The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 24

he dragged the
boy with him, but all his mighty efforts were unavailing to loosen the
grip upon mane and withers. Suddenly, he reared straight into the air
carrying the youth with him, then with a vicious lunge he threw himself
backward upon the ground.

"It's death!" exclaimed one of the knights, "he will kill the youth yet,
Beauchamp."

"No!" cried he addressed. "Look! He is up again and the boy still clings
as tightly to him as his own black hide."

"'Tis true," exclaimed another, "but he hath lost what he had gained
upon the halter--he must needs fight it all out again from the
beginning."

And so the battle went on again as before, the boy again drawing the
iron neck slowly to the right--the beast fighting and squealing as
though possessed of a thousand devils. A dozen times, as the head bent
farther and farther toward him, the boy loosed his hold upon the mane
and reached quickly down to grasp the near fore pastern. A dozen times
the horse shook off the new hold, but at length the boy was successful,
and the knee was bent and the hoof drawn up to the elbow.

Now the black fought at a disadvantage, for he was on but three feet
and his neck was drawn about in an awkward and unnatural position. His
efforts became weaker and weaker. The boy talked incessantly to him in
a quiet voice, and there was a shadow of a smile upon his lips. Now
he bore heavily upon the black withers, pulling the horse toward him.
Slowly the beast sank upon his bent knee--pulling backward until his off
fore leg was stretched straight before him. Then, with a final surge,
the youth pulled him over upon his side, and, as he fell, slipped prone
beside him. One sinewy hand shot to the rope just beneath the black
chin--the other grasped a slim, pointed ear.

For a few minutes the horse fought and kicked to gain his liberty, but
with his head held to the earth, he was as powerless in the hands of the
boy as a baby would have been. Then he sank panting and exhausted into
mute surrender.

"Well done!" cried one of the knights. "Simon de Montfort himself never
mastered a horse in better order, my boy. Who be thou?"

In an instant, the lad was upon his feet his eyes searching for the
speaker. The horse, released, sprang up also, and the two stood--the
handsome boy and the beautiful black--gazing with startled eyes, like
two wild things, at the strange intruder who confronted them.

"Come, Sir Mortimer!"

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