Pretty Tales


2. The Dog That Had No Home

One day little James stood upon a chair, and looked out at the window, and he saw a dog lying on a bank on the other side of the road. Then a bad boy came that way and hit it with a stick. James could see the poor dog shiver with cold as he lay on the wet bank. James felt very sorry for him, and he said, "Why does not the dog go home, and lie down by the fire, and get warm?"


Then James's mother said, "I do not think the poor dog has any home to go to. I have seen him out there before; and one day I saw Jane Rose keep a bad boy from hurting the dog."

Now James was very sorry that this poor dog should have no home. He talked a great deal about him, and when it began to grow dark, he got upon the chair again to see if he was still lying there.

The dog was there still, but he was not lying down this time. He stood upon the bank, and looked this way and that way, as if he did not know where to go. He looked more cold and wet than before, for the rain was coming down fast. Then James said to his mother, "May I tell Jane to let that poor dog come in? See how cold and hungry he looks. I should like to give him my bread and butter, for I have had some dinner, but the poor dog has not had a bit."

His mother said, "We cannot have him in the house, but you may ask Jane to let him come into the yard, and there is some straw in one corner of the shed where he may lie and get dry."

James was very glad to hear this, and he ran in a great hurry to tell Jane. So Jane went to the gate to call the dog, and James went back to the window to see him come in. But the dog would not come at first, and James's mother said that he looked afraid of being beat. At last he came very slowly across the road, and when he heard Jane call him, "Poor fellow! poor fellow!" he ran into the yard.

James's mother told Jane to give the dog some water to drink, and something to eat. So James stood by and saw him fed, and then the dog lay down on the straw, and curled himself round. James gave him one little pat on the head, and the dog wagged his tail, which was the only way he had to say, Thank you. Then James and Jane came away from the shed, and the dog went to sleep.

The last thing before James went to bed, he begged of Jane to go and see if the dog was still lying in the shed. Yes, he was snug asleep in the straw. James's mother said she would give him leave to stay there all night if he liked.

The next day, as soon as James awoke, he began to talk about the dog to Jane, who came to dress him. Jane said that he was not gone away, and the rain was over, and he was come out of the shed. So James made haste down stairs, and he went into the yard to see how he was after his good night's rest.

The dog was lying in the sun, and when he saw James he jumped up and ran to him; for a dog always knows those who are kind to him, and treat him well. If James had not been kind to this dog the night before, he would not have been so glad to see him come into the yard.

Then James patted him, and said, "Doggy, what is your name?" But the dog only looked in James's face. He was a very pretty dog, but he was very thin, like a dog that has no home. And James said, "Oh, I wish I might keep you for my own! I would feed you, and take care of you, and you should never lie out in the rain and the cold any more."

Then James's father came out of the house, and he said, "If I were to let you keep this dog, are you sure that you would be always kind to him, and use him well?" And James said, "Yes, father, indeed I would," Then his father said, "We must try to find out his proper master, if he has one, and send him to his own home; but if he has not a proper master, nor a home, he shall be your dog, my boy, and we will have a kennel made for him; and as he has been such a roving dog, Rover shall be his name."

So James's father asked a great many people about the dog, to try to find out his master and his home. But no one knew anything about him, and no one could tell where he came from. And some kind people said they were glad that he had found a good home, and he was a wise dog not to go away from it.

So James kept him for his own, and there was a kennel made for him, and it was set up in a corner of the yard. And he was called by the name of Rover, as he had been such a roving dog all the time that he had no home.