When Candy was so very ill, the vet was in town and he came to look at her, but was unable to do anything. He admitted that it was suspicious, as he could not see any poisoned vegetation anywhere near the stables, and unlike the other horses, she was not greedy and seldom tried to eat while we were out on a ride. She was too much of a lady for that!
After she died the vet arranged for her to be collected and he did a basic autopsy on her. He couldn’t draw any conclusions, but he sent several samples to the veterinary laboratories in Ondersterpoort, the primary research facility in South Africa. We never received a reply.
After that there were no more deaths, but to this day I shall never know what caused them. Did the local witch doctor take revenge? Was it just a co-incidence? Was it Hardstone, whom you may remember I never trusted. I’ll never forget how he laughed when Kojak got ill. He’d been my first stable hand and I don’t think that he was too pleased when I took more guys on, though it certainly shared the workload.
I always paid my staff weekly, that way, under the law I could give them a week’s notice and a week’s pay if they were stealing or beating the animals or for whatever reason. Most of the lads had been with me for some time, and everyone was paid on a Saturday evening. Sadly that meant that I would have to feed the horses and muck out on a Sunday and tack them up for the customers. All the guys were still badly hung over or had not found their way back home. All except Beehive. He’d never had the spare money to go drinking and he was not going to start now. So I guess the others were jealous of him. But he was my most reliable worker.
But sadly I was to lose him and I never even saw it coming.