An original is a horse that's only ""half cut"" -- i.e. gelded, so that presumably he works well and can perform on the side. Like Jelm, the eldest of a clutch of children who from the time he is five is hard laboring in the barns and the woods and the fields and later hired out. His father's a rare one all right and after he's heard saying ""I'm going to work you so God damn hard, you're going to cry for a chance to sit down and you won't get that thing between your legs up for a month"" Jelm leaves home, goes to do chores and other things for the widow Sary Dawkin until he drops dead. An aneurysm. The time is the turn of the century and Mr. Smith tells his story with a callus-hard realism, or rather naturalism not much above ordinariness, which likens it to the life it reflects but in no fashion extends.