The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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he was born; for, although a Scotch dog by descent, he was Irish by birth, and his earliest home was near Dublin. As everybody knows, the happiest moment of an Irish­man's life is when he is fighting something or somebody, and Bolt in his youth was as reckless as any Irishman of them all. He was hardly a year old when he turned upon his own mother, who had done something to displease him when they were chained together in a stable, and never let her throat go until she was stone dead. Cats, too, were his natural enemies, whom he fought and conquered when no dogs were at hand, and sometimes he would steal out at night from his master's bed, where he always slept, and go for a chase by the light of the moon. Early one morning a fearful noise was heard in the house, and when his master, unable to bear it any longer, got out of bed to see what had happened, he found a strange cat lying on the stairs quite dead, and the house-cat, with which Bolt was barely on speaking terms, sitting in a friendly manner by the side of the conqueror. It is supposed that the strange cat had been led either by motives of curiosity or robbery to enter by some open window, and that the house-cat, unable to drive him out, had welcomed Bolt's ready help for the purpose. Fighter though he was by nature, Bolt had inherited enough Scotch caution not to begin a quarrel unless he had a fair chance of victory; but he was generous, and seldom attacked dogs smaller than himself, unless he was forced into it, or really had nothing better to do. He always began by seizing his enemy's hind leg, which no other dog had been known to do before, and he had such a dislike to dogs whose skins were yellow, that not even the company of ladies, and the responsibility weighing upon him as their escort, would stop Bolt's wild rush at his yellow foe. He hated being shut up too, and showed amazing cleverness in escaping from prison. If that was quite impossible, he did the next best thing, which was to gnaw and destroy every article he could in any way reach.
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