The pain is excruciating. The muscles in his back ache with exhaustion, his flanks are sore with blisters, and his legs tremble as though about to give way. Bent under the weight of the sacks he cannot lift his hooves, but shuffles forward as though his feet were chained together.
Lord! will this suffering never end?
Yesterday, what a chance! An apprentice was loading him, the new one, and he almost overdid it, almost broke his back. He quivered in anticipation, feeling load pile on load, knowing death was a few handfuls away, craving its release. One more straw would have done it!
Then the foreman came and stopped the boy, cuffed him on the ear, told him to be more careful.
And to think he was so close.