Now Farmer Jones was noted for fast horses on his place,
And also as the father of a son with freckled face,
And hair so red it looked as if it had been dyed in blood,
And Ephraim was the "masher" of the country neighborhood.
This Ephraim Jones' yellow mare, she was no nice and fleet
That all the girls for miles around on Eph. were very "sweet,"
In hopes to get a ride or two behind her on the road,
With sleigh-bells jingling 'round her neck, some day when it had snowed.
Or else to spin along the pike, with buggy top let down,
And ribbons sailing out behind, when Eph. would drive to town,
The envy of the country boys, and many maidens fair
A-casting wistful glances at the youth with reddish hair.
This thing went on till finally our Ephraim fell in love
With Tildy Ann Serepty Brown--as gentle as a dove--
Of all the girls around about the reigning country bell,
Whose father was as rich as cream--he'd struck an oil well!
About three nights in every week could Ephraim's yellow mare
Be found a-standing hitched outside, while he was courting there,
And so the boys, with envy mad and jealousy aroused,
To humble Eph. hit on a plan they heartily espoused.
If anything in all the world, beside sweet Tildy Ann,
Was dear to Ephraim's eye and heart, it was his claybank, Fan;
He boasted of her speed and looks, and of her pedigree--
Said more intelligence in a brute no man would ever see.
He kept her curried till her coat it shone like burnished gold--
With silver-mounted harness on, a beauty to behold.
A brand new buggy hitched to her, a-glinting in the sun,
She "took the cake" for speed and style from every other one.
They heard that Eph. one night would call upon his Tildy Ann
To make arrangements all complete to carry out a plan:
It would be Sunday following, when all in style he'd go
With Tildy and the yellow mare to the country "bonnet-show."
Supplied with brushes, cans of paint of every shade and hue,
And to furnish light by which to work, a bull's-eye lantern, too,
At ten o'clock that night so dark you couldn't see a wink,
They striped his Fan with red and brown, and black and blue and pink.
Next morning when he went to feed, and opened wide the door,
No zebra that was ever foaled could boast the stripes she wore;
Her ears were white, her legs were green, her tail was fiery red,
And as he gazed upon her then I can't tell what he said!