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A Good Dog








_Of a foolish and rich village cure who buried his dog in the
church-yard; for which cause he was summoned before his Bishop, and
how he gave 60 gold crowns to the Bishop, and what the Bishop said to
him--which you will find related here._


Listen if you please to what happened the other day to a simple village
cure. This good cure had a dog which he had brought up, and which
surpassed every other dog in the country in fetching a stick out of the
water, or bringing a hat that his master had forgotten, and many other
tricks. In short, this wise and good dog excelled in everything, and his
master so loved him that he never tired of singing his praises.

At last, I know not how, whether he ate something that disagreed with
him, or whether he was too hot or too cold, the poor dog became very
ill, and died, and went straightway to wherever all good dogs do go.

What did the honest cure do? You must know that his vicarage adjoined
the church-yard, and when he saw his poor dog quit this world, he
thought so wise a beast ought not to be without a grave, so he dug
a hole near the door of his house, and in the church-yard, and there
buried his dog. I do not know if he gave the dog a monument and an
epitaph, I only know that the news of the good dog's death spread over
the village, and at last reached the ears of the Bishop, together with
the report that his master had given him holy burial.

The cure was summoned to appear before the Bishop, who sent a sergeant
to fetch him.

"Alas!" said the cure, "what have I done, and why have I to appear
before the Bishop? I am much surprised at receiving this summons."

"As for me," said the sergeant, "I do not know what it is for, unless it
is because you buried your dog in the holy ground which is reserved for
the bodies of Christians."

"Ah," thought the cure to himself, "that must be it," and it occurred
to him that he had done wrong, but he knew that he could easily escape
being put into prison, by paying a fine, for the Lord Bishop--God be
praised--was the most avaricious prelate in the Kingdom, and only kept
those about him who knew how to bring grist to the mill.

"At any rate I shall have to pay, and it may as well be soon as late."

On the appointed day, he appeared before the Bishop, who immediately
delivered a long sermon about the sin of burying a dog in consecrated
ground, and enlarged on the offence so wonderfully that he made it
appear that the cure had done something worse than deny God; and at the
end he ordered the cure to be put in prison.

When the cure found that he was to be shut up in the stone box, he
demanded permission to be heard, and the Bishop gave him leave to speak.

You must know that there were a number of notable persons at this
convocation--the judge, the prosecutor, the secretaries, and notaries,
advocates, and procureurs, who were all much amused at this unusual case
of the poor cure who had buried his dog in consecrated ground.

The cure spoke briefly in his defence, to this effect.

"Truly, my Lord Bishop, if you had known my poor dog as well as I did,
you would not be surprised that I gave him Christian burial, for his
like was never seen;" and then he began to recount his doings.

"And as he was so good and wise when he was living, he was still more so
at his death; for he made a beautiful will, and, as he knew your poverty
and need, he left you fifty golden crowns, which I now bring you."

So saying, he drew the money from his bosom and gave it to the Bishop,
who willingly received it, and greatly praised the good dog, and
approved of his will, and was glad to know that he had received
honourable sepulture.


*****





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