Jonas was right, for, when the boys arrived at the wood piles, they found there, waiting for them, a large black dog. He stood near one end of a wood pile, with his fore feet upon a log, by which his head and shoulders were raised, so that he could see better who was coming. He was of handsome form, and he had an intelligent and good-natured expression of countenance. He was looking very intently at the party coming up, to see whether his master was among them.
“Whose dog is that?” said Josey.
“I don’t know,” said Oliver; “I never saw him before.”
“I wonder what his name is,” said Josey. “Here! Towzer, Towzer, Towzer,” said he.
“Here! Caesar, Caesar, Caesar,” said Oliver.
“Pompey, Pompey, Pompey,” said Jonas.
[Illustration: “He was looking very intently at the party coming up, to see whether his master was among them.”]
The dog remained motionless in his position, until, just as the boys had finished their calls, and as the foremost sled was drawn pretty near him, he suddenly wheeled around with a leap, and bounded away through the snow, for half the length of the first wood pile, and then stopped, and again looked round.
“I wish we had something for him to eat,” said Jonas.
“I’ve got a piece of bread and butter,” said Josey. “I went in and got it when you and Oliver were unloading.”
So Josey took his bread and butter out of his pocket. There were two small slices put together, and folded up in a piece of paper. Jonas took a piece, and walked slowly towards the dog.
“Here! Franco, Franco,” said Jonas.
“He’s coming,” said Josey, who remained with Oliver at the sled.
The dog was slowly and timidly approaching the bread which Jonas held out towards him.
“He’s coming,” said Josey. “His name is Franco. I wonder how Jonas knew.”
“Franco, Franco,” said Jonas again. “Come here, Franco. Good Franco!”
The dog came timidly up to Jonas, and took the bread and butter from Josey’s hand, and devoured it eagerly. While he was doing it, Jonas patted him on the head.
“He’s very hungry,” said Jonas; “bring the rest of your bread and butter, Josey.”
So Josey brought the rest of his luncheon, and the dog ate it all.
After this, he seemed to be quite at ease with his new friends. He staid about there with the boys until the sleds were loaded, and then he went down home with them. There they fed him again with a large bone. Jonas said that he was undoubtedly a dog that had lost his master, and had been wandering about to find him, until he became very hungry. So he said they would leave him in the yard to gnaw his bone, and that then he would probably go away. Josey wanted to shut him up and keep him, but Jonas said it would be wrong.
So the boys left the dog gnawing his bone, and went up after another load; but before they had half loaded their sleds, Oliver saw Franco coming, bounding up the road, towards them. He came up to Jonas, and stood before him, looking up into his face and wagging his tail.