Here is an exciting story of adventure from the prairies of Western America. The hero of the story is Hal Merle, the young son of a ranch owner, who has set his heart open buying a wild horse called Thunder King belonging to an American Indian. With great patience and understanding, Hal succeeds in bringing Thunder King under control and riding him. In the end, the boy gets not only the animal but also an unclaimed gold field.
“THUNDER KING” was a black mustang (wild horse) which Same Ree an American Indian, had captured and brought in from the prairie. Hal Merle, the young son of a ranch owner, had set his heart open obtaining the horse for his own, but his father said that they could not afford to buy it, for times were hard. Hal, however, did not give up hope.
One day Hal Merle went back to gaze at the beast of his dreams. He found Same Ree at home.
“You buy?” inquired it brightly.
Hal shook his head. “It isn’t easy gating money out of Dad these days,” he answered, “especially when the price you ask is more than any wild best can be worth. But I’ll tell you what, Sama: you let me ride the horse so that he gets to know me, then I can take him to the ranch, and perhaps Dad we make you an offer.”
The Red Indian hesitated. “No man ever yet rides him but me,” he said. “Him dangerous beast.”
Nevertheless, an hour or so later, the boy, mounted on a little pony, was leading the mustang off at the end of a halter towards a quite hollow of the prairie. Thunder King was wild-eyed and snorting, but, bit by bit, he became used to the quite stranger.
Well out of sight, with rolling uplands on every side, Hal drew rein, and began to caress and stroke his pony, talking to her in a quiet voice. Soon the wild horse became interested. Hal took some dainty from his pocket, and gave it to his own pony. The tempting scent reached the nostrils of the mustang, tempting scent reached the nostrils of the mustang , and soon he too soon he too was munching at something which he had snatched nervously from the boy’s hand. Hal touched his nostrils and the animal drew back, snorting.
Gently but firmly the boy continued his efforts; at length Thunder King allowed Hal to rub the white star on his forehead. Then Hal lowered his face and breathed into the mustang’s nostrils. So, that first day, boy and mustang came to know each other little, and the wild beast no longer shrank back from the boy’s touch.
Hal came every day after that, and the end of the week Sama was amazed to see the mustang follow Hal into the corral without even a halter.
“I think I’ll ride him tomorrow,” remarked the boy, at which Sama was still more surprised, for he imagined that every day Hal had been struggling to master the mustang.
So next day Hal, gently but swiftly, slipped from his own saddle on to the bare back of the mustang. With one snort of terror, Thunder King set off across the prairie in board-side leaps, the horse’s back as stiff as a table; then down went his head, and how he bucked at full gallop, he bucked standing still bouncing like a glass marble on stone flags. Still the boy kept his seat, so with a scream Thunder King flung himself down and rolled.
Quick as the horse was, the boy was quicker. Hal landed on his feet, and quietly stood by while Thunder King rolled; then, as the animal leapt up, Hal slipped back to his place, and away they went once more in a wild stampede.
The best horses are not easily broken, and many an evening both boy and horse were exhausted when they returned to Sama’s corral. Now, however, Hal never led the mustang, but left him to follow and the animal had learned to come to the boy’s call. For Hal who loved his own freedom, understood the burden of even a halter to a beast born on the great open ranges.