George Washington, His Mother And A Colt

Washington's Childhood Home

You’ve heard of George Washington and the cherry tree. How about his mother’s young colt? The character of the mother, as well as that of the son, are shown in the following incident.

Mrs. Washington owned a remarkably fine colt, which she valued very much; but which, though old enough for use, had never been mounted; no one would venture to ride it, or attempt to break its wild & vicious spirit. George proposed to some of his young companions, that they should assist him to secure the colt until he could mount it, as he had determined that he would try to tame it. Soon after sun rise, one morning, they drove the wild animal into an enclosure, & with great difficulty succeeded in placing a bridle on it. George then sprang upon its back, & the vexed colt bounded over the open fields, prancing & plunging to get rid of his burden. The bold rider kept his seat firmly, & the struggle between them became alarming to his companions, who were watching him. The speed of the colt increased, until at length, in making a furious effort to throw his conqueror, he burst a large blood-vessel, & instantly died. George was unhurt, but was much troubled by the unexpected result of his exploit. His companions soon joined him, & when they saw the beautiful colt lifeless, the 1st words they spoke were, “What will your mother say-who can tell her?” They were called to breakfast, & soon after they were seated at the table, Mrs. Washington said, “Well, young gentlemen, have you seen my fine sorrel colt in your rambles?” No answer was given, & the question was repeated; her son George then replied- “Your sorrel colt is dead, mother.” He gave her an exact account of the event. The flush of displeasure which first rose on her cheek, soon passed away; & she said calmly, “While I regret the loss of my favourite, I rejoice in my son, who always speaks the truth.”

Taken from “Life of Washington” by Anna C. Reed, published by the American Sunday School Union, 1842

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