Once there was a dog. Though she was a very Good Dog she would not beg
. This had cost her her last master
and had left her walking down a rainy country road contemplating
her fate. Not only was she a Good Dog
she was also a dog
who knew how to contemplate
Soon, however, the rain seemed to clear. The sun came out and butterflies danced in the unfarmed field by the roadside. The dog stopped to watch the butterflies and felt very peaceful. “I will live on my own.” She mused “I do not need a master.” Just as the simplicity of this thought swept over her she heard a rustle in the grass. From between the weeds the face of a small boy emerged. The boy had freckles and he was still young enough to be terribly short. This delighted the dog since she always resented how difficult it was to see her old master’s face.
Forgetting her vow to live alone she wagged her tail lazily. The boy seeing that the dog was friendly came over and patted her on the head and scratched her ears. They were instant friends and she and the boy made their way through the field to a nearby clump of willows that leaned over a tiny creek.
There the boy had set up a little camp, a tent made of a sheet and cloths pins stolen from the neighbors clothesline and a bucket with one or two scuttling crawdads that he caught with his hands. The dog rested her head on her paws and watched the boy search and try to pluck crawdads from the water. The boy was having hard time. The crawdads would dart off just as he reached for them every time.
Soon the dog could see what he was doing and came to his side in the creek in order to help. First the boy scolded her—but then when she pinned a crawdad with her front two paws he remarked “I can see you are a very smart dog. You must have a master some place.” In answer to this the dog made no eye contact with the boy but rather she carefully lifted the crawdad by its middle (so it could not pinch her nose) and carried it to the bucket where the boys catches had accumulated.
Together the boy and the dog caught many crawdads. Sometimes the dog would pin the crawdad and the boy would pinch it up and toss it in to the bucket. Other times the boy would uses his sharp eyes to spot a crawdad and point it out to the dog. The dog could only see the crawdads if they moved quickly, but the boy could find them better of they stayed still.
Soon the bucket was full and the day was getting dark and so the boy took the bucket and the dog took the clothespins and sheet in her mouth (the boy folded them in to a parcel for her) and they walked off to a lopsided white farm house with a picket fence on a hill.
The boys father was very pleased with the catch and when the boy told him about the dog he knelt on one knee and scratched her behind the ears and said “What Good Dog. So, helpful.” The dog felt ver proud.
Then the boy’s mother took the crawdads and shelled them and put them in to the big black jambo pot and put in spices and vegetables and sat it over the coal stove while the boy’s father smoked a pipe and the dog lay on the rug by the stove since night was falling and it was growing cool. In the yard the boy ran catching firefiles in a mason jar.
After a few hours the Jambo was ready and the boy’s mother called him inside. He entered with the jar of fireflies and sat it on the floor so the dog could watch them climb the sides of the jar and try to fly, they hit the glass or the lid and fell back to the bottom their little green lights flashing in frustration. “Isn’t it beautiful” said the boy’s mother.”
The people gathered around the table and the dog who understood dinner and was very hungry climbed up on the guest chair and the head of the table opposite the father. “Down Down Bad Dog!” said the mother. “Ha ha.” Said the father “She thinks she’s a person!” The boy and the father laughed but the mother was still mad. “Look she won’t move! Stop laughing your too! Down Bad Dog!” The dog would not move. She could not see why she could not sit with the family at the table. After all, she had helped to catch the supper! But, the mother was serious and she shoved the dog off the guest chair. The dog landed legs splayed with a whimper. Then the mother took her seat, but now sooner did she sit down then the dog was back on the guest chair again. “Bad Dog!” She warned. But, the dog did not move. The mother rose and shoved the dog off of the chair again, but this time the dog resisted and growled a little too.
“That’s no Good Dog!” Said the father “Throw her out!”
And they did.