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Grateful Dogs, edited by Andrew Lang


From ‘Das Echo,’ June 8, 1895. Letter to the editor, signed G. M., Mexico, purporting to be an extract from a letter of his brother in Nebraska. I have translated and recast it.

A farmer in Nebraska—one of the Western States of North America—possessed two dogs, a big one called Fanny, and a small one who was named Jolly. One winter day the farmer went for a walk and took with him his two pets; they came to a brook that ran through the farm, and was now frozen up.

Fanny crossed it without much ado, but Jolly, who was always afraid of water, distrusted the ice, and refused to follow. Fanny paused at the other side, and barked loudly to induce her companion to come, but Jolly pretended not to understand.

Then Fanny ran back to him, and tried to explain that it was quite safe, but in vain, Jolly only looked after his master, and whimpered; upon which, Fanny, losing patience, seized him by the collar, and dragged him over.

For this kindness Jolly showed himself grateful some time afterwards.

Fanny, greedy creature, was fond of fresh eggs. When she heard a hen cackle she always ran to look for the nest, and one day she discovered one under the fruit-shed. But, alas! she could not get the beloved dainty because she was too large to go under the shed. Looking very pensive and thoughtful, she went away, and soon returned with Jolly, bringing him just before the hole.

 Jolly, however, was stupid and did not understand; Fanny put her head in, and then her paws, without being able, with all her efforts, to reach the egg; the smaller dog, seeing that there was something in the hole, went in to look, but not caring for eggs, came out empty-handed.

Thereupon Fanny looked at him in such a sad and imploring way, that her master, who was watching them, could scarcely suppress his laughter.

At last Jolly seemed to understand what was wanted; he went under the shed again, brought out the egg, and put it before Fanny, who ate it with great satisfaction, and then both dogs trotted off together.