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The Enchanted Mule

Pablo, seeing the large silver cross, the emblem of Christianity, slackened his pace, and when within a few yards of it, in obedience to what his mother had taught him as a child, dropped down on his knees, bending his head to the ground; but this he did so suddenly, that the archbishop fell off the saddle on to his neck, and, to break his fall, caught hold of his servants by their ears, nearly tearing them off, and causing them also to tumble. Thinking that the evil one had seized them, they struck out right and left, and nearly stunned their master with the blows and kicks. Pablo, hoping to retrieve his fortune, started to his legs with the archbishop clinging round his neck, and galloped after the two servants with his mouth open, so that, should he catch them, he might bite them. But they, surmising what he meant, sought refuge among the priests, and these in their turn made haste to get into a small chapel close by.

“Our archbishop must have changed mules with Beelzebub,” said a fat priest, “for no earthly animal would thus treat a prince of the Church!”

“Ay,” continued one of the runaway servants; “and if his neck had been a foot longer I should have been dangling in mid-air like the coffin of the false prophet.”

“I never thought to have run so fast again,” ejaculated a very short and stout priest. “Faith, my legs seemed to grow under me, as our sacristan said after he had been tossed by the abbot’s bull.”

“But what has become of the archbishop?” said another. “We must not leave him in his sorry plight.”

Saying this, he carefully opened the door of the chapel, and there they saw their prelate swooning on the pavement, and Pablo dashing full tilt among the crowd, trying to wreak his vengeance on as many as he could possibly get hold of.

Having torn the leather breeches of some half-dozen sightseers, and knocked down and trampled on some score of men and women, he rushed out of the city by the same gate, and never stopped till he arrived at the inn where he had been hostler.

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