The noble Newfoundland dog has often been the means of saving the life of a drowning man, but here is a story of one who saved the whole crew of a ship.
A heavy gale was blowing, when a vessel was seen drifting toward the coast of Kent. She struck on the beach and the breaking waves dashed over her in foam. Eight men were seen holding on to the wreck, but no ordinary boat could go to their aid in such a sea; and in those days there were no life-boats on that part of the coast.
The people watching on shore feared every moment that the poor sailors would be washed off the ship and drowned; for although the ship was not far from the land, it was too far for anyone to swim through the foaming breakers.
If a rope could be taken from the wreck to the shore, the sailors might be saved. How could this be done? A gentleman, who was standing on the beach with a large Newfoundland dog by his side, thought he saw how it could be managed. He put a short stick in his dog’s mouth, and then pointed to the vessel. The brave dog knew what his master wanted, and, springing into the sea, he fought his way bravely through the waves.
When he reached the ship, he tried to climb up its side, but in vain. He was seen, however, by the crew, and they made fast a light rope to another piece of wood, which they threw towards him. The wise animal again seemed to understand what was meant, and, seizing this piece of wood, he turned his head towards the shore to carry it to his master. This time the wind and waves helped him on his way; but he was almost worn out when he reached the shore, dragging the rope after him, and laid the piece of wood at his master’s feet.
A stronger rope was then tied to the first one by the sailors, and one end of it was pulled onshore. Along this rope the sailors made their way one by one to the land and in this way every man on board was saved, through the courage and wisdom of the brave dog.
Storytime Treasury, compiled by P. G. Temple, Harvestime Books, Altamont, Tennessee 37301.