Bobby and the Big Road  by Maud Lindsay


T HE ox-wagon man got off to town so early one morning that his wife forgot to give him a sample of some calico that she wanted him to get at the store. She did not remember it till at least two hours after he and Buck and Bright were on their way.

"I'd rather have forgotten anything else," she told Johnny. "Now I can't finish your new waist for there's no telling how long."

"Let's send Daddy the piece of calico by Towser," said Johnny. "He'll catch up with him, I know."

The ox-wagon man's wife was not sure of this, but she thought it would do no harm to try Towser.

So when she had written on a bit of paper how much of the calico she wanted she wrapped the note and the sample in a little bundle and fastened it on the dog's collar.

"Go and find Daddy! Go and find Daddy!" said Johnny.

Towser knew what that meant. "Bow-wow!" he answered, and bounded away to find the trail.

Many people had passed along the Big Road since the ox-wagon man and his oxen had started to town, but Towser sniffed at the ground and hurried on joyfully.

He would not turn aside for anything. When a chipmunk ran right across the road in front of him he only barked, as if to say:

"Bow-wow! Bow-wow! Go where you please. I shall not chase you. I'm going to find my master."

By and by he came to the creek. The ox-wagon man had watered his oxen there. The trail led down to the water's edge; but there it stopped.

Towser stopped, too, and barked at the shining water.

Which way had his master gone? Had he driven through the creek, or had he turned aside into a little road that led to the deep woods?

The yellow dog ran along the creek bank sniffing at the earth. Then—"Bow-wow-wow!"—he bounded up the bank, and across the bridge above the water. Sniff, sniff! Yes, the ox-wagon man had driven through the creek and into the road on the other side. And away went Towser till he came to the great oak-tree that grew by the roadside.

The ox-wagon man had let his oxen rest under the oak-tree, but Towser did not rest there. He only dashed into the shade and out again.

"Bow-wow! Bow-wow!" Where was the ox-wagon man? He was not at the brook where Towser lapped the cool water with his hot red tongue; and he wasn't at the locust-tree.

But—"Bow-wow!"—there he was driving into Bobby's yard!

Towser dashed in behind the wagon, barking with all his might, and the ox-wagon man looked around with a start.

He spied the little bundle at Towser's neck the very first thing, and showed it to Bobby.

Bobby said it was no wonder that Johnny thought Towser was the smartest dog in the world.