Down on the farm when I was but a lad,
At a young age I had to help my dad
Plant cabbage and corn, tomatoes and such;
To be quite frank, I didn't like it much.

When I was ten Dad bought me a new mule
So I could help him plow right after school.
My daddy said, "Son, I will show you how
To hitch up that mule to a walking plow.

To plow is easy and you will soon know
It's just a matter of gee, haw, and whoa.
Just walk behind and hold the handles up,
Tap her flank lightly and say, 'Mule, getup.'

Say 'Haw' to turn left, to the right say 'Gee';
It's really as simple as A, B, C.
When you have plowed to the end of the row,
Pull back on the reins and say 'Whoa, mule, whoa'."

I thought that job would surely be no toil,
So I hurried from school to till the soil.
But I soon learned and haven't forgotten
There was more to it than picking cotton.

I shouted "Stop!" at the end of the row,
But that stubborn mule continued to go.
I whupped her flank and yelled "Oh, please, mule, stop!"
But she paid no heed and started to trot.

She plowed right through the patch of turnip greens,
Then took off like lightning through Mom's pole beans.
She kept on going 'til she reached the fence;
I said, "Stop now, mule, if you have good sense."

When my daddy saw the fix I was in,
He hollered, "Whoa, mule," with his face agrin.
He said, "Now, son, remember what I say,
And you will have learned a lesson today.

There's much can be said 'bout the stubborn mule,
And I can tell you this, she ain't no fool.
When you talk to her use a mule's lingo --
If you want her to stop, you must say whoa."

Copyright 1995 Ruth Gillis

"Whoa, Mule" was first published in the November 1995 issue of Chicken Soup.


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