“Fool About a Horse”
Manuscript, page 1. Transcription follows image.
Page 1, Fool About a Horse Ms
William Faulkner Foundation Collection, 1918-1959, Accession #6074 to 6074-d, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections,
University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.   [Item Metadata: IA:12 Autograph manuscript. 10 p. (10 R, 0 V) on 10 l.]


Fool About a Horse

Suratt told this one too: – Suratt who sold or <swapped> traded (and it was said, gambled) sewing machines
against whatever the little lost hill cabins in our county contained to spare or swap – the meagre and
terrific hoards of nickels and dimes and quarters and worn dollar bills in buried baking powder cans, the
broken furniture and farm tools, the scrub male yearlings and the barbed wire fencing and the eggs;
– Suratt in his blue clean cravatless shirt and his bland shaven face who <years and years
ago> travelled the back country in a buckboard and who years and years ago traded the buckboard and
team for a ford but looked no older than when he had driven the buckboard and who not so many
years back (1930, to be exact) had swapped the ford for another buckboard and team (that is,
he had let the installment company have the current ford back and he had got the buckboard
out from under the shed where it had stood for 15 years because nobody else wanted a buckboard
either during that time) and still looked no older – the same blue shirt still faded and still clean
and still cravatless, the face still that of a shrewd and independent and happy child. He told this
one to my Grandfather, along with the others, the 3 of us – Grandfather and Suratt and I – sitting in the
office <where?> where Grandfather used to practice law until he turned the family practice over to father and
and the office <to talk or to listen in, like this> to keep the demijohn which he called his corpus juris
delendi, and the 2 gallon bottle of spring water which Roskus fetched each a.m. from Beard's Spring
3 miles from town because a few years ago Dr Peabody told Grandfather that he had <gallstones? and> kidney trouble
he would have to stop drinking, and so Grandfather stopped using the town water even with whiskey; and
to talk and listen in, like this – a hot summer afternoon with the square still and empty outside because
it was July and in the middle of the week and so the farmers who on Saturday would be in town with
[their ways?] were now in the fields laying-by, and the towns people – the ladies walking and in carriages –
would not come to town until it got cooler – the hot bright still afternoon with the mulberry leaves
before the front windows just blowing a little, and Grandfather <in his swivel chair with his feet on the
desk and his coat off and> lying on the couch
[margin: under the punkah]
with his coat off and his glazed shirt bulging and
Ruskus sitting in a chair by the door pulling the punkah cord and listening too and <Suratt sitting, not in
Grandfather's swivel chair but in the visitor's chair> sometimes Judge Benbow sitting in Grandfather's swivel
chair with his feet on the scarred place on the desk [illegible] that Grandfather's feet had made, and
Suratt sometimes sitting in the visitor's chair and sometimes standing up so he could use his arm to gesture
and sometimes squatting against the wall, and I sitting in the window where I could feel the breeze
from outside and the breeze from the punkah too; and the demijohn on the desk and Grandfather
and Judge Benbow with the two regular glasses and Suratt with the shaving mug and Roskus still holding
the water pitcher in one hand while he pulled the punkah with the other and listened, while Suratt told it,
this time about his father and while he (Suratt) was a boy in the country where he came from
[margin: (or where he happened to be at that time, because from what he told us from time to time he seemed to have
lived at a dozen different places before he left home for himself)
when his
father farmed some land
[margin: of Mr Anselm Holland]
on the 3rd and 4th; less about the time his father swapped horses with
<Jim Stamps> Pat Stamper, who travelled about the county with a war [illegible] camp equipment and
<traded horses>
[margin: played horses against horses]
as the fine gambler plays <poker: for the pleasure of beating rather than for gain> cards against cards: for
the pleasure of beating rather than for gain and assisted by a negro hostler who was an artist like a sculptor.

<: <<"Yes, sir – Suratt said – Pap was a fool about a horse. He even called hit that himself: [illegible]
how he would say hit>> Yes sir. Pap was a fool about a horse. He admitted it, he [illegible] waited for
Mammy to say hit first, or maybe that was one of the reasons why he said hit; to be saying it first, sitting on
the [illegible] Mammy in the door [illegible] at him and Pap with his feet crossed upon the porch
and his shoes off for dinner and maybe his thumbs inside his galluses
[margin: <and what hit was that he had traded for this time down in the lot for the neighbors to come after dinner and look at a while,>]
saying <<Yes, Mother, I was a fool
about a good horse.>> "Yes, Mother, I always was a fool about a good horse. "Hit aint no use in your
scolding about hit: you had [better?] thank you stars that when the Lord gin me the [illegible] and eye for a
horse, He gin me a little [judgment?] along with hit." And sho, I [illegible] while he was setting there [cooling?] his
feet off and waiting to eat dinner and then go back to the lot and sit on the fence while the neighbors