The Three Muleteers invite you in to their world of long eared ponderings and experiences of everyday life as mules that own humans living in the UK. The gang are Callie the riding mule, The Mini a handsome miniature mule whose small stature belies his huge personality and Ro-Land the honorary long ear who is really a shetland pony. They are joined on their adventures by the humans they own and their conspirator Catanian (aka Diesel the crazy cat).
Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK where
we remember those who have lost their lives in conflict throughout the
Here in the Muleteer Household we
make a special effort to remember our long eared brothers and sisters who had
We hope today that you too will remember them, they fought on all sides; without nationality or religion and have lost their lives in many conflicts. Still used today in conflicts such as
Afghanistan we can only hope that humans can one day resolve their differences,
learning some lessons from our noble friends the donkey, horse and mule would
be a good start.
offer you a special insight in to the life of a war mule all those years ago
enduring life in World War One.
Molly The War Mule
From the moment I could walk I knew I was
different, destined for big things! A bit like my big ears really…. My Mom was
a heavy old mare and my Dad was never to be seen but I think he gave me my
mulificent ears. When I was young I was
always looking for the next big adventure, waiting to see what was for me
outside of my Missouri pasture.
Apparently I had a job to look forward to! Little did I know….
The day came when I was just three years
old that I was pronounced ‘Fit for Work’ I was soo excited, loads of my pals
were also told they were ready too.
Ready for an adventure….. ready for hell.
We were all moved to a place that smelled
of water and fish, not of manure and hay.
Funny work for a mule? I’d always
thought I’d work pulling a cart of hay or maybe get to carry one of the two leg
variety… it was not to be. It seems that
the two legs of the world had been having some disagreements (typical two legs)
and needed the help of us mules to help one of the sides win the argument. That’s when my nightmare began.
After a while waiting at the docks while
all these other long ears (and short ears) arrived I started to hear about
something called War, not a concept us mules understood. Eventually it was our gang’s turn to go on
our adventure. We were being put in to a
floating barn, something called a ship.
Sounded kinda cool to my young ears back then. What I didn’t realise is that my feet could
not carry me in to the floating barn, rather I had to be put on board using a
giant haynet (except there was no hay).
It was not nice, some of the short ears panicked a lot at the net and
one of my friends cracked his leg, it was awful he couldn’t get up so the two
legs took us all away and then we heard a bang, we never saw him again.
The floating barn moved, it rolled and
smelt and it felt like the land was moving, apparently we were sailing whatever
that was, sailing to a far away land…. Maybe they would have sweet hay and oats
and the two legs would love my long ears and ask me to pull a pretty
carriage? After days of sailing I soon realised I was wrong.
Eventually the floating barn stopped
moving, the two legs said we had arrived.
There were all kinds of noises outside, my long ears picked up noises I
did not like, there were thuds and bangs and worst of all there were the sounds
of long ears in pain…. The floating barn did not seem so bad now, maybe I could
stay here a while longer?
But it wasn’t to be, I was dragged out of
the floating barn in to what can only be described as hell.
There was noise and movement everywhere,
lots of two legs rushed around us and poked and prodded and decided what work
we would do. I was horrified, the short
ears were selected for cavalry duty while we long ears got cargo duty. Maybe it will be a carriage I pull?
To get us ready for work the two legs
tested out our education; could we pull, carry, have our hooves shod and behave? We could, but what about them? Some of them could barely look at me without
shaking with fear, they called these two legs the City Boys, apparently they
didn’t know mules well and were scared of us.
I was a good Molly though and showed how hard I could work. They said I was ready for work, they clipped
my coat to stop me catching lice but oh my goodness I was so cold, there were
no blankets and it was nearly winter.
And then I went off to work. I was put with a gang of long ears and it was
our job to haul and pull and pull some more.
I didn’t mind hard work, for I am a mule. But I did mind what happened next.
I was sent to the trenches, great pits of
mud and blood, wire and metal, noise and despair. I was sent to hell. There were two legs everywhere, many were
thin and bloodied, gaunt and grieving, confused and hopeless. We were all there because of the arguments of
their ‘leaders’; I never did understand what makes humans such a destructive
My days in those trenches all blur in to
one; days of pulling carts, gun and sleds through mud so deep and thick that it
reached my elbows and I frequently got stuck.
I tried to pull and pull, I was not afraid of hard work, for I am a
mule. I never forget the day that my pal
that I pulled with got so stuck that he just couldn’t move, he tried and I
pulled with all my might but the mud was like glue, eventually he stopped
trying, exhausted. He gave in. The two legs said we had to go, we had to leave
him, so they took me away and the last thing I heard was yet another bang. He was my friend.
The bangs and blasts happened every
day. There did not seem to be an hour that
passed without those devil guns exploding around us, and the devil’s work they
were. Some of my friends were blown to
pieces by those bangs or injured by the metal they slung in the air. I learnt early on that the best thing to do
was stand, frozen still when the bangs went off, my shorter eared friends
panicked more and often injured themselves in their blind panic. They even made us carry
those devil guns, so that they could blow up my friends that the other two legs
used. That was not OK.
The nights were as bad as the days. Quieter but awful for other reasons. It was so cold and although we were exhausted
to lie down meant lying in thick, putrid mud, no easement for aching bones. We
were hungry too. There were few rations
for any of us; man or mule. Our meagre
rations of mouldy hay and a tiny handful of oats barely filled us for an hour
or two before we were hungry again. Us
mules fared better than our short eared friends. We could eat twigs and bushes and somehow
stay from getting too thin. Our short
eared friends turned in to monstrous skeletons before our eyes, they could not
cope with the hard work, the cold and no food.
For once they wished they were a mule.
It became winter and was so very cold. Our coats had been clipped away, no sparse
mane or wintry fluff to drive away the cold, just freezing rain with
no shelter, no protection and no respite. It was miserable. Often times we would wake from our standing
exhaustion to find icicles in our tails and one of our friends fallen to the
ground never to stand. It was hard.
The humans suffered too. They were hungry, cold, scared and grieved
just like we did for our fallen friends.
I had a two leg friend, his name was Harry. He was kind to me and did not laugh at my voice
or ears and whispered about his hopes and fears to me; he told me about the
green grass of England and how he hoped one day we would walk on it
together. He scratched my ears and we
shared what meagre biscuits he had. Strange friends perhaps, but friends we
Every day I worked with Harry, when things
got tougher he would whisper at me “please Molly, for me, try a little
harder”. He would try to protect me from
some of the other two legs who would beat me and prod me and push me to make me
try more, I was already exhausted but try I did, for I am a mule.
Mules stuck in mud - WWI, Ref 1
The days drew on and I dreamt of the dusty
pastures of my youth, what was once boring and unwanted now seemed like
heaven. My days passed by, always with this
daydream. I became weaker, I knew I could not carry on much longer. I tried, I tried for Harry but one day I fell
and I could not get up. It was enough,
I’d had enough. I lay my head down in
the stinking mud and dreamt of Missouri, of the land of my mother and I
breathed deeply and left hell to take the journey to heaven over the Rainbow
Bridge. Now I sleep on soft straw beds
and I eat sweet hay and oats and I have never again heard another of the
For I was a war mule and I served you. Please on this day of remembrance remember me
and remember my brothers and sisters, for we were war mules and we served you
well. We had no choice.
Remember me, I was a war mule
Remember me, I toiled for you
Remember me, I was starved and frozen
Remember me, I pulled and carried
Remember me, I was hungry and thirsty
Remember me, I was loyal and endured
Remember me, I was beaten and mocked
Remember me, I was your friend
Remember me, I had no choice
Animals In War Memorial: Hyde Park, London
For more general information about mules and horses in war please see our post here: We Will Remember