Death of the Rag Man’s Mule

The hottest part of August, my sister and I walked the mile to the A&W for a half-gallon of root beer. On the way home, we came across the rag man throwing bits of his wares from the gutter back into his cart. We stopped to help. Suddenly his mule collapsed in harness, legs folding under, rolling slowly against the shaft. The rag man rushed to the fallen animal. Lifting her nose, he whispered endearments, unstrapping her as she lay dying. When it was all over, he came to sit with us on the curb. I opened the root beer.

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