Horse Eggs?

(taken from Robert MICHIE's History)


Robert MICHIE, was born at a place called Rubislaw near Aberdeen, Scotland, 29 February, 1820, "Leap year Day." (With his blue eyes twinking, he liked to remind people that since he hadn't had as many birthdays as others born that same year, he was younger than the rest of them.) His father was a farm laborer and his mother, likewise, a farmhouse servant, so he was raised in humble circumstances. There were six children in the family, Robert being second oldest.

Like the other Scottish children of his time, he was sent to school at the age of four years and early learned to read and spell. He took pleasure in being at the head of his class in both subjects, a position which he nearly always kept until he was eight years old. That was when he was hired out during the summer to herd cows from May 26th till November 22nd. He went back to school during the winter. That became his yearly schedule - school from November 22nd until February 2nd; then hired out to a farm until November 22nd, then back to school for a few months. This continued till he was a young teenager. Then he stopped going to school and worked as a full-time farm hand. He hired out to various farms, sometimes several years in one place, mostly tending cattle, and all other kinds of work on farms until he was 21 years old.

Young farm workers, such as Robert, got their meals, a place to sleep and a very meager wage from the farm owners. They seldom got more than oatmeal porridge for breakfast as eggs were a luxury kept for the farmer and his family. Robert, with another farmhand, thought they should have eggs now and then. They also knew that the only way they would get one would be if it wasn't fit for the family to eat. How could they make an egg unfit for the family to eat, but fit enough for them?

Early in the morning, before the kitchen maid gathered the eggs, the boys took a few out of the nests. With a fine wire Robert pierced a tiny hole in the end of them and inserted a hair from a horse's mane, then put them back. No one noticed the small hole, but when the cook broke an egg and discovered the hair she was thoroughly amazed! How could a horsehair get inside an egg? She showed the boys, who were in the kitchen eating, and asked them if they had ever seen such a thing. Of course, they said they hadn't, and pretended to be as amazed as she was. She could not figure it out. She knew she couldn't serve such an egg to the family, but it would be quite all right for the farmhands. She removed the hair, cooked them up, and served them to Robert and the others. They, of course, loved every bite of the "horse eggs."

They didn't dare do this every day, of course, but when they had a strong hunger for eggs again, "horse eggs" would show up in the egg basket. Many years later, after Robert had his own family and lived in Utah, he pulled this same trick on his neighbors and had a lot of fun watching people's astonishment when they found a hair in an egg. He was also quietly entertained with their efforts to solve the mystery. One person said, "It's beyond the comprehension of man."

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Some editorial license was used in telling this story. If you would like to read the unedited version, you may go to Robert's history. ~Venita


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