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A noble dog.

From Pussy and Doggy Tales by Edith Nesbit.
Age Rating 4 to 6.

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ROVER would go into the water fast enough for a bathe or a swim, but he would not bring anything out. The children used to throw in sticks, and Rover and I used to bound in together; but I would bring the stick back, while he swam round and round, enjoying himself. I am not vain, but I could not help feeling how much superior I was to such a dog as Rover. He is a prize Newfoundland, and I am only a humble retriever of obscure family. So one day I said to him-- "Why don't you fetch the sticks out when the children throw them in?" "I don't care about sticks," he said. "But it's so grand and clever to be able to fetch them out." "Is it?" he answered. "I know it is, for the children tell me so." "Do they?" he said. "I wonder you are not ashamed," I went on, a little nettled by his meekness, "never to do anything useful. I should be, if I were you." "Ah," he said, "but you see you are not. Good night." We used to spend a great deal of time by the river. The children loved to play there, and we dogs were always expected to go with them.

One day, as I was lying asleep on the warm grass by the river bank, I heard a splash. I jumped in, but there was no stick, only one of the children floating down on the stream, and screaming whenever her head came from under the water. I thought it was a new kind of game, not very interesting, so I swam out again; and just as I was shaking the water out of my ears, I heard another great flop, and there was Rover in the water, holding on to the child's dress. He pulled her out some ten yards down the stream; and oh! if you could have seen the fuss that the master and mistress and the rest of the children made of that black and white spotted person! "Why, Rover," I said afterwards, when we had got home and were talking it over, "whatever made you think that the child wanted to be pulled out of the water?" "It's my business to pull people out of the water," he said. "But," I urged, "I always thought you were too stupid to understand things." "Did you?" he said, turning his mild eyes on me. "Why didn't you explain to me that you----" "My dear dog," he said, "I never think it worth while to fetch sticks out of the water, and I never think it worth while to explain things to stupid people."


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