The moral of many clever, humorous satire stories is justice.

The Kicking Mule

One morning Farmer Johnson was riding his kicking mule to market when he met Jim Boggs, against whom he had an old and concealed grudge. The Farmer knew Boggs’ weakness lay in bragging and betting; therefore he saluted him accordingly.

“How are you, Jim? Fine morning.”

“Hearty, Sir,” replied Jim. “Fine weather. Nice mule that you are riding. Will he do to bet on?”

“Bet on? Guess he will. I tell you, Jim Boggs, he’s the best mule in the county.”

“Great thunder! Is that so?” Jim asked excitedly.

“Solid truth, every word of it. Tell you confidentially, I am taking him down for betting purposes. I bet he can kick a fly off any man without its hurting him.”

“Now look here, Mr. Johnson,” said Jim, “I am not a betting character, but I’ll bet you something on that myself.”

“Jim, there’s no use---don’t bet,” said the Farmer. “I don’t want to win your money.”

“Don’t be alarmed, Mister. I’ll take such bets as them every time.”

“Well, if you are determined to bet, Jim, I will risk a small stake---say five dollars.”

“All right, Mr. Johnson---you’re my man. But who’ll he kick the fly off? There is no one here but you and I. You try it.”

“No,” says Johnson; “I have to be at the mule’s head to order him.”

Oh, yaas,” says Jim. “Then probably I’m the man. Waal, I’ll do it, but you are to bet ten against my five if I risk it.”

“All right,” said Farmer Johnson. “now there’s a fly on your shoulder. Stand still.” And the Farmer adjusted the mule.

“Whist, Jervey!” said the Farmer.

The mule raised his heels with such velocity and force that Boggs rose in the air like a bird and alighted on all fours in a muddy ditch, bang up against a rail fence.

Rising in a towering passion, he exclaimed:

“Yaas, that is smart! I knew your darned mule couldn’t do it. You had all that put up. I wouldn’t be kicked like that for fifty dollars. Now you can just fork them stakes right over.”

“No, sir,” said the Farmer; “Jervey did just what I said he would. I said he would kick a fly off a man without its hurting him, and he did. You see the mule is not hurt by the operation. However, if you are not satisfied, we will try again as often as you wish.”

Jim brushed the mud off, looked solemnly at the mule, and then, putting his hand thoughtfully to his brow, remarked:

“No, Mr. Johnson. I don’t think the mule is hurt; but I didn’t understand the bet. You can keep the money.”

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