You will bear in mind, Dash, that
I left off where the good child fed me with bread.
Well, this made me strong, and I went on my way.
Soon I heard a sound, like that of a flute or fife;
it was quite near, but I could see no one. All
at once, a great mob of boys and men came down the
road, and made a crowd close by me. I went in
the midst of them to find out what it all meant.
Dear me! it was some-thing queer to be sure.
There was a man with a big drum fast to his back, which
he beat with a drum-stick tied to one of his feet.
In the front of his coat was a set of Pan’s
pipes, out of which he blew the tune the old cow died
of. In his left hand he held a whip, while in
his right was a cord, which led three dogs. The
first one was an old dog, with bow-legs, who when
the crowd did stop, got up on his hind-legs, and gave
a look round at the two be-hind, who stood, right up
on their hind-legs, all in a grave, glum way.
One of these was in the dress of a girl. She
had on a large round hat, full of big red bows.
The hat was so big, and shook so much, that it did
seem as if her head, hat, and all, would drop off,
if it got a hard knock.
“The dog with the bow-legs wore
a blue coat, a flat hat with a broad brim, and such
a high shirt col-lar, that the sharp ends
all but put his eyes out. He had a pair of specs
tied on his black nose with twine. The third
had on a cap and coat like those of a small boy.
And all did look as if they were on their way to be
“Then the man made a jig tune
on his pipe, and beat the drum with his foot till
he was as red as fire in the face, while the dogs kept
time with hop, skip, and jump, with one eye on the
“The men and boys were full
of the fun. O dear! how they did clap their hands
and laugh! and I, great goose that I was, stood on
my hind-legs, to try how it felt, and kept
near the dogs all day, and saw them dance at least
“At last, when the sun had set,
the man came to an old house, and let him-self in
with a key; the dogs went in too, while I stood out-side
on two legs, to try to peep thro’ a small crack
in the door. Soon there came — oh! such
a good smell of hot beef-bones. I felt as if I
would give all four of my legs for just one bone.
“I gave the door a push, and
found it moved; and then, to make a long tale short,
I went in; for I said to my-self: ’The man
may beat me to death, but if I stay here I shall starve
to death; so I can but try for a bone.’
“I found my-self in a low, dark
room. The walls were black with dirt and smoke.
The dogs lay in one part of the room, and the man sat
by the fire. On a hook was a great pot, and from
this came such a nice smell, that all the dogs, and
I with them, did lick our lips the whole time.
“And now there came in the room
an old dame, with a dry, brown face, for all the world
like the nut-shell dolls the pie-man’s boy used
“‘Well, John,’ she said, ‘have
you had a good day?’
“’Yes, Gran-ny; I took
a hat full of cents. See here, what a lot of
them! But that dog there, he lost me a three cent
piece to-day; so he goes with-out his bone.’
“The poor dog with the bow-legs
gave a great howl when he heard this; but the show-man
hit him on the nose with his whip, and he slunk off,
while the big tears ran in a stream down his face.
“The rest stood on their hind-legs
in a row, while the old dame with the nut-shell face
took the pot from the fire.
“‘Here,’ said she
to the show-man, ’hold the dish while I pour
the stew out.’
“Oh! how it did smoke! and what
a fine smell it had! The man got a loaf of bread
and two blue plates from the shelf, and a knife and
fork for each; and then they went to work to eat as
fast as they could, while the dogs and I did look
on with all the eyes we had. When the show-man
had eat-en all he could, he took some more meat, cut
it up in bits, and said: ’Now, I shall
give each dog a bit in turn. Look sharp you!
If the wrong dog starts when I call, he gets none at
all. Now then, Pete!’
“The dog in the cap made a jump
and one snap, and the meat was gone.
“‘Now then, Hop!’
said the man; and the dog in the girl’s hat got
it; and then it was Pete’s turn, while poor
Bob with the bow-legs, who lost the three cents, kept
up a kind of soft howl and a sob, as if his heart
“All this time I did think I
must die for want of food, and I made up my mind to
stand on my hind-legs till the show-man gave me some
meat too. So I got up and did not fall, while
you could count ten, then I ran up to the show-man,
and stood on my hind-legs at his side.
“‘Why bless me, dame!’
he cried, ‘where did this dog come from?’
“‘Where to be sure,’
said the dame; ‘you let him in your-self.’
“’Did I, Gran-ny?
Well, that is queer. I did not see him. He
seems to know how to stand up — sit down,
“Down I went like a flash.
“‘Get up, sir,’ and up I got once
more as stiff as a po-ker.
“‘Why don’t you
take him for one of your set,’ said the old dame.
’He must be lost, for just see here! his name
is on the brass ring round his neck.’ Then
she put on a pair of old horn specs to spell my name
out. ’F-r-i-s-k Frisk; what a nice name!
and what a clean, trim chap he is! Why, John,
he would be a great help to you, he seems so smart.’
“‘So he would,’
said the man. ’He would soon learn to dance,
and he knows now how to stand up. I can soon
teach him more. Here, you, sir! take that!’
and he threw me a large bit of meat, which I was glad
to get, you may be sure. Then I took the rest
of my share in my turn with Pete and Hop, and, O dear!
how nice it was, and how glad I was to get it!
“When we had eat all up, the
show-man took off the hats and coats of his dogs,
and sent them and me to sleep in a large flat box,
that stood at the end of the room. It was full
of straw and quite nice.
“Then the man sat down by the
fire to smoke his pipe and have a chat with his old
brown nut-shell Gran-ny.
“I was so glad to rest, that
I went fast to sleep right off. But, O dear!
O dear! the next morn, it was sad as it could be, for
I had to learn to dance a jig, and stand on my head,
and he beat me so, that I had a fit. I did think
he would break each bone I had, and the more I cried
the more he beat me.
“But I had to learn; and in
two weeks’ time I went out with the rest.
“One day the same man I ran
from to-day saw me dance in the street. He was
a big show-man, and had dog plays, and was quite rich
and great; so he tried to buy me. I heard him
tell my man, that the dog who used to play
‘Jack, the Run-a-way,’ was just dead, and
I would make a first-rate Jack in his place.
“So he paid, I don’t know
how much, and got me, and set me to learn my part.
O my dear Dash! my life was one scene of hard blows
and hard fare. The poor wee dog who acts the
old dame in the play is worse off than I, for she
is so weak, that she can not do her part well; and
oh! how he beats her! She has told me more than
once that she would be glad to die, and I get quite
wild when I think I can not help her. If the
bad man would whip me for her, I would be glad to take
it, tho’ I get blows all the time for my own
“Oh! how sad!” cried Dash,
the big tears in his eyes. “What a bad,
bad man! How glad I am you have run a-way from
him. But what shall we do to hide you?”
“Dear Dash, if you will keep
me here for four or five days, I may get some one
to take me, who is as good and kind as Mr. Grey, and
then some day I will try to show you how much I feel
what you have done and will do for me.”
“Don’t speak of it,”
said Dash. “It is as much of a joy to do
good as to have good done to one’s self.
You shall stay here with me, dear Frisk! and we will
wait and see what comes of it.”
“O you good old dog! you dear
Dash! I will stay in your house all the time.
I will be as still as a drum with a hole in it.”
“Yes, and I know you will come
out all right at last. I tell you what!
I heard May and Hal ask their pa-pa to buy you.
O my! they want you so much!”
“Do they? O dear! then
I can stay here all the rest of my life.”
And in his joy he tried to stand on his head; but
the roof of the dog-house was too low, and his legs
came down on top of Dash’s back, and gave him
quite a start.
“But,” said Dash, “I
must tell you that May and Hal said you were to dance
“O dear! if that is all, I will
dance the whole day for a good home.”
So the two dogs kept house for a week,
and Dash went out and got the bones, while Frisk made
the straw beds, and swept the scraps out with his
paws for a broom. Not the tip of his nose did
he show in the day-time, but at night he took a run
round the lawn to get the twist out of his legs.
The fat old cook in the house said
she did not know how Dash could eat so much; for he
would beg for bones five or six times a day. She
was a good old soul, and she gave him all the bones
she had, and he would lick her hand and wag his tail,
and all but speak to thank her.
At last one day, Dash heard Mr. Grey
say that the show-man had gone a-way. He had
tried his best to find Frisk. He said he would
give a large sum to get him back; and all the boys
in town went out to hunt the poor dog. But they
did not find him, as you and I know.