"N OW, you must not go in there," said an old dog to a puppy, who stood on the steps of a large house. "You must stay out now."
"Why?" asked the puppy. For it was a habit (and a bad habit) of his to say "Why?" when he was told to do, or not to do, a thing.
"Why," said the old dog. "I cannot say why. I do not know why. But I do know that if you go in when it is a wet day like this, the maid will drive you out."
"But why?" went on the puppy. "It is not fair. There is no sense in it. I have been in the house for days, and no one turned me out, so why should they now?"
"Those were fine days," said the old dog.
"Well, on the wet days I want to be in doors most," said the puppy. "And I don't see why I should stay out. So in I go."
And he did so.
But he soon found that though no one stopped to tell him "why" he must not come in, it was quite true that he might not.
The first to see him was the cook, who had a broom in her hand.
"That dirty puppy!" she cried. "Look at his feet!"
"What is wrong with my feet?" barked the puppy.
She did not wait to tell him. She hit him with the broom, and he fled with a howl up the stairs.
"Oh, that puppy!" cried the maid, as she saw the marks of his feet. "He ought not to come in the house at all, if he will not keep out on wet days."
"But why?" yelped the puppy, as the maid threw a broom at his head.
Still no one told him why. But a man just then came upstairs.
"Why, what a mess!" he said. "Oh, I see. It is that puppy. I thought he knew he must not come in."
"So I did, but I did not know why," growled the puppy, as with sore back and lame feet he crept under a chair.
"Come out, come out," cried the man. "I will not have you in the house at all. Out with you!" And he seized him, and chained him up in the kennel.
"You might have played on the grass if you had stayed there," he said. "But as you will come in the house when you ought not you must be kept where you cannot do so."
And so the young puppy had to stay in the dull kennel. And when at last he was let out, he did not ask "Why?" if he was told to do, or not to do, a thing, but did as he ought at once, like a wise dog.