A French merchant was riding home on horseback one day. He had a large bag of gold with him, which was tied to the saddle in front of him, and he was accompanied by a faithful dog. After a long ride, he stopped to rest himself and eat a lunch which he had with him. He alighted from the horse, and sat down under a shady tree, taking the bag of gold, and laying it down by his side. On mounting his horse again, he forgot to take his bag of gold with him. The dog saw the mistake his master had made, and tried to take the bag to him ; but it was too heavy for him to drag along. Then he ran after his master, and tried by barking to remind him of his mistake. But the merchant did not understand what the dog meant. Then the dog went in front of his master, and kept jumping up before the horse and barking loudly. The merchant called to him to be quiet, and stop that jumping.
But the dog wouldn’t stop. Then his master was alarmed. He began to think that the dog must be going mad. And as the dog went on barking and jumping with increasing violence, the merchant felt sure he was right. He said to himself, “He may bite me, or some one else. The only safe thing will be to kill him.”
Then he took a pistol from his pocket, and pointing it to the dog, fired at him. The poor dog fell weltering in his blood, and his master, unable to bear the sight, put spurs to his horse and went on. ” I am very unfortunate,” he said to himself; “I would rather have lost my bag of money than my good dog.” Then he felt for his bag, but it was not there. In a moment he saw what it all meant. The dog had seen that he had left his bag of money behind him, and was trying the best he could to get him to go back for it when he shot him! How sorry he felt!
Then he turned his horse, and rode back to the place where he had left his money. On reaching the spot he found the dog there. He had crawled back, all bleeding as he was, and had lain down beside his master’s money to protect it. This brought the tears into the merchant’s eyes. He kneeled down by his dog, petted him, and spoke kindly to him. The dog looked lovingly into his face, licked his hand, and then turned over and died.
The merchant had the body of the dog carried home, and buried in his garden ; and over its grave he had a stone slab set up, with these words engraved on it —
“In Memory of a Faithful Dog.”
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