英语故事 少儿英语童话故事:THE SNOW MAN(2)

“Who are these two?” asked the Snow Man of the yard-dog. “You have been here longer than I have; do you know them?”

“Of course I know them,” replied the yard-dog; “she has stroked my back many times, and he has given me a bone of meat. I never bite those two.”

“But what are they?” asked the Snow Man.

“They are lovers,” he replied; “they will go and live in the same kennel by-and-by, and gnaw at the same bone. Away, away!”

“Are they the same kind of beings as you and I?” asked the Snow Man.

“Well, they belong to the same master,” retorted the yard-dog. “Certainly people who were only born yesterday know very little. I can see that in you. I have age and experience. I know every one here in the house, and I know there was once a time when I did not lie out here in the cold, fastened to a chain. Away, away!”

“The cold is delightful,” said the Snow Man; “but do tell me tell me; only you must not clank your chain so; for it jars all through me when you do that.”

“Away, away!” barked the yard-dog; “I’ll tell you; they said I was a pretty little fellow once; then I used to lie in a velvet-covered chair, up at the master’s house, and sit in the mistress’s lap. They used to kiss my nose, and wipe my paws with an embroidered handkerchief, and I was called ‘Ami, dear Ami, sweet Ami.’ But after a while I grew too big for them, and they sent me away to the housekeeper’s room; so I came to live on the lower story. You can look into the room from where you stand, and see where I was master once; for I was indeed master to the housekeeper. It was certainly a smaller room than those up stairs; but I was more comfortable; for I was not being continually taken hold of and pulled about by the children as I had been. I received quite as good food, or even better. I had my own cushion, and there was a stove- it is the finest thing in the world at this season of the year. I used to go under the stove, and lie down quite beneath it. Ah, I still dream of that stove. Away, away!”

“Does a stove look beautiful?” asked the Snow Man, “is it at all like me?”

“It is just the reverse of you,’ said the dog; “it’s as black as a crow, and has a long neck and a brass knob; it eats firewood, so that fire spurts out of its mouth. We should keep on one side, or under it, to be comfortable. You can see it through the window, from where you stand.”

Then the Snow Man looked, and saw a bright polished thing with a brazen knob, and fire gleaming from the lower part of it. The Snow Man felt quite a strange sensation come over him; it was very odd, he knew not what it meant, and he could not account for it. But there are people who are not men of snow, who understand what it is. “‘And why did you leave her?” asked the Snow Man, for it seemed to him that the stove must be of the female sex. “How could you give up such a comfortable place?”

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