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And the tables turn.
From Pussy and Doggy Tales by Edith Nesbit.
Start of Story
Age Rating 4 to 6.
WE knew it was a dog, directly the basket was set down in the hall. We
heard it moving about inside. We sniffed all round. We asked it why it
didn't come out (the basket was tightly tied up with string). "Are you
having a good time in there?" said Roy. "Can't you show your face?" said
I. "He's ashamed of it," said Roy, waving his long bushy tail. Then he
growled a little, and the dog inside growled too; and then, as Roy had
an appointment with the butcher at his own back door, I went out to see
"I am so sorry I am going away for Christmas with my master," he said
when we parted; "but you must introduce that new dog to me when I come
home. We mustn't stand any of his impudence, eh?"
I was sorry Roy was going away, for Roy is my great friend. He always
fights the battles for both of us. I daresay I might have got into the
way of fighting my own battles, but I never like to interfere with
anybody's pleasure, and Roy's chief pleasure is fighting. As for me, I
think the delights of that recreation are over-estimated.
When my master came home, he opened the basket, and a dog of Irish
family tumbled out, growling and snarling, and hid himself under the
sofa. They wasted more biscuits on him than I have ever seen wasted on
any deserving dog; and at last they got him out, and he consented to eat
some supper. They gave him a much better basket than mine, and we went
Next morning, the Irish terrier got out of his basket, stretched
himself, yawned, and insisted on thrashing me before breakfast.
"But I am a dog of peace," I said; "I don't fight."
"But I do, you see," he answered, "that's just the difference."
I tried to defend myself, but he got hold of one of my feet, and held it
up. I sat up, and howled with pain and indignation.
"Have you had enough?" he said, and, without waiting for my answer,
proceeded to give me more.
"But I don't fight," I said; "I don't approve of fighting."
"Then I'll teach you to have better manners than to say so," said he,
and he taught me for nearly five minutes.
"Now then," he said, "are you licked?"
"Yes," I answered; for indeed I was.
"Are you sorry you ever tried to fight with me?"
"Yes," still seemed to be the only thing to say.
"And do you approve of fighting?"
He seemed to wish me to say "yes," and so I said it.
"Very well, then," he said; "now we'll be friends, if you like. Come
along; you have given me an appetite for breakfast."
"Any society worth cultivating about here?" he asked, after the meal, in
his overbearing way.
"I have a very great friend who lives next door," I said; "but I don't
know whether I should care to introduce you to him."
He showed his teeth, and asked what I meant.
"You see, you might not like him; and, if you didn't like him----but
he's a most agreeable dog."
"A good fighter?" asked Rustler.
I scratched my ear with my hind foot, and pretended to think.
"Oh, I see he's not," said Rustler contemptuously; "well, you shall
introduce him to me directly he comes back."
Rustler's overbearing and disagreeable manners so upset me that I was
quite thin when, at the end of the week, Roy came home. I told him my
troubles at once.
"Bring your Rustler along," he said grandly, "and introduce him to
So I did. Rustler came along with his ears up, and his miserable tail
in the air. Roy lay by his kennel looking the image of serenity and
peacefulness. To judge by his expression, he might not have had a tooth
in his head.
Rustler stood with his feet as far apart as he could get them, and put
his head on one side.
"I have heard so much about you, Mr. What's-your-name," he said, "that I
have come to make a closer acquaintance."
"Delighted, I'm sure," said Roy, who has splendid manners.
"If you will get on your legs," said Rustler rudely, "I will tell you
what I think of you."
Roy got on his legs, still looking very humble, and the next minute he
had Rustler by the front foot, and was making him sit down and scream
just as Rustler had made me. It was a magnificent fight.
"Have you had enough?" said Roy, and then gave him more without waiting
for an answer.
"I don't want to fight any more," said Rustler at last; "I am sorry I
"Then I'll teach you to have more pluck than to own it," said Roy.
When he had taught him for some time, he said, "Are you licked?"
"Yes," said Rustler, glaring at me out his uninjured eye.
"Are you sorry you tried to fight with me?"
"Will you promise to leave my little friend here alone?"
Then Roy let him go. We shook tails all round, and Rustler and I went
"Poor Rustler," I said, "I know exactly how you feel."
"You little humbug," he said, with half a laugh--for he is not an
ill-natured fellow when you come to know him--"you managed it very
cleverly, and I'm not one to bear malice; but, I say, your friend is
We are now the most united trio, and Roy and Rustler have licked all the
other dogs in the neighbourhood.