It was 1850, and the old widower had just married a young bride. They left the church for home in a wagon pulled by a mule. Within a couple of minutes, the mule stumbled.
“That’s once,” said the groom. His bride didn’t understand what he meant, but being young and shy she did not ask about it.
A few minutes later, the mule stumbled again. “That’s twice,” the old man said. His new wife was even more curious than before, but she still held her tongue.
Just as they pulled to within view of the old farmhouse that would become their home, the mule stumbled again. “That’s three times,” the farmer said. He reached under the seat and pulled out a shotgun. He then climbed down from the wagon and shot the mule dead.
Horrified, his wife could no longer stay quiet. “What in the world are you doing? Why would you shoot that poor mule for stumbling?”
The old man turned and looked at his bride and said. “that’s once.”