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At Dawson's Stables, where I was working during the summer, Melissa Chan came every morning to ride with me. We both rode American Saddlebreds, me on Gypsy and Melissa on Raven. They were our horses. Not rented. Not borrowed. Ours forever.
After the excitement of getting Melissa's father's racehorse back, which I did in The Mystery of the Missing Arabian, we settled into a quiet routine. I loved all the smells, leather, hay–and even the manure–around the barn. And I was learning a lot from Mr. Dawson, and from the new trainer, Sandy Pantine.
Nice and normal, no mysteries to solve. Not that I was hoping for one.
"I have a riddle for you, Alison," Melissa said as we got on the trail to the meadow. She had long, black hair that swung from her white helmet to about her shoulder blades as she rode. Today she wore a turquoise Dawson's Stables' tee-shirt. Wow, she looked even more beautiful than usual.
Me, I've got brown curly hair that does whatever it wants to. That's why I have it short. And I wear glasses. Turquoise is a good color for me, too, but it sure doesn't make me look as good as Melissa. We're both eleven–but in one month, I'll be having a birthday.
"Okay, shoot," I said. It was 7:00 A.M., cool and clear. We rode early because the girls who took lessons at Dawson's came at eight o'clock. Then I had to turn out the horses, clean tack and do other chores around the barn, some of it to do with manure.
"You're driving a bus with thirty-two passengers. At the first stop, five get on and six get off. At the next stop, eight get on and three get off. At the next stop one gets on. Ready for thequestion?"
"Sure," I said. I'm not a math whiz. I'm not any kind of a whiz.
"What is the color of the bus driver's eyes?"
"What!" Where did she get that question? "How am I supposed to figure that out?"
"Who's driving the bus?"
"I don't know."
"I said you were."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot."
"So the bus driver's eyes are brown."
"Cute, cute. Okay I have a question for you. How many people are on the bus?"
"You heard me." I smiled. I could get even.
"I wasn't keeping count. I just made up the numbers because it doesn't really matter." Her face crinkled like "who cares?"
"I remember all the numbers." I told her what they were.
"Thirty-seven," she said. It didn't take her as long as it did me.
"Wrong," I said, and looked at her, smiling.
"No, that's right if you gave me the same numbers."
"That's thirty-seven passengers. There are thirty-eight people on board. You didn't count the bus driver. Gotcha!"
"Oooh. That's almost as bad as my riddle."
We laughed as we rode along, making up stories about the people on the bus and what they looked like, why they got on and stuff like that.
Melissa had edged ahead of me on the narrow path. She's a really good rider, a natural, like she and Raven are one unit. So when her horse stopped suddenly, whinnied and started backing up, I was surprised.
I reined Gypsy in smartly, yelling, "Whoa." Not things I usually had to do at the same time. "What's wrong?"
"There's a rope across the path. Good thing Raven saw it and stopped."
"A rope?" There it was. Strung between the only two trees close to the path. I had to stare at it a few minutes before I believed my eyes.
"Let's go back. I'll tell Mr. Dawson."
Copyright © 2003 by Gay Toltl Kinman
Posted December 16, 2012
A huge bdroom with a circular bed with a poofy peppermint bedspread. Cristmas lights hang all year. There are many pillows thst look like candy there a hrsy bars now and laters snarties totsie pops and other pillows too! There is a 100 inch flat sceen with canys civering the black edge. A beautiful long couch lays tyere. Her walk in closet is ginormus and her windiws can see the entire kingdom. This is Princess Peppermint's favorite room.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.