I grabbed the 19th Century example of a boozehound by his arms, and after many stops and starts, I dragged him through the tree line into a small field beyond.
I kept looking at this mule. He just stood in the middle of the road with most of his weight on his front legs and the forward edge of his back left hoof planted next to his right leg in a jocular sort of way. He made no attempt to leave the scene. He seemed to be waiting on someone to tell him what to do. He observed my machinations with the sot and did little else.
Once I got the man moved, I went back for the mule. I picked up his bridle reins and pulled him toward the tree line, but he wouldn’t budge. I then grabbed the bridle next to his jaw and tried again to pull him, but to no avail. It was like trying to move a stalled car by yourself. I wanted to hide this animal as best I could, because I didn’t know how many people were familiar with his owner and would recognize the mule if he was wandering rider-less in the vicinity. This would lead to a search for the drunkard and probably me being discovered.
I finally left the mule in the road and walked through the tree line to the field. I found the field – which I hadn’t paid any attention to before – to be full of chest-high corn stalks. Each stalk yielded young roasting ears, as we referred to them in Arkansas. I picked a few and started shucking them as I walked back to the mule.
As I approached him, I believe he could smell the corn. His ears shot up as he turned to look straight at me, and he moved his back leg to a stance with his weight on all four legs. I held out the three small savory ears of sweet corn, and he moved toward me. I backed up, and he continued to follow me through the tree line. Once I got to the field, I turned around and held out my hand with the corn. He came to me, and I expertly put the corn under his mouth with the fingers of my hand behind his jaw. I had been taught this as a young city boy visiting my friends on farms whose families invited me to their homes after Sunday Church to ride their horses. The mule crunched on the corn to his heart’s content. I got his reins and tied him to a tree. I got him some more roasting ears to keep him occupied.
The first part of my plan was accomplished.