There was a family who had given leave to two poor men to come and saw wood, do chores, etc. One of these was very honest; the other often took what did not belong to him.
The family dog took no especial notice of the honest man, and treated him in a friendly way, but the thief he watched all the time, to guard the property of the family.
Another dog was on board a vessel bound to some place in Europe. The vessel was driven in a storm against a rocky coast, and struck under a steep, perpendicular cliff perfectly inaccessible. It was evident that if relief was not soon given, the vessel must go to pieces, and the men all perish.
The dog leaped into the angry sea, and with some difficulty swam ashore. He ran on till he came to the dwelling of a poor man, and then barked loudly, till the owner was roused and came out.
The dog showed great joy at seeing him, ran towards the shore and then back to him, and leaped upon him and licked his hands; this he did repeatedly till the man followed him.
It was some distance to the shore ; and, after a while, the man was tired, thought it was foolish to go after the dog, and turned to go home. The dog immediately showed great distress, and tried the same arts to entice him on; but the man seemed resolved to go home.
At last, the dog stood upon his hind legs, put his paws upon the man's shoulders and looked him in the face, with such a human meaning, such a piteous expression, that the man determined to follow him.
The dog led him, not to the cliff under which the vessel was lying, as there she could not be seen, but to a distant place on a point where she was visible.
Ropes were immediately obtained, the crew were all hoisted up, and every life saved; and this was by the intelligent love of this faithful fellow-creature — we cannot call him a brute.
These true stories were told me by Mr. W. R of New Bedford, who gave the name of the captain of the wrecked vessel, and said he was sure they were true.
A fact of this kind fell once under my own observation. One night, our dog Caesar made a barking at the door, till, at last, he brought some one out. The dog then ran towards the road, and when he found he was not followed, came back and barked, and then ran to the road and back again, and so on till we understood he wanted to be followed, and some one went with him.
Caesar immediately led the way to a ditch over which there was a bridge without any guard. There a horse and wagon had been upset. The wagon had fallen upon the driver in such a way that he could not move. The men came immediately to the aid of the poor man, took him out, put him in his wagon and new harnessed his horse, and set him off comfortably on his way again. The dog sat by and saw it all. Who shall say how much of the compassionate love of the good Samaritan was in his canine heart ? Who shall exactly measure and justly estimate the joy of the other faithful, intelligent animal who saved the crew of the wrecked vessel ?
One more story of a dog I remember which is too good to be forgotten; as it shows, not only the sagacity, but the love and self-denial of one of these faithful creatures.
A shepherd, whose flocks were in the high pastures on the Grampian Hills, took with him one day his little boy who was about three years of age. They had gone some distance, when he found it necessary, for some reason or other, to ascend the summit of one of the hills. He thought it would be too fatiguing for the child to go up; so he left him below with the dog, telling the little fellow to stay there till he returned, and charging the good and faithful dog to watch over the boy.
Scarcely had the shepherd reached the summit, before there came up one of those very thick fogs which are common among these mountains. These heavy mists often come up so suddenly and so thick that it is like a dark night — you can see absolutely nothing.
The unhappy father hurried down the mountain to his little boy; but, from fright and from the utter darkness, lost the way.
The poor shepherd for many hours sought his child among the treacherous swamps, the roaring cataracts and the steep precipices.
No little boy, no faithful dog could he see or hear. At length, night came on, and the wretched father had to return to his cottage, and to the mother of his child, and say the sad words, " He is lost. My faithful dog is gone too, or he might help me find the boy".
That was a sad night for the poor cottagers. At break of day, the shepherd, with his wife and his neighbors, set out to look for the child. They searched all day long, in every place where it seemed possible that he could be, but all in vain. No little boy could they find. The night came on, and again the poor shepherd and his wife came home without their child.
On their return home, they found that the dog had been there; and, on receiving a piece of oatmeal cake, had instantly gone off with it. The next day and the day after, the shepherd renewed the search for his child. On each day when they returned, they heard that the dog had been to the house, taken his piece of cake, and immediately disappeared. The shepherd determined to stay at home the next day and watch his dog. He had a hope in his heart that the dog would lead him to his child.
The dog came the next day, at the same hour, took his piece of cake, and ran off. The shepherd followed him. He led the way to a cataract at some distance from the place where the father had left the child.
The bank of the cataract was steep and high, and the abyss down which the water rushed was terrific. Down the rugged and almost perpendicular descent, the dog, without any hesitation, began to make his way. At last, he disappeared into a cave, the mouth of which was almost on a level with the cataract.
The shepherd, with great difficulty, followed. What were his emotions, who can tell his joy, when he beheld his little boy eating, with much satisfaction, the piece of cake which the faithful animal had just brought ? The dog stood by, eying his young charge with the utmost complacence.