“I think he’s pulling thorns out of its neck,” you say. “Or maybe splinters. They’re probably making it irritable.”
“With his teeth?” the smith asks incredulously.
“Well, he’s gotta keep the neck in place, which pretty clearly takes both hands. Even if he had better tools, he wouldn’t be able to carry them. That’s how it looks to me, anyways.”
Long spits out something, then leans in again and repeats. After that, he leads the beast over.
“All right, you can go join your friends here now,” he says to the beast. He looks worn out. “Now I suppose I’ve got to deal with the last straggler.”
“Are you sure you’re up for that?” you ask. “We’ve got it pretty much under control, so if you need a break, you should take it.”
He glances over into the distance.
“Well, I don’t want the poor thing staying stuck, but I think that one’s got more problems than just a few uncomfortable splinters. So I’ll probably need some extra gear anyhow, and I might as well take a quick rest while it arrives.”
You have no idea how he can possibly know that from here. But it might be a good chance for a talk.
“Well, I’m sure one of these fine fellows can fetch whatever you need,” you reply. “In the meantime, I think it might be good to have a little talk.”
But of course, Mr. John Long asks a question of you before you can give him one.