Judy Cook, Folksinger

Bill Hopkins' Colt

As Sung By Judy Cook

Over in Cambridge County in a barroom full of smoke
Where all the neighbors gather to talk horse and crack a joke
On a cold and blustery evening, with tongues already greased,
Smoke rolling from his old clay pipe, Bill Hopkins spoke his piece:

"I want to tell you boys about a colt my dad was gonna shoot.
Yes, he was gonna take the life of that crooked-legged brute.
He was so doggone mad, d'you see, to think that our old mare,
Could mother such a Hambletonian as we saw sprawling there.

But I begged so hard of him to give the homely thing to me,
At last he said, "Well take him, Bill. He's the worst I've ever seen!"
I took him, and I raised him. But although I'd never have owned,
I'd have swapped him for a mule if nobody would've known.

For long-legged and slab-sided was the nature of that critter,
And the boys all laughed at me.
So I kept him down in our back lot, well out of sight, you see.
I'd go down and stir him up, and switch him 'round the lot
To see if he couldn't strike a gait that was something like a trot.

But he didn't seem to have a gait; he mixed himself all up
Like an old jack-knife with the rivets loose, half open and half shut.
I broke him, and I drove him. But he didn't seem to know,
Whether drove single or drove double, how he ought to act or go.

I hauled milk to the factory with him and our old mare.
One night while going home, I found out what was there.
For the pole slipped through the neck yoke ring while going down a hill.
And they lit out, Jehosaphat! They lit out for to kill.

My surprise turned to amazement and my blood got boiling hot.
The old mare run her level best, but the colt just held his trot.
Going home that evening, I fixed everything all right
And I didn't tell my secret, and I didn't sleep that night!

For the county fair was coming up and I'd made up my mind
To try my luck with the four-year-olds and not be far behind
I got another lad to enter him so nobody would know
Whose colt it was a-gonna run 'til it was time to go.

We scored and scored to get the word, but the colt would sprawl and skip.
The boys all hollered, "Bill, why don't you let 'er rip!"
At last we got the word to go and the others were ahead
And I wished that I was somewhere else, and the darned old colt was dead!

But I hauled right up and pounded him the very best I knew.
All at once, he spread his wings and flew!
You talk about your trottin' boys! You talk about your fun!
'Twas then we found them four-year-olds and we downed 'em, one by one.

My colt won three straight heats and the crowd went crazy wild
To see that there colt win like takin' candy from a child!
Boys, to end my story, you know that farm I own?
The price I got for that there colt just deeded me my home.

My father always said that blooded stock was his best holt.
But you can bet your life he'll never give away another crooked-legged colt!