More Nancy the Horse and Other Stories

Nancy was the landlord’s gentle horse when the Wilson family lived southeast of Dexter. Clabe was a tenant farmer there, where he farmed with horses. They were also allowed to ride Nancy, and she eventually took the “Wilson schoolbus” to the Dexter School 2-3 graveled miles away. Delbert (age 10) drove the horse and buggy, while Donald (9) and Doris (7) rode along.

One day it was icy. Nancy slipped and fell. When she managed to clamber upright again, she hobbled.

The Wilson kids were late for school. Doris cried. The teacher had her sit by the radiator to warm up. The little girl still whimpered when the other kids went out for recess. The teacher put her arm around her. “Doris, are you still cold?”

“No, but Nancy fell down and we might have to shoot her.” More tears.

Well, that’s what her nine-year-old brother announced about Nancy’s predicament.

Danny, Dale and Darlene, Doris, Donald, and Delbert Wilson, SW of Dexter, Iowa, about 1925

Another day Nancy and and the buggy met a threshing machine on one corner. Nancy trotted right down into the ditch and reared up, with the three kids bouncing around in the buggy. But after they were passed the monster, she pulled them back up on the roadway.

Delbert was told not to drive on the highway because it was gravel. One time they had a different horse, which was faster than Nancy. Delbert headed the horse onto the highway and it was scary for Doris. Yes, she tattled.

Later, someone tattled to the teacher that Doris had said a bad word.

“Doris, what did you say?”

“I don’t know. All I said was ‘I’ll run like the deuce’.” Her brothers talked like that all the time.

“Well, you’re not nice a girl to talk like that. You may sit in the cloak room until recess.”

More tears.

Second grade can be so dramatic, can’t it!


  1. It’s rough trying to find your place in the world at second grade.
    You have to love that line, “Nancy fell down and we might have to shoot her.” Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

    • Donald is the brother who later kept untying Doris’s apron strings. She eventually hit him in the mouth with a dishrag. When he started to retaliate, their mother said, “Why, Donald, you deserved that!”

      • Ah, second grade! I have a few memories of my own experiences, but you’ve read some of them in Look Unto the Hills. Your reply to GP reminds me of an incident in which at supper one night, I refused to scoot forward and let my sister back into her place at the table. She threw into my face the tall glass of iced tea she was holding. When I protested, Mother just laughed and said, “You had that coming!”

      • Aha, you were THAT brother! Now that I know you a little better, I’m going to treat myself to reading your “Look Unto the Hills” again!

      • I finally began listening and jotting them down! In Mom’s last years, sis Gloria would drive Mom and me somewhere and I’d go quiet in the back seat. Gloria’d say, “Well, Joy is either napping or writing down Mom’s stories!”

  2. Great story! Every child should have a Nancy in their life.
    when a horse goes down the first thing that comes to mind is a broken leg and the horse would have to be shot. Luckily, like Nancy it is just a sprain and few rub downs with Watkin’s Horse Liniment does the trick.

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