In my grandparents’ time just, about everybody in our parts raised a large garden or even two or three gardens, to raise food for the family table. Some of the neighbors had 10 or 12 kids, and really needed a big garden to help out with the family meals.
In order to work a big garden, you really needed a good work mule to pull the plow and sled. A good work mule made it a lot easier to work the ground and to haul in the crop.
When you needed a mule it was the usual thing to go to the Isom Stock Sale on Saturday or Sunday to find one. It was a kind of country flea market and stock sale all together. Traders from all over came to buy, sale or trade just about everything you could think of. Some of them were as honest as could be, but some were as crooked as a fishhook.
One spring, Grandpa’s brother, Caleb, found himself without a work mule, and it was getting close to garden time. He wasn’t only without a mule, he was also just about out of money. But he scraped together what little he had and went to the Isom Stock Sale to try and find a work mule.
He went all through the sale looking but couldn’t find one single mule anywhere near the price he was able to pay. Finally, a produce dealer overheard Caleb trying to deal for a mule. He told Caleb that since he didn’t have any money for a mule, he would sell him a mule egg really cheap and he could hatch out his own mule.
Caleb wasn’t really the sharpest axe in the woodshed, so he agreed. The trader picked out a really large coconut and told Caleb it would soon hatch out a fine mule. Caleb paid him and headed home.