Back in pioneering days a pious old farmer had a sturdy Clydesdale plough-horse which he named Elijah. He’d trained Elijah to start when he said, “Praise the Lord,” and to stop when he said, “Amen.”
Toward the end of its working life, the horse was almost blind, a fact not fully appreciated by the old farmer.
One evening, about this time, he was riding Elijah home after a hard day’s work in the paddocks. Believing the horse would find its own way, he let fall the reins and shut his eyes: the better to pray and meditate.
When he opened them again a short time later, however, he was horrified to find the horse had taken a wrong turn and was plodding steadily toward the edge of a deep gully only a few metres away.
Instinctively, the old farmer shouted, “Whoa!” but this had no effect on Elijah. Then he remembered this horse only responded to religious language, but he was so unnerved by the precipice right before him that for a second or two he could not think what to say.
Suddenly, it came to him. “Amen!” he shouted and the horse stopped instantly with one enormous front hoof poised over the chasm.
The old farmer wiped the perspiration from his brow and was so relieved that the horse had halted in the very nick of time, he exclaimed loudly, “Praise the Lord!”