The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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392
DOGS OYER THE WATER
was to be brought before his judges to make answer to his charge and receive his sentence. In the midst of a vast crowd, which dared not show sympathy even if it felt it, the magistrate pleaded for the last time, without a friend to give him courage except his dog, which had somehow forced himself through guards and crowd, and lay crouched between his legs, happy at this unexpected chance of seeing his master.
Sentence of death was pronounced, as was inevitable, and the hour of execution was not long delayed. In the wonderful way that animals always do know when some­thing out of the common is passing, the spaniel was sitting outside the door when his master walked out for the last time, although it was long before the hour of his daily visit. Alone, of all the friends that he had known and loved, his dog went with him, and stood beside him on the steps of the guillotine, and sat at his feet when his head fell. Vaguely the spaniel was aware that something terrible had happened; his master, who had never failed him before, would not speak to him now. It was in vain to lick his hand: he got no pat in answer. But if his master was asleep, and his bed was underground, then he too must sleep by his side till the morning came and the world awoke again.
So two nights passed, and three. Then his friend, who had sheltered him during these long weeks, came to look for him, and, after much coaxing and caressing, per­suaded him to return to his old hiding-place. With great difficulty he was induced to swallow some food, but the moment his protector's back was turned, he rushed out and fought his way to his master's grave.
This lasted for three months, and every day the dog looked sadder and thinner than the day before. At length his friend thought he would try a new plan with him, and tied him firmly up. But in the morning he found that the dog had, like Samson, broken through his bonds, and was lying on the grave, which he never left again.
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