This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
A remarkable instance of a horse saving human life occurred some years ago at the Cape of Good Hope. A storm was raging, when a vessel, dragging her anchors, was driven on the rocks, and speedily dashed to pieces. Many of those on board perished. The remainder were seen clinging to the wreck, or holding on to the fragments which were washing to and fro amid the breakers. No boat could put off. When all hope had gone of saving the unfortunate people, a settler, somewhat advanced in life, appeared on horseback on the shore. His horse was a bold and strong animal, and noted for excelling as a swimmer. The farmer, moved with compassion for the unfortunate seamen, resolved to attempt saving them. Fixing himself firmly in the saddle, he pushed into the midst of the breakers. At first both horse and rider disappeared; but soon they were soon buffeting the waves, and swimming towards the wreck. Calling two of the seamen, he told them to hold on by his boots; then turning his horse’s head, he brought them safely to land.
No less than seven times did he repeat this dangerous exploit, thus saving fourteen lives. For the eighth time he plunged in, when, encountering a formidable wave, the brave man lost his balance, and was instantly overwhelmed. The horse swam safely to shore; but his gallant rider, alas! was no more.
It is sinful uselessly to run even a slight risk of losing life; but when, on any occasion, need arises for saving the lives of our fellow-creatures, we should be willing to dare the greatest dangers in making such an effort. The fate of the brave farmer must not deter us—nor should any failure of others—from doing what is only our duty.