THE SNOW-MAN 51
you can look at the room in which I was master, for so I was when I was with the housekeeper. Of course it was a smaller place than upstairs, but it was more comfortable, for I was n't chased about and teased by the children as I had been before. My food was just as good, or even better. I had my own pillow, and there was a stove there, which at this time of year is the most beautiful thing in the world. I used to creep right under that stove. Ah me ! I often dream of that stove still! Bow-wow! '
'Is a stove so beautiful?' asked tne Snow-man. 'Is it anything like me? '
' It is just the opposite of you! It is coal-black, and has a long neck with a brass pipe. It eats firewood, so that fire spouts out of its mouth. One has to keep close beside it — quite underneath is the nicest of all. You can see it through the window from where you are standing.'
And the Snow-man looked in that direction, and saw a smooth polished object with a brass pipe. The flicker from the fire reached him across the snow. The Snowman felt wonderfully happy, and a feeling came over him which he could not express; but all those who are not snow-men know about it.
' Why did you leave her?' asked the Snow-man. He had a feeling that such a being must be a lady. ' How could you leave such a place ?'
' I had to ! ' said the yard-dog. ' They turned me out of doors, and chained me up here. I had bitten the youngest boy in the leg, because he took away the bone I was gnawing; a bone for a bone, I thought! But they were very angry, and from that time I have been chained here, and I have lost my voice. Don't you hear how hoarse I am? Bow-wow! I can't speak like other dogs. Bow-wow ! That was the end of happiness! '
The Snow-man, however, was not listening to him any more; he was looking into the room where the housekeeper lived, where the stove stood on its four iron legs, and seemed to be just the same size as the Snow-man.