It has been said that the only difference between a fairy tale and a cowboy story is that the fairy tale begins, “Once upon a time,” and the cowboy story begins, “This is a true story…really.”
Well, this is a true story…really.
A bunch us were sitting around talking horses prior to the famous Red Bluff Gelding Sale when John mentioned that our good friend, Bob, could tell the age of a horse with nothing more than a hair from the horse’s tail. Being the non-believer that I am I said , “Prove it.”
So a random volunteer was selected to fetch a hair from the tail of one of the horses that would sell later that evening. Bob took off his wedding ring and passed the horse hair through it. Next he grabbed the loose ends in his hands and let the wedding ring dangle from the hair into an empty coffee cup, about an inch below the rim. Bob rested his elbows on the table, with the hair coming out over the top of his clenched hands.
At first, the ring did nothing and I was unimpressed but after a few seconds it started swinging to and fro. I looked at Bob’s hands and they were not moving or swinging the ring in any way. He was concentrating and asked for silence. Every once in a while the ring would swing so far as to hit the edge of the cup making a “ding” that everyone in the room could hear. After we had all counted four dings the ring became perfectly still in the middle of the cup. Bob announced, “the horse is a four year old.”
Our messenger knew the lot number of the horse so we looked him up in the sale catalog and guess what? The horse was four years old!
It seems that one of the prerequisites for being able to perform this wondrous fete is that you must also be able to witch for water. Willard the Water Witcher was in attendance and he tried the trick using the same horse hair and just like with Bob the ring dinged the cup four times. But when I tried it the ring did not even move.
I know you’re not going to believe me when I tell you what happened next but I have at least twenty witnesses to the event. As the ring hung limply from my clenched fists Bob grabbed me around the wrist and soon the ring was swinging in the cup. Bob had transferred his power to me! Eventually the ring hit the side of the cup four times before coming to rest. I swear it’s true. I have never in my life seen anything like this before and no one, not even Bob, could explain the phenomenon. There were at least three people in the room who have seen Bob do this before and I was told that Bob was once tested on 32 different horses and got every one of them right.
This is a true story…..really, and I can only come up with a couple explanations. Either Bob has wondrous powers or the members of the Red Bluff Bull Sale committee have pulled off an elaborate prank in retaliation for last year when I arranged for 200 people to throw eggs and water balloons at the entire committee, thereby creating the world’s ugliest wet Tee-shirt contest.
Anyway, because I am always on the lookout for ways to supplement my income and seeing the profit potential from doing this trick in saloons, the minute I got home I practiced The Red Bluff Miracle, as it has come to be called by all who were there. I had my wife bring me long hairs from a variety of subjects but unfortunately it turned out that I didn’t have Bob’s knack. According to my estimations my 24 year old horse wasn’t even born yet and I announced my wife to be 21 years old.
She was shocked at the accuracy of the phenomenon and said, “That’s right. That’s right!”
“Now that,” I replied, “would indeed be a miracle.”