Select the desired text size

Aah rats.

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



Start of Story

"HE has no nose," said my master; "he is a handsome dog, but he has no nose." This annoyed me very much, for I have a nose--a very long, sharp, black nose. I wear tan boots and gloves, and my coat is a beautiful shiny black. I am a Manchester terrier, and I fulfil the old instructions for such dogs. I am

Neckčd like a drakč,
Headed like a snakč,
Tailed like a ratte,
And footed like a catte._

And then they said I had no nose. But Kerry explained to me that my master did not mean to find fault with the shape of my nose, but that what he wanted to be understood was that I had no nose for smelling rats. Kerry has, and he is ridiculously vain of this accomplishment. "And you have no nose, you know, old boy," said Kerry; "why, you would let the rats run all over you and never know it." I turned up my nose--my beautiful, pointed, handsome nose--and walked away without a word.



A few weeks afterwards my master brought home with him some white rats. Kerry was out at the time, but my master showed me the rats through the bars of their cage. He also showed me a boot and a stick. Although I have no nose, I was clever enough to put two and two together. Did I mention that there were two rats? We were not allowed to go in the study, either of us, and my master put the rats there in their cage on the table. That night, when everybody had gone to bed, I said to Kerry, "I may have no nose, old man, but I smell rats." Kerry sniffed contemptuously. "You!" said he, curling himself round in his basket; "I don't believe you could smell an elephant if there were one in the dresser drawer." I kept my temper. "I am not feeling very well, Kerry," I said gently, "or I would go and see myself. But I am sure there _are_ rats; I smell them plainly; they seem to be in the study." "Go to sleep," he said; "you're dreaming, old man."



"Why don't you go and see?" I said. "If I didn't feel so very faint, I would go myself." Kerry got out of his basket reluctantly. "I suppose I ought to go, if you are quite certain," he said; and he went. In less than a minute he returned to the kitchen, trembling all over with excitement. "Chappie!" he said; "Chappie!" "Well?" "There _are_ rats," he whispered hoarsely; "there are rats in the study." "Did you go in?" I asked. "No, you know we're forbidden to go in, but I smelt them quite plainly. I can't smell them at all here," he said regretfully. "What a nose you have got, after all, Chappie!" "What are you going to do, Kerry?" I asked. "Why, nothing," he said; "we mustn't go in the study." "Oh," I said, "rules weren't made for great occasions like this; it's your business to kill rats wherever they are." And that misguided wire-haired person went up. He got them out of the cage, and killed them.



The next morning, when the master came down, he thrashed Kerry within an inch of his life. He knows I don't touch rats; and, besides, I was so unwell that nobody could have suspected me. And I explained to Kerry that, good as my nose is, I couldn't possibly tell by the smell that the rats were white, and, therefore, sacred. It was not worth while to mention that I had seen them before. Kerry looks up to me now as a dog with a nose, and I am much happier than formerly. But Kerry is not nearly so keen on rats now. I thought somehow he wouldn't be.

       



back to top
Back To Top
Audio version of this story
audio version of this story
text version of this story
text version of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the audio of this story
Download the text of this story
download the text of this story