Tired out at last and hungry, he felt himself so feeble that he could go no further, but sat himself down upon the ground, crying most bitterly. In this situation he remained for some time, till at last the little dog, who had never forsaken him, came up to him, wagging his tail, and holding something in his mouth. The little, boy took it from him, and saw it was a handkerchief nicely pinned together, which someone had dropped and the dog had picked up; and upon opening it he found several slices of bread and meat, which the little boy ate with great satisfaction, and felt himself extremely refreshed with his meal. “So,” said the little boy, “I see that if I have given you a breakfast you have given me a supper, and a good turn is never lost, not even to a dog.”
He then once more attempted to escape from the woods, but it was to no purpose; he only scratched his legs with the briars, and slipped down in the dirt, without being able to find his way out. He was just going to give up all further attempts in despair, when he happened to see a horse feeding before him, and going up to him saw, by the light of the moon which just then began to shine a little, that it was the very same horse he had fed in the morning. “Perhaps,” said the little boy, “this creature that I have been so good to will let me get upon his back, and he may bring me out of the wood, as he is accustomed to feed in this neighborhood.”
The little boy then went up to the horse, speaking to him and stroking him, and the horse let him mount his back without opposition, and then proceeded slowly through the wood, grazing as he went, till he brought him to an opening which led to the high road. The little boy was much rejoiced at this and said: “If I hadn’t saved the creature’s life in the morning I should have been obliged to have stayed here all the night. I see by this that a good deed is never lost.”
But the poor little boy had yet a greater danger to undergo, for as he was going along a solitary lane two men rushed out upon him, laid hold of him, and were going to strip him of his clothes; but just as they were beginning to do it the little dog bit the leg of one of the men with so much violence that he left the little boy and pursued the dog, which ran howling and barking away. In this instant a voice was heard that cried out: “There are the rascals! Let us knock them down!” which frightened the remaining man so much that he ran away, and his companion followed him.
The little boy then looked up, and saw that it was the sailor whom he had relieved in the morning, carried upon the shoulders of the blind man whom he had helped out of the pond. “There, my little dear!” said the sailor. “God be thanked! we have come in time to do you a service in return for what you did us in the morning. As I lay under a hedge I heard these villains talk of robbing a little boy that from the description I concluded must be you; but I was so lame that I should not have been able to come time enough to help you if I had not met this honest blind man, who took me upon his back, while I showed him the way.” The little boy thanked them very gratefully for thus defending him, and they went all together to his father’s house, which was not far off, where they were all kindly entertained with a supper and bed.