Pony Book Advent Calendar: December 21st, 2013

I had to get Jill in here somewhere, and here she is, at her first Christmas in Chatton. Earlier in Jill's Gymkhana, from which the illustration and extract come, Jill walks some children to school, for which she's paid. Mrs Crewe doesn't approve of Jill being paid for this at all - she's allowed to accept an apple or some sweets, but that's it. Jill's devastated, as she'd planned on using the money to feed Black Boy during the winter.

Now I'm older, I must admit I do wonder what those parents who paid Jill must have thought when their payments were returned. I like to think that they sympathised with her efforts to keep her pony, and I'm glad they gave Jill something splendid for Christmas which her mother couldn't reject.

"The magnificent thing was soon revealed, a lovely dark-blue pony rug bound round with scarlet. I was speechless. It was Mummy who picked up the card and read aloud, "To Jill Crewe, with many thanks, from the mothers of Jennifer, Angela, Jane and Elizabeth..... Of course the first thing I did was to rush off to try the rug on Black Boy. He looked wonderful with it on, and exactly like a blood pony, and he arched his neck and bucked a bit, just showing off because he knew how nice he looked; so I walked him up and down in front of the cottage windows and Mummy and Martin waved approval. 
After getting all these wonderful presents, especially the horsy ones that I hadn't expected, I think you will agree with me that it was a very nice Christmas."

You can read more about Ruby Ferguson here

Read more about the pony book in Heroines on Horsebackmy survey of the world of the pony book from the 1930s onwards. Jill gets a whole chapter to herself. You can buy a signed copy from me (I'll post them worldwide). The book's also available from the usual sources, or your local bookshop.


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