This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
I am sorry that I do not know the name of a certain shepherd’s dog, but which deserves to be recorded in letters of gold.
His master, who had charge of a flock which fed among the Grampian Hills, set out from home one day accompanied by his little boy, scarcely more than four years old. The children of Scottish shepherds begin learning their future duties at an early age. The day, bright at first, passed on, when a thick mist began to rise, shrouding the surrounding country. The shepherd, seeing this, hurried onward to collect his scattered flock, calling his dog to his assistance, and leaving his little boy at a spot where he believed that he should easily find him again. The fog grew thicker and thicker; and so far had the flock rambled, that some time passed before they could be collected together.
On his return to look for his child, the darkness had increased so much that he could not discover him. The anxious father wandered on, calling on his child—but no answer came; his dog, too, had disappeared. He had himself lost his way. At length the moon rose, when he discovered that he was not far from his own cottage. He hastened towards it, hoping that the child had reached it before him; but the little boy had not appeared, nor had the dog been seen. The agony of the parents can be better imagined than described. No torches were to be procured, and the shepherd had to wait till daylight ere he could set out with a companion or two to assist him in his search. All day he searched in vain. On his return, sick at heart, at nightfall, he heard that his dog had appeared during the day, received his accustomed meal of a bannock, and then scampered off at full speed across the moor, being out of sight before any one could follow him.
All night long the father waited, expecting the dog to return; but the animal not appearing, he again, as soon as it was daylight, set off on his search. During his absence, the dog hurried up to the cottage, as on the previous day, and went off again immediately he had received his bannock.
At last, after this had occurred on two more successive days, the shepherd resolved to remain at home till his dog should appear, and then to follow him.
The sagacious animal appearing as before, at once understood his master’s purpose, and instead of scampering off at full speed, kept in sight as he led the way across the moor. It was then seen that he held in his mouth the larger portion of the cake which had been given him. The dog conducted the shepherd to a cataract which fell roaring and foaming amid rocks into a ravine far down below. Descending an almost perpendicular cliff, the dog entered a cavern, close in front of which the seething torrent passed. The shepherd with great difficulty made his way to it, when, as he reached the entrance, he saw his child, unhurt, seated on the ground eating the cake brought by the dog, who stood watching his young charge thus occupied, with a proud consciousness of the important duty he had undertaken.
The father, embracing his child, carried him up the steep ascent, down which it appeared he had scrambled in the dark, happily reaching the cave. This he had been afraid to quit on account of the torrent; and here the dog by his scent had traced him, remaining with him night and day, till, conscious that food was as necessary for the child as for himself, he had gone home to procure him some of his own allowance.
Thus the faithful animal had, by a wonderful exercise of his reasoning power, preserved the child’s life.