Marilyn D. Anderson
Illustrated by Dennis E. Miller
Copyright 2010 by Marilyn D. Anderson
Originally published 1984 by School Book Fairs as But Maggie Wanted a PONY
Published 1987 by Willowisp Press, Inc. under the title Maggie's Wish
Revised Printing 2009 published by Whispering Pines Publishing
11013 Country Pines Road, Shoals, Indiana 47581
Mom called to Maggie over the whine of the vacuum cleaner. "Please go see why Corky is barking."
Maggie put down her toy horses and looked out the window. She saw a gray car in the driveway. "It's Tim and Jodi," she cried as she ran to the door.
Mom shut off the vacuum and pulled in the cord. "Oh, my," she said. "What will I give them for lunch?"
Maggie didn't care what they ate. She was excited that she would have someone to play with. Being an only child on a dairy farm could get lonely.
The Johnson's small brown and white dog was jumping all over Maggie's cousins before she reached them. "Corky, stop that," she ordered, but the dog paid no attention.
Tim leaned over to pet Corky. "We don't mind," he said.
"We like dogs," added his younger sister, Jodi.
"Hello, Andersons," Mom called from the front door. "It's good to see you." Maggie's mom hugged her sister.
"We've got a new bow and arrow set," Tim told Maggie. "Wait until you see it."
Maggie hesitated. Tim was a year younger than she was, but he always had some new toy she had never tried. It seemed she could never keep up with him.
"A bow and arrows?" she repeated. "When did you get those?"
"The day school let out," he said with a grin. "Mom wanted us to stay out of her hair for awhile."
"Well, did you?" Maggie asked.
"Sure," said Tim.
Jodi shook her head and said, "You still put a hole in her lawn chair."
"Tattletale," Tim said, frowning. "Come on, Maggie. Let's see if you're a good shot."
Maggie was not a good shot. Her arrows always dropped right in front of her. She kept forgetting to let go of the bowstring when she let go of the arrow. After dozens of tries, she had only hit the cardboard target once. Even Jodi, who was only 6, did better than that. Tim hit the target almost every time.
After lunch the cousins climbed trees. Maggie was good at that, but she never took crazy chances like Tim did. She often held her breath and waited for him to fall, but he never did.
Later Maggie and the other kids found some old skis in the garage. They skied around the grass until Maggie's dad yelled, "Hey, you guys. Does that look like snow to you? Put those skis away, and Maggie, go get the cows."
"We'll help," Tim said eagerly. "Where are they?"
"In the pasture," Maggie said, pointing out beyond the barn.
"Good, let's go," said Tim, starting off at a run. Maggie and Jodi tried to keep up.
"Wait," Jodi begged. "My legs are too short."
Tim slowed down. "Okay," he agreed. "Maggie, it's a long ways to your pasture. Do you do this every night?"
"Sure," said Maggie. "And it will be a fun job when I get my pony."
Tim stopped dead in his tracks, and Jodi hung back to stare at Maggie. "A pony?" he gasped. "Did your dad say you could get one?"
Maggie had stopped, too. "Well ... not exactly," she admitted. "But he's been saying 'when you're older' for a long time. Now I'm older."
Tim snorted and moved on. "Big deal," he said. "My dad says that too when I'm never going to get something."
Now they could see the herd of black and white Holsteins ahead. "I am going to get a pony," Maggie almost shouted. "You'll see."
Several mornings later Maggie heard her parents talking in the kitchen. Dad said, "Well, you know she wants a pony."
"Yes," said Mom. "But I didn't think you'd spend so much money without discussing it."
"You buy what you want," he shot back. "And this was what I want."
They stopped talking when Maggie entered the room.
"Time for breakfast," said Mom. "Maggie, please wash up and set the table."
They started breakfast. Then Dad said, "Maggie, I bought something special yesterday. I think you're going to like it."
"A pony?" she asked eagerly.
"I'm not telling," he said, grinning. "But it's coming today ... in a truck."
"Fred," Mom scolded. "Don't get her all excited. She might be disappointed."
"But I'm excited," he said with a broad grin. "I just had to say something."
After breakfast Maggie sat on the front step watching the driveway. I wonder what color my pony will be, she thought. I wonder what its eyes will be like. I wonder if Dad bought me a saddle.
Hours later, a blue truck turned into their driveway. It was big enough to haul about six or seven cows. The truck stopped in the front of the house, and a man with a beard got out. Corky barked at him.
"Corky, stop," Maggie demanded, and she ran toward the truck. "Is my pony in there?"
The man laughed and said, "Something like that. Is your father home?"
"Yes, he's in the barn," said Maggie. "I'll get him for you."
But Dad stuck his head out the barn door and waved. Meanwhile Maggie circled the truck trying to see inside. But the openings between the boards were too high up.
"Hi, Chuck," said Dad, offering his hand. "Let's unload right here."
"Fine," said Chuck. He reached up below the truck's back door and pulled out a ramp. He and Dad brought gates from the sides of the truck and fitted them into slots on the sides of the ramp. Chuck walked up the ramp into the back of the truck.
Maggie saw a flash of gold and heard a nicker. It sounded like a pony.
But it wasn't a pony. Chuck appeared at the top of the ramp with ... the BIGGEST horse Maggie had ever seen. It was gold with a white mane and tail and white blaze down its nose.
The ramp shook as the huge animal tromped down it. The horse towered over even Dad's head. Maggie could have almost walked under the animal's belly.
Dad took the horse's halter, and Chuck went back into the truck. He reappeared leading another horse as big as the first.
Maggie wailed, "Hey, I only asked for one pony." She felt like crying.
Mom got there just then and put her arm around Maggie. "Well, your father always liked driving his grandfather's team, so he bought his own."
Dad walked by, leading the horses and Chuck to the barn. "Neat, eh?" he said, eyes sparkling.
"Yeah, neat," said Mom, and she and Maggie followed.
The men tied the horses in wooden stalls in a very old part of the barn. The horses sniffed their feed boxes and the walls. Then they found hay in the feed boxes and started to eat.
"They look happy now," said Chuck. "I'm sure they'll work just fine for you."
Dad nodded. "I know they will. I just hope I can tell them apart."
Chuck laughed. "Molly is lighter colored than Polly. That's Molly." He pointed to the smaller of the two horses.
"I'll remember that," said Dad.
"Did you talk to Larry Croon?" asked Chuck.
"Yes," said Dad. "I bought some equipment from him, and it should be here later