The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Tale of the Circuit Riding Preacher

By Jerry L. Crain © 1987

Issue: March, 1987

Faithfully for several years the Methodist preacher covered his circuit upon the back of his faithful horse. Through all kinds of weather, year after year, the horse had carried the preacher over rugged mountain terrain.

But now the years of service were beginning to show on the preacher's horse, and the preacher knew he would need to find a replacement soon.

A short time later the preacher found a horse and mule trader in a small valley town. There he inquired as to the availability of a new horse. "As a matter of fact I do have just the horse for you," the trader replied. Walking over to the corral the old trader showed the preacher a fine looking, well cared for animal. "This young horse until recently was owned by a young Pentecostal preacher just over the mountain there. He passed away unexpectantly recently and I purchased this fine animal from his widow."

"As soon as I can find a good home for my horse, I'll be back to get him," the preacher said.

A few days later the preacher walked into the trader's office and inquired to see if the former preacher's horse was still available. Giving the preacher an affirmative reply, the two men walked out to the corral. Leading the horse out to his new owner the trader said, "Before I forget to tell you parson, this horse has been trained to respond to religious commands instead of the usual ones. To make him stop, you say Amen. To make him go, you say, Praise the Lord, instead of whoa and giddy up."

Upon concluding the purchase, the preacher mounted his new horse and rode off towards the mountains. Late the next afternoon, a thunderstorm suddenly came over the mountains. A bolt of lightning struck the ground near the trail where the horse was carrying the preacher. Spooked by the lightning, the horse bolted and ran as fast as the wind, with the preacher pulling as hard on the reins as he could and yelling whoa as loud as he possibly could.

In the midst of all this confusion, the old preacher remembered the correct commands, and yelled out, AMEN, just as the horse slid to a stop at the top of a bluff, with a sharp drop off. Settling back into the saddle, he took out his handkerchief, wiped the rain from his brow. And looking up towards heaven said, "Praise the Lord!" Upon hearing that the horse....