“A little farther, and the older son said, ’Alas, my father, I am famished, and my strength has gone from me. I will return and seek my younger brother. When I have found him and we have rested and eaten, we will come and overtake you.’ So he turned back, and that was the last that was seen of him.
“Seeing that her children had turned back, the wife said, ’Be of good courage. I am still with you, I am strong and we shall yet enter the gate of the Happy Hunting Grounds together.’
“The dog said nothing, but though he was hungry, footsore, and weary, he still followed close at his master’s heels.
“Now the trail entered a region of desolate mountains. The way became rough and rocky. Their moccasins were worn from their feet, and there was no food to be found.
“’At last the wife cried, ’Oh, my husband, I am faint and weary. I can go no further. Let us rest here.’ And she sat down beside the trail.
“‘Nay,’ said the hunter, ’I may not stop. The Master of Life must be obeyed. The summons was not to you, but to me. Rest here beside the trail, and when your strength has returned, go back to the wigwam and dwell with our two sons until the Death Man-i-tou comes for you.’
“Then he went on, up the steep trail. He had not noticed the dog, who, footsore and famished, now limped painfully at his heels, and when he camped for the night, came silently and lay down at his feet.
“The next morning, they arose and continued their journey. After many days, they saw far before them a narrow gap between two tall snow-capped mountains. Through this the trail went, and at the further end they found the gateway to the Happy Hunting Ground. Beside the gateway stood the lodge of the keeper of the gate.
“Before the lodge the hunter stopped and lifted up his voice, and cried, ‘The Master of Life called. Here am I.’
“Hearing his cry, the keeper of the gate came from his lodge.
“‘You are welcome,’ said he to the hunter, ’but where are those who set out upon the long trail with you?’
“‘They are not here,’ returned the hunter, ’the way was long and toilsome, and their feet grew weary,’
“‘Who is that,’ again asked the keeper of the gate, ’who stands beside you, and looks upon you with eyes of love?’
“‘That is he,’ said the hunter, ‘who loved me best of all.’
“‘His great love and his faithfulness have made him worthy,’ said the keeper of the gate. ‘He shall enter with you,’ and he opened the gate.
“With a bark of joy the dog sprang forward and entered the Happy Hunting Ground beside the master whom he had loved more than his own life.”
* * * * *
THE HORACE MANN READERS
By Walter L. Hervey, Ph.D., Member of Board of Examiners, New York City; formerly President of Teachers College; and Melvin Hix, B.S., Principal of Public School No. 9, Long Island City, New York City.