“‘Well, well,’ said his friend, after looking him over carefully, ’you seem to be in a sad case. What has happened to you?’
“‘Oh,’ replied Sun-ka, speaking with difficulty, ’I tried to get my share of the meat, which my mistress has in her lodge, and she beat me for it. She beat me till I am stiff and sore, and can scarcely move.’
“‘Well,’ said his friend, ’I wouldn’t stand it if I were you. The meat is just as much yours as it is hers. You caught most of it yourself and you helped her to catch the rest of it, I’ll tell you what we’ll do; well pay her off for it. I’ll go and call our friends; I’ll call Rainmaker, Stillbiter, Strongneck, and Sharptooth.’ And so he did.
“Rainmaker caused it to rain, and it rained all the day through until dark, and when it was dark it was very dark. Then Stillbiter crept up softly to the lodge and bit off all the thongs which fastened the covering to the lodge poles.
“When this was done, Strongneck crept in and seized the meat and carried it away. Then Sharptooth ripped open the bag which held the meat, and before morning the six dogs ate it all up.
“When the meat was all gone, Sun-ka ran away and became a wild dog. What became of the old Indian woman I do not know.”
“Served her right,” said the little boy. “If she hadn’t been so stingy with her meat, she wouldn’t have lost it. And Sun-ka would have stayed with her to help catch more.”
It was hot. Little Luke sat on the doorstep in the shade. Over in the pasture Old Boze the Hound gave tongue. He was at his favorite sport of trailing rabbits all by himself. He really didn’t have any spite against the rabbits, but when he struck a fresh trail, he felt that he just must follow it. And when he had puzzled out a balk or break in the trait, he couldn’t for the life of him keep still.
But it was really too hot for trailing, especially when there was nothing in it but fun. The old hound would have stuck to it longer if Sam the hired man had been around somewhere, hiding behind the bushes with his thundering fire-stick. Old Boze wasn’t afraid of the fire-stick. He liked to hear it roar, and see the poor rabbits fall before its deadly breath.
Well, after a while he gave it up and came back to the house. Going around to the doorstep, he lay down on the cool porch with his head close to the little boy’s shoulder. He was tired, and his dripping tongue hung far out from his open mouth. The little boy looked at it.
“Old Boze,” said he, “what a long tongue you have. Why is it that dogs have such long tongues?”
Old Boze shifted his eves uneasily and looked the other way, but said nothing.
“Come, now,” said the little boy, “I am sure there is a story about that long, red tongue of yours.”
“To be sure there is,” said a voice that came from just behind the boy’s ear. He looked around and there was Old Klaws the House Cat.