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When Washington rode to the mill, the bags of corn he carried often shifted their weight on the horse and fell off because they were unbalanced. As he was just a small boy, Washington would fall off the horse with the corn. Unfortunately, he wasn't strong enough to hoist the corn back up and was forced to wait for the random traveler. This delay would find him traveling home through the forest during the night, something that frightened him. He'd been told that the woods were home to army deserters, and that the first thing they'd do if they found a black boy was cut off his ears. In addition to the fear of deserters, he was also aware that his lateness would afford him a scolding (at best) or a flogging.
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