Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 160
Publication Date: 1922
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There was no doubt that affairs were rather dull on the Bar O Ranch; at least they seemed so to "Whitey," otherwise Alan Sherwood. Since he and his pal, "Injun," had had the adventures incidental to the finding of the gold in the mountains, there had been nothing doing. So life seemed tame to Whitey, to whom so many exciting things had happened since he had come West that he now had a taste for excitement.
It was Saturday, so there were no lessons, and it was a relief to be free from the teachings of John Big Moose, the educated Dakota, who acted as tutor for Injun and Whitey. Not that John was impatient with his pupils. He was too patient, if anything, his own boyhood not being so far behind him that he had forgotten that outdoors, in the Golden West, is apt to prove more interesting to fifteen-year-old youth than printed books--especially when one half the class is of Indian blood.
As Whitey stood near the bunk house and thought of these things, his eye was attracted by a speck moving toward him across the prairie. He watched it with the interest one might have in a ship at sea; as one watches in a place in which few moving things are seen. The speck was small, and was coming toward Whitey slowly.
From around the corner of the bunk house Injun approached. It will be remembered by those who have read of Injun that he was very fond of pink pajamas. As garments, pink pajamas seemed to Injun to be the real thing.
It had been hard to convince him that they were not proper for everyday wear, but when he was half convinced of this fact, he had done the next best thing, and taken to a very pink shirt. This, tucked in a large pair of men's trousers, below which were beaded moccasins, was Injun's costume, which he wore with quiet dignity.
"What do you s'pose that is?" asked Whitey, pointing at the speck.
"Dog," Injun answered briefly.
"A dog!" cried Whitey, who, though he had never ceased to wonder at Injun's keenness of sight, was inclined to question it now. "What can a dog be doing out there?"
"Dunno," Injun replied. "Him dog." Injun's education had not as yet sunk in deep enough to affect his speech.
Whitey again turned his eyes toward the object, which certainly was moving slowly, as though tired, and, as the boys watched, sure enough, began to resolve itself into the shape of a dog. Here at last was something happening to break the dullness of the day. A strange dog twenty-five miles from any place in which a dog would naturally be.
Furthermore, when the animal was near enough to be seen distinctly, he furnished another surprise. He was entirely unlike any of the dogs of that neighborhood--the hounds, collies, or terriers. He was white, short, chunky. His head was very large for his size, his jaw undershot, his mouth enormous, and his lower lip drooped carelessly over a couple of fangs on each side. Under small ears his eyes popped almost out of his head, and his snub nose could scarcely be said to be a nose at all. From a wide chest his body narrowed until it joined a short, twisted tail, and his front legs were bowed, as though he had been in the habit of riding a horse all his life.
Injun gazed at this strange being with something as near surprise as he ever allowed himself. "Him look like frog," he declared.
"Why, it's a bulldog, an English bulldog!" exclaimed Whitey, who had seen many of this breed in the East.
"More like bullfrog," Injun maintained solemnly. "What him do--eat bulls?"
The brute's appearance surely was forbidding enough, and if Injun had been subject to fear, which he wasn't, he would have felt it now. He did not know, as many better informed people do not, that beneath this breed's fierce appearance lies the deepest of dog love for a master--and that's a pretty deep love--and that no other "friend of man" holds gentler, kinder feeling for the human race than this queerly shaped animal. And this in spite of the fact that he owes the very queerness of his appearance to man, who has had him bred in that shape, through countless generations, to the end that the poor, faithful beast may do brutal deeds in the bull ring and the dog pit.
Whitey did not know all this--that the wide jaws were designed for a grip on the enemy, the snub nose to permit breathing while that grip was held, the widespread legs to secure a firm ground hold; in short, that he was looking at an animal built for conflict, which had the courage of a lion where his enemies were concerned, and the love of a wild thing for its young where its human friends were concerned.