After a time, they got back into the path again, and, going on a little farther, they came down to the margin of the brook. They found that it was “up,” as Jonas had feared. At the place where the path went down and crossed the brook, a deep cut had been worn in the two opposite banks, and this was filled with water, and above and below the stream rushed on in a torrent. Jonas hesitated a moment, and then asked Rollo if he thought he could hold on, while they we’re riding through. Rollo said he was afraid it was so deep as to drown them. Jonas then said that he might get off and stand upon a rock by the side of the path, while he rode through, first, to see how it was, and that then he would come back for him.
So Rollo got off, in fear and trembling, and stood on the rock, while Jonas urged his horse into the water. Old Trumpeter did not much like this kind of travelling, but Jonas half persuaded and half compelled him to go through. When he was in the middle, the water came up so high, that Jonas was obliged to lift up his feet to keep them from being wet. Presently, however, it became more shoal, as the horse walked slowly along; and at last he fairly reached the dry ground, and stood dripping on the bank.
Rollo was glad to see that the water was no deeper, but was still afraid to go over. He told Jonas he could not go over I here, and that he must go back with him.
“No,” said Jonas, “that would not be right.”
“Why,” said Rollo, “we can ride fast, and overtake them.”
“Not very soon,” said Jonas. “If we go back now, they will get to the mill before us, and then will be very anxious and unhappy, thinking that something has happened to us; and perhaps your father will come through here after us. Now it was your own plan, coming across here, and you ought not to make other people suffer by it. Your father advised you not to come.”
“I know it,” said Rollo; “what a foolish boy I was! I shall certainly be drowned.”
“O no,” said Jonas, “there is no real danger, or I should not make you go;” and so saying, he came back slowly through the water. “See,” said he, “it is not very deep.”
After some further persuasion Rollo got on behind him, and they began to in make their way slowly through the water again. Old Trumpeter staggered along, but not very unsteadily on the whole, until he got a little past the middle, when he blundered upon a stone on the bottom, which he could not see, and fell down on his knees. Jonas caught up his feet, in an instant, and Rollo had his already drawn up behind him, and they both grasped the saddle convulsively. The horse happened to regain his feet again in a moment, so that they contrived to hold on; and in a few minutes they were drawn out safely upon the shore, without even getting their feet wet.
“Well, Old Trumpeter,” said Jonas, “you have done pretty well for you, and you have got the mire washed off your legs, at any rate. But, Rollo, what is that?”