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Julie loved ponies. Her room was filled with them. She read Misty of Chincoteague over and over again.On the Dairy farm where she lived, there were cows and chickens, but no ponies. Sometimes she would visit her friend Sharon's horse, Shanti. She loved his soft muzzle and the way he breathed on her hand. He was gentle and took her wherever she asked him to go. But she longed for a pony of her own.
Julie knew that every July there was a pony auction on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. After a while, she finally convinced her parents that she could earn enough money to buy one of the famous ponies. Maybe there would be one that no one else wanted, or one that didn't cost too much. Julie raked leaves, Fed the Chickens, and babysat her cousins. She made a new home for her pony.
At last it was July. While Dad stayed home to take care of the farm, Julie and her mother drove to Chincoteague Island for Pony Penning Day. As they Chrossed the bridge to Chincoteague, they could see nearby Assateague Island, where the ponies run free.
Many, Many years ago, as Spanish galleon was said to have been shipwrecked off Assateague Island. It spilled its cargo of ponies into the sea. The ponies swam ashore and survived on the island. The ponies learned to live on the island through all the seasons. They grew strong and beautiful, and new babies were born every year. But soon there were too many ponies and not enough food.
So every summer, the fire department of Chincoteague Island holds a roundup of the pony herd on Assateague. Fire department volunteers, known as "saltwater cowboys," swim some of the ponies across a narrow channel from Assateague to Chincoteague. Then the cowboys carefully guide the ponies to the fairgrounds in town.
The evening before the auction, Julie and her mother went to the pens at the fair grounds and looked at all the ponies. Julie felt as if her heart would burst, the ponies were all so beautiful. A black-and-white filly came over and looked at Julie. "If you were mine," whispered Julie, "I would call you Dream... Painted dream
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