Gallant Little Michael

The ponies were sinking half-way to the hock, and Michael once or twice almost to the hock itself. A highly strung, spirited animal, his off days took the form of fidgets, during which he would be constantly trying to stop and eat snow, and then rush forward to catch up to the other ponies. Life was a constant source of wonder to him, and no movement in the camp escaped his notice. Before we had been long on the Barrier he developed mischievous habits and became a rope eater and gnawer of other ponies’ fringes, as we called the coloured tassels we hung over their eyes to ward off snow-blindness. However, he was by no means the only culprit, and he lost his own fringe to Nobby quite early in the proceedings. It was not that he was hungry, for he never quite finished his own feed. At any rate he enjoyed the few weeks before he died, pricking his ears and getting quite excited when anything happened, and the arrival of the dog-teams each morning after he had been tethered sent him to bed with much to dream of. And I must say his master dreamed pretty regularly too. Michael was killed right in front of the Gateway on December 4, just before the big blizzard, which, though we did not know it, was on the point of breaking upon us, and he was untying his cloth and chewing up everything he could reach to the last. “It was decided after we camped, and he had his feed already on! Meares reported that he had no more food for the dogs. He walked away, and rolled in the snow on the way down, not having done so when we got in. He was just like a naughty child all the way, and pulled all out. He has been a good friend, and has a good record, 82 deg. 23’ S. He was a bit done today: the blizzard had knocked him. Gallant Little Michael!” (213)

 

The Worst Journey In The World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard