176 At the Back of the North Wind
combed his mane thoroughly. Then he pushed himself on to his back, and did his shoulders as far down as he could reach. Then he sat on his croup, and did his back and sides; then he turned round like a monkey, and attacked his hind-quarters, and combed his tail. This last was not so easy to manage, for he had to lift it up, and every now and then old Diamond would whisk it out of his hands, and once he sent the comb flying out of the stable-door, to the great amusement of the men. But Jack fetched it again, and Diamond began once more, and did not leave off till he had done the whole business fairly well, if not in a first-rate, experienced fashion. All the time the old horse went on eating his hay, and, but with an occasional whisk of his tail when Diamond tickled or scratched him, took no notice of the proceeding. But that was all a pretence, for he knew very well who it was that was perched on his back, and rubbing away at him with the comb and the brush. So he was quite pleased and proud, and perhaps said to himself something like this,—
" I'm a stupid old horse, who can't brush his own coat; but there's my young godson on my back, cleaning me like an angel."
I won't vouch for what the old horse was thinking, for it is very difficult to find out what any old horse is thinking.
"Oh dear!" said Diamond when he had done, "I'm so tired!"
And he laid himself down at full length on old Diamond's back.