happy that Joey is here. He rubs down the colt and brings him food and water. Joey is calmed by the boy's gentle, caring manner. He knows that he has found "a friend for life."
Albert cares for Joey during the following months, training him to walk and trot on command and to come to the sound of his whistle. For the most part, Father ignores the horse. On Tuesdays, when his father comes home drunk from market, Albert finds some pretext to be with Joey so that his father will leave the colt alone. One Tuesday evening, however, Albert must go down to the village church to ring the bells. While he is away, Father approaches Joey with a whip in his hand; he has made a bet with another farmer that he can have the colt pulling a plow before the end of the week, and he intends to win it. In a panic, Joey lashes out with his hooves, striking Albert's father on the leg. The drunken man leaves angrily and threatens to sell the colt straightaway.
The next morning, Albert sternly reprimands his horse,...
(The entire section is 623 words.)