Moral Audio Stories in English - The Little Dog's Worth

 The Little Dog's Worth

The kind-hearted Tom was the young master of an estate. His house was on the river bank, a furlong away from the village. The orchards, gardens, and cornfields which surrounded his house belonged to him. Tom was married to Liz. She was a beautiful young lady who helped her husband in managing the estate. Behind their house were a row of rooms occupied by their servants. Farther behind it were sheds in which were kept a pair of horses, cattle, pigs, and a brood of fowls. The couple had also three or four cats and a parrot. One day Tom was returning from the nearby village, riding his horse when he saw a puppy lying near a bush, evidently hungry and thirsty. It had hardly any energy in it even to give out a whimper. Tom had got down and picked up the puppy and took it home, placing it carefully on the horseback before him. At home, he fed the puppy and made it comfortable. His servants began to take care of it and fed it as they fed the other animals. Tom almost forgot about it.

The puppy slowly grew up. One day it strolled into the backyard between the servants' quarters and the animal shed, because it thought that that is where it should pass its time. But it was pained to see that the other animals did not take to him kindly. "Here is a good for nothing chap who enjoyed a ride on my back the other day," said a horse. "You should have trampled on it!" commented another horse. "That would have been the right thing to do! But our master pulled my reins and stopped me and himself picked it up. What could have I done?" lamented the first horse. "This chap unnecessarily shares the food meant for us," observed a cat who had followed the dog, "I have never seen it even chasing a cockroach away, what to speak of rats." "I wonder what benefit it brings to our master!" said a cow. "It just loiters about. I think to keep a dog or two is a fashion with landlords," an old pig contributed to the discussion. "Right, what they call the status symbol." observed the parrot who had happened to come there and perch itself on a pole. "I wish it could talk like the human beings as I do," she added. The animals did not like the parrot's comment because none of them could talk like human beings. But they could not rebuff the parrot because after all, she was joining them in making fun of the little dog! "I wonder why the creature does not announce the sunrise as I do!" said a cock from the top of a straw heap. "Well, well it is not easy to serve a human master! One has to have some talent for it," observed the first horse.

"Our master had just picked it up out of pity. But he has already forgotten all about it. If he sees it again, he may just hoot it away!" said the second horse. The dog slank away from the backyard and retired into a corner of the courtyard and lay down. It felt very sad for being so useless and such an object of contempt. Days passed. But whenever the dog went to the backyard, the other domestic creatures made fun of it. The dog kept aloof from them and whenever its master was out for a stroll, it followed him with love and respect. Tom had a three-year-old daughter. One day he walked in his orchard holding the child in his arms. There was a small boat on the river, close to the bank. It belonged to Tom. He used it to go to a patch of land amidst the river which belonged to him. It was like a tiny island. Inside the boat was kept a long chain. By fastening its end to a tree, one could propel the boat into the river. There was no danger of the boat drifting away beyond the range of chain. Tom put the child, which had fallen asleep, on the boat and climbed a tree for plucking ripe guavas. He had not noticed that the rope with which the boat was usually tied to a pole had been snapped. A tide was entering the river. The boat began to drift. It went to midstream and then was led away by the current.

The dog somehow felt that something was wrong with the boat speeding away with the child. It barked, running between the guava tree and the river. Tom now saw what was happening. He jumped from the tree, but then did not know what to do. His wife had been to the village. One of the servants had accompanied her while the other two were in the market for repairing their cart. Nobody would hear him even if he shouted. He did not know how to swim and the water was quite deep. From the shed of the horses, the cattle, the parrot, and the dog looked on with distress. The dog observed his master's panic. There was a splash. It jumped into the river. It swam and reached the boat and tried to push it towards the shore. But that was not possible. Then it climbed into the boat. There was the chain lying coiled in a corner. The dog clamped its teeth on the loose end of the chain and jumped out and swam to the shore. Tom was already in waist-deep water. He took the chain's end from the dog and began pulling the boat. Slowly the boat came ashore. He took the sleeping child as well as the wet dog into his arms and hurried home. He wiped the dog dry and fed it with milk and bread. An hour later the beasts in the backyard were surprised to see the dog held by their master close to his bosom. Never again they passed unkind comments on it.

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