Picking up a single glove Tom groaned, it had come to something when he had to rely on dropped items, like the discarded hats, old jam jars, broken umbrellas and the odd bottle he had picked up today. He felt keenly about losing the small croft out of town, but times were hard. It had been the croft or Oscar. Yet still he and Oscar were slowly sinking into the mire as people turned their backs on rag and bone men. Recycling was seriously out of fashion.
Meanwhile Oscar wondered if Tom would make enough today to give him some barley mash rather than the rumpty hay in his nose sack. Oscar would often dream of eating sweet hay and rolling on grass, but deep down he knew times were hard. He feared that it would be a trip to the knackers yard for him, and the gin bottle for old Tom.
Then he saw the glint, he stopped so suddenly that he woke Tom up. Tom responded by calling out ‘it’s not time for a carrot yet old chap’, when Oscar refused to move, Tom got down to inspect Oscar’s hoof’s for a foreign body. As he lifted one of Oscar’s front feet a look of amazement crossed his face. Imbedded in the soft underbelly of the hoof was a gold signature ring, inscribed to the local Laird.
Tom knew what had to be done, after a day of fruitless work he walked the ten miles to the lairds castle and handed in the ring, then turned to go. The doorman smiled then told him to wait, then called the reeve. Tom was told by the reeve to return the next day. One did as one was told in the lowlands, so the next day Tom returned. He was offered employment looking after the Laird’s horses, now Oscar’s in heaven.
I have a printed copy of this