Grandpap Mugg's Nag

Damon Runyon

When you come to figure it out, there is plenty of larceny in this old world, one way and another, and an honest man is entitled to no little credit.

Such a man is my Grandpap Mugg. In fact, all the Muggs are honest men, but many are more honest than somewhat. Such a man is my Grandpap Mugg.

He is a square shooter from taw in every respect, and is trusted as much as any citizen of my old home town out West, although, of course, no citizen is trusted any more than is absolutely necessary.

Whenever disputes come up as to whether such-and-such a proposition is on the level, they always leave the answer to my Grandpap Mugg, because they know he will settle them on the up-and-up, if possible, and in a manner which will be fair to one and all, especially his friends.

Some of our citizens are in favor of calling him Honest Jake Mugg, and the chances are it will be his name, only other citizens figure that maybe this will be going too far. But, anyway, my Grandpap Mugg is considered an honest man, and is pointed out to strangers as such as he goes along the street.

To show you how honest he is, I will now tell you about the time he races his quarter horse, Hickory Dick, against the Mexicans over in Old Town, and how he keeps these Mexicans from getting slicked by some bad characters in my old home town, who are anything but honest.

This Hickory Dick horse which belongs to my Grandpap Mugg can step a quarter of a mile very fast, indeed, although any farther than that it cannot beat a fat man up hill.

In fact, it is considered the fastest thing on four legs over a quarter of a mile in my part of the country, except by these Mexicans in Old Town, who have a quarter horse of their own, which they think is very fast.

This Old Town is a Mexican settlement which is part of my home town except at election time, and is filled with nothing but Mexicans, who are great hands to gamble on any proposition, including rooster fighting, keno and horse racing.

There is several hundred dollars around the settlement, and my Grandpap Mugg gets to thinking it over, and he comes to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to take this dough away from there, because everybody knows it is a bad thing for a Mexican to have too much money.

So he scratches around and finally matches Hickory Dick against the Mexicans’ horse for two hundred bucks a side, and you will be surprised at the excitement this matter caused in my old home town, and among the Mexicans, too.

There is plenty of betting on the result before the race comes off, and quite a few fights between our citizens and the Mexicans, and on the day of the race there is a very large crowd present to see what is what.

Well, of course, my Grandpap Mugg is no sucker, and a couple of days before the race he goes around, and he finds out that some black characters in my home town are trying to outsmart the Mexicans. He finds out that to make sure Hickory Dick wins the race they bribe the guy who is going to ride the Mexicans’ horse to give it a few yanks now and then, so there will be no chance for it to beat Hickory Dick.

Well, being an honest man, my Grandpap Mugg does not favor such business, so what does he do but figure a way of crossing these bad characters up some. He gives the Mexicans a cockle burr to stick in under the saddle blankets on their horse, and, furthermore, he instructs little Pete Bogan, the blacksmith’s son, who rides Hickory Dick, to pull old Dick some himself.

Furthermore, my Grandpap Mugg knows Hickory cannot beat this Mexican horse anyway, because before he makes the match he has a guy out with a clock on the Mexican horse, and knows it can walk a quarter of a mile faster than Hickory can run it.

So there is not much chance of Hickory Dick winning the race, and the surprising part is he comes as close as he does when the horses finish, which is about eighty yards. Between the cockle burr under his saddle blanket and Hickory Dick under a big pull, the Mexican horse just rolls in, no matter how hard its rider yanks.

So, you see, it costs my Grandpap Mugg two hundred bucks to be an honest man, or, at least, it will cost him that much, which is the size of the side bet, if he does not have sense enough to have another guy bet a thousand bucks for him on the Mexican horse.

Of course, there is some talk about the proposition afterwards in my home town, especially among the bad characters, but the better element agree that it is certainly a big sacrifice on the part of my Grandpap Mugg, and pretty smart, too, when you come to think of it.