Deep in the old 1909 Bisbee newspapers there is an story about the legendary White Mule. It reported an ancient belief that white mules were immortal. The news story pointed out that from the early days of long ago, almost every man and woman on the planet Earth were taught that a white mule was one of the animals passed up by the grim reaper. They said the albino animal had drank of the spring of perpetual youth, and though years may come and years may go, the white mules would last for all eternity.
They say if you dream of a white mule, it is a sign of good luck. Yet, it was bad luck to have a white mule on a riverboat. You could prevent bad luck from the passing of a team of white mules if you ran across the road and made a wish. The wish would undoubtedly come true! Wishes would also be granted by “stamping” for each white horse or mule you saw. You would lick your right thumb and press it into the palm of your left hand. Then smack your left palm with your right fist—once for a horse and four times for a white mule. When you stamped for 100 times, you would get your wish the next time you saw a red-headed woman.
Seems the hoodoo man or some other strange power was at work in Bisbee one spring day, for as a surprise to everyone, a white mule died. The mule dropped dead on a Bisbee road making the event entirely unbelievable. It completely upset all of the theories and superstitions, and an unsettled state of mind prevailed in Bisbee as a result of the sudden demise.
The white mule in question was used as a hauler of wood and drawer of water for the town of Bisbee. Its duty was to help its team mate in dragging the garbage wagon over the city roads. One day just before noon the mule and wagon was up on Quality Hill. The animal began to stagger. The driver unhitched the mule and it immediately fell down. Before aid could be acquired, the animal passed into the great beyond of mules.
The driver studied the still form of the beast and scratched his head in bewilderment. The idea of a white mule having the audacity to renounce all ethics of ‘muledom’ caused the superstitious driver to start carrying three—instead of just one rabbit foot in his coat pocket in the future.
The white mule was valued at $360 and the city had a difficult time replacing it. If at night you see what looks like a white mule dragging a cart down one of the Bisbee narrow passageways, be sure to “stamp” it and keep a tally of your animal sightings. A little extra luck these days never hurts any of us stubborn fools.