A Whip, or a Word


In one of the Timber-yards near the City Road, in London, there is a carter who is noted for his kindness to the horse which is under his care. He is deeply attached to it, and the handsome creature appears to be equally fond of him.

Such is the command that this man has acquired over his horse, that a whip is unnecessary. He has only to walk a little in advance, when, after a kind word or two, and the simple pointing of the finger, the noble animal will draw his heavy burden, much more readily than those which are cruelly lashed with the whip.

Oh that more kind words were used in the management of horses, and fewer lashes of the whip! Horses, like human beings, are more easily drawn by kindness, than driven by cruelty.


Some months ago, I was passing a carpenter’s shop on the Great Saxham Estate, near Bury St. Edmund’s: a shower coming on induced me to step in a few minutes for shelter. Whilst there, a Robin-Redbreast flew in, perched on the workbench, and appeared very sociable with the carpenter, who was busily employed at his work. Seeing the bird so familiar, I inquired a little into the Robin’s first acquaintance.

Mr. Bridge, the carpenter, told me he first visited him last winter, when he frequently perched on his hand, and picked crumbs of bread from it whilst he was getting his meals in the shop, and though not quite so friendly during the summer, he would often perch on something in the shop and cheer him with his song. As the winter approached he renewed his old acquaintance, and hopped about so near the carpenter’s plane, that it required some care in preventing the pretty creature from being injured.

Having occasion to call again at the shop, I saw the little bird hopping on the tools close to the carpenter’s elbow. Mr. Bridge told me that he should be sorry indeed to be deprived of the company of the Robin, and would not have him killed or injured on any account.

H. B.

A Mother’s Lessons on Kindness to Animals – 1862

—Jeff Burks

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6 Responses to A Whip, or a Word

  1. Eric R says:

    The Golden Rule applies to animals as well as humans.
    Nice post.
    Thanks Jeff.

  2. Ed Clarke says:

    This reminds me of “Black Beauty” – a novel written in 1877 – that I just heard on audiobook a few months ago. Life was hard for both animals and “The Lower Classes” – both of which were treated like rental cars. Beat the crap out of them, it’s not your problem… and they’re easily replaced. There were a few people in the novel similar to the above posting though.

  3. This reminded me of an encounter I had in elementary school back in the 60’s. One of the students had a pet crow that he’d raised from infancy that flew freely. Since he lived close to the school we would ocassionally see the crow come on the school grounds where it would land on his shoulder or arm. As a young child those were impressive moments. Thanks for sharing !

  4. djdorn says:

    Nice story to read – thanks for posting it.

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