THIS is the story the stockman told,
On the cattle camp, when the stars were bright;
The moon rose up like a globe of gold
And flooded the plain with her mellow light.
We watched the cattle till dawn of day
And he told me the story of Mongrel Grey.
He was a knock-about station hack,
That was a matter of every-day
Common occurrence to Mongrel Grey.
We might have sold him, but someone heard
In the flooded ground he could find his way,
Nothing could puzzle old Mongrel Grey.
’Tis a trick, no doubt, that some horses learn;
Never mistaking the road to go,
For a man may guess—but the horses know.
I was camping out with my youngest son—
The youngster toddled about all day,
And with our horses was Mongrel Grey.
All of a sudden the flood came down
Rising and rising—at fall of night
Nothing but water appeared in sight!
’Tis a nasty place when the floods are out,
And to move was a hopeless thing to try
In the dark with the water just racing by.
I had to try it. I heard a roar,
The way the water was sweeping down
We must shift for the highlands at once, or drown.
Off to the stable I splashed, and found
They reared and snorted and turned away,
And none would face it but Mongrel Grey.
I bound the child on the horse’s back,
To guide His creatures by night and day
Would lead the footsteps of Mongrel Grey.
He struck deep water at once and swam—
Swimming in darkness across the flood,
Rank with the smell of the drifting mud.
He turned and twisted across and back,
Did he strike the crossing by sight or smell?
The Lord that held him alone could tell!
He dodged the timber whene’er he could,
And I lost my grip of the brave old grey,
And in half a second he swept away.
I reached a tree, where I had to stay,
At dawn next morning, and grazed around,
With the child on top of him safe and sound.
We keep him now for the wife to ride,
And not Old Tyson himself could pay
The purchase money of Mongrel Grey.