The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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turning over something in his mind. But during the night his two young mistresses were awakened by a strange noise that seemed to come from an empty room next theirs, where Zamore usually slept. They both lay awake and listened, and thought it was like a measured stamping, and that the mice might be giving a ball. But could little mice feet tread so heavily as that? Supposing a thief had got in? So the bravest of the two girls got up, and stealing to the door softly opened it and looked into the room. And what do you think she saw? Why, Zamore, on his hind legs, his paws in the air, practising carefully the steps that he had been watching that morning!
This was not, as one might have expected, a mere fancy of the moment, which would be quite forgotten the next day. Zamore was too serious a dog for that, and by dint of hard study he became in time a beautiful dancer. As often as the fife and drum were heard in the streets, Zamore rushed out of the house, glided softly between the spectators, and watched with absorbed attention the dancing dogs who were doing their steps: but remember­ing the blow he had had from the whip, he took care not to join them. He noted their positions, the figures, and the way they held their bodies, and in the night he copied them, though by day he was just as solemn as ever. Soon he was not contented with merely copying what he saw, he invented for himself, and it is only just to say that, in stateliness of step, few dogs could come up to him. Often his dances were witnessed (unknown to himself) by Theophile and his sisters, who watched him through the crack of the door; and so earnest was he, that at length, worn out by dancing, he would drink up the whole of a large basin of water, which stood in the corner of the room.
When Zamore felt himself the equal of the best of the dancing dogs, he began to wish that like them he might have an audience.
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