In our last episode of the legend of the old Sea Dog, our trusty friend had just been rescued from a watery grave by a boy who noticed his plight. The two rested on the shore, panting and full of relief at the success of the rescue.
“Let’s go find your peg leg,” the boy exclaimed. “I saw where that man dropped it on the ground. I hope it’s still there.”
The two went together to the place where Brutus had caught the Sea Dog, and they searched on the side of the road, where they finally found it in a patch of tall weeds. The boy carefully attached it, and the Sea Dog trotted by his side, grateful to no longer be a tripod. The two of them went together to a remote, hollowed-out place in the base of a cliff where the boy usually stayed.
“I’m going to catch a fish for you and me to eat,” the boy said. He cast a line into the sea and caught a couple of fine fish. Then he cleaned the fish, built a fire, and carefully cooked the fish over the coals. He allowed the Sea Dog’s fish to cool before offering it to him, and the two ate together happily.
“I’m awful happy to have a friend,” the boy said. “I’m glad you lived.” The Sea Dog rested his head on the boy’s knee and the boy stroked his ears. “Why anyone would want to kill you is beyond me.”
The next morning, the two of them went to the wharf and the boy went from one ship to the next, looking for work. “Mister, need any help? Got any work for a boy to do? Hey sailor, need an able-bodied boy to help you?” But everyone brushed him aside, looking at his ragged clothes and not taking him seriously.
Finally, the two of them found an out-of-the-way place and sat, watching the bustle of activity as the ships came and went.
It was late afternoon when Bill and his crew arrived at the wharf to return to their ship. They were full of mixed feelings, joyful at the return of their captain, but sorrowful over the loss of their beloved Sea Dog.
As they neared the ship, the boy observed them and knew that he had not yet approached them for a job. Here, he thought, was one last chance.
He got up and drew near to the group of sailors, the Sea Dog following him, and he started to say, “Mister, got any work—” when to his surprise, the captain’s face broke into a wide smile and he stretched his arms open wide. The boy wasn’t sure what to make of this reception until he saw, an instant later, the Sea Dog race from behind him and rush up to the captain, wagging and yelping with delight.
“Sparky!” Bill exclaimed. “I didn’t think I would ever see you again! How did you escape?” He raised his eyes to the boy standing there.
“What’s your name, son?” he asked.
“Peter, sir,” the boy said.
“Know anything about this dog, my boy?” Bill said.
Peter told him the story, and Bill and the sailors made exclamations of admiration as they listened.
“You have saved my dog’s life, Peter,” Bill said solemnly when Peter had finished. “I’d like to give you a reward. The 3000 ducats that we didn’t need to use to buy me back are yours. Plus, our ship needs a cabin boy. Would you like to sail on with us? I’ll give you your training and your pay.”
“Yes, sir!” Peter exclaimed. “Thank you, sir.”
“Welcome aboard,” Bill said, and there was much back-slapping and congratulations all around.
To be continued.
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