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billy walker – patanio – pride of the plains lyrics


you look at the picture with a wondering eye
and then at the arrow that’s hanging close by
say tell a story as there’s one i know
of a horse i once owned down in new mexico

he was swift as an antelope and black as a crow
with a star on his forehead as white as the snow
his arched neck was hidden by a long flowing mane
and they called him patanio the pride of the plains

the country was new then the settlers were scarce
the indians on the warpath were savage and fierce
scouts were sent out everyday from the post
but they never came back so we knew they were lost

one day the captain said someone must go
for help to the border of new mexico
a dozen brave fellows straight way answered here
but the captain he spied me and said son come here

patanio beside me his nose in my hand
said the captain your horse is the best in the land
you’re good for this ride you’re the lightest man here
on the back of that mustang you’ve nothing to fear

i’m proud of my horse sir i answered you know
patanio and i are both willing to go
they all shook my hand as i mounted the black
patanio sped forward and i gave him his slack

for eighty long miles over the plains we must go
for help to the border of new mexico
the black struck a trot and he kept it all night
till just as the east was beginning to light

when back from behind me there came a fierce yell
we knew that the redskins were hot on our trail
i rose up and jingled the bells on his rein
and i stoked his neck softly and i called him by name

he answered my touch with a toss of his head
and his black body lengthened as onward he sped
the arrows fell round me like showers of rain
when in my left leg oh i felt a sharp pain

the red blood was flowing from patanio’s side
but he never once shortened his powerful stride
patanio poor fellow i knew he was hurt
but still he dashed onward and on to the fort

by good care patanio and i were soon well
of his death long years after it hurts me to tell
they write songs about him the cowboys still sing
the legend lives on of his long flowing mane

so look at the arrow that hangs on the wall
it was shot through my leg boot stirrup and all
on many fine horses i’ve since drawn the reins
but none like patanio the pride of the plains