You might think that a bandit’s life is a hard life and you would be right. No one wants to give a bandit a job, no one wants a bandit to marry their daughter and no one wants a bandit for a neighbour. And so the bandits in this territory roamed from forest to mountain to swamp and hill looking for the end of their lives, for as everybody knows, there is no such thing as an old brigand. One or two might escape the life of a bandit and become an ordinary burglar, or a tax collector, or maybe go into the priesthood, but in the main, the ordinary bandit was a bandit because he could not abide a normal life.
The leader of the three mustachio’d bandits was considering retiring in a year or so, once he had enough loot to set up a small tax collecting office in Ajaccio. He was pleased with the new horse. He would trade it, he thought, it was not a mountain horse so would be no good in the terrain where he currently did most of his business.
The other two bandits were younger and still full of fire, keen to fill their secret hideouts with booty. They were pleased with the fine saddle and other items strapped to the horse and were busy working out what prices they could get and how that would divide up, and how much more they would get once they had killed their leader and taken his share.
The leader knew what they were thinking because they were bandits and he had been as young as them once and had done the same thing many times, but he had a plan, and he would be ready.
They were not ready when Mandorlinfiore blew on his horn. The horses threw the three mustachio’d bandits onto the ground and turned about and galloped back up the mountain as fast as they could go. The three bandits fell and rolled down the steep mountainside until they came hard up against a huge boulder and all the wind was knocked out of them.
They struggled and fought to their feet and looked all around for their mounts, but they were not to be seen anywhere. It took them some time to regain the road and when they did it was apparent that their horses had ventured higher into the mountains.
‘We must follow them and get them back,’ said the leader, ‘and kill the horse thief that took ‘em!’
‘Aye!’ cheered his compatriots, and together they set off on foot, swords drawn.