Saturday, December 8, 2012
the limping puppy
One fine May morning a hillside farmer had just finished putting up a sign that read 'Puppies For Sale', when who should he see pulling a wagon along the path but a small boy. I'm sure you know signs like that do have a way of attracting children.
'How much are you going to sell the puppies for?', he asked.
The farmer replied, 'They're working dogs so I'll be asking $50.'
The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he said. "Can I please look at them?"
The farmer smiled and said, 'Right this way', pointing to the old barn next to the house.
Sure enough there were puppies, very lively, curious puppies who came bounding toward the little boy from every direction. He hardly knew which one to pat next but after a few moments spent tickling bellies, being poked by little wet noses, and having his clothes nipped by excited puppy teeth, he noticed one pup who had lagged behind all the others. Immediately the little boy singled out the limping puppy and asked,
"What's wrong with that little dog?'
The farmer explained that the veterinarian had examined the puppy and had found it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. This news didn't deter the little boy at all.
'That is the puppy I want to buy.'
The farmer said, 'No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll give him to you.'
The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the farmer's eyes and said, 'I don't want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.'
The farmer protested, 'You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.'
To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked over at the farmer and softly replied:
'Well, I don't run so well myself, and this puppy will need someone who understands.'
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I've spent a fair amount of time this year doing background work for a story I wrote last spring. A narrative is one thing but the most difficult part has been trying to determine how many illustrations to do and just how to relate them to one another. When I happened across a version of this little story at a Buddhist website I thought it might be fun to illustrate since it was short and the message very sweet. There was no mention of who had written it though, so I went in search of the story by name and found two other adaptations - one on a Christian site and the other on a Hindu chat page. It appeared it has a somewhat universal appeal and by that point I figured it was available for me to play with in my own way. The only change I made to the original was setting it in the countryside rather than a pet store. Happily the last two paintings appeared much faster than the first and I learned a few things along the way.
I'm not sure if parents read to their children anymore or if it's all about rerunning favorite sections of Pixar movies and playing video games. Ah well, I draw and paint to keep myself entertained and, hopefully, to provide my friends with a little respite from the all you can handle and more you can't news programming.
I hope you enjoyed the story. If you wrote it please let me know.