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The Puppy

A Short Story by Mike Nagel

Once upon a time, in a country in the northernmost part of Europe, there lived two young brothers. The elder brother was called Christian and the younger brother was called Leif.

Both boys were very fond of animals and longed to have a pet. For several months they pestered their parents about this and eventually it was agreed that they could have a dog which was to be shared between them. Now, each boy had really wanted a pet of his own but they realised that their parents were unlikely to agree to this so they settled for the compromise and couldn't wait for the day to arrive when they were to go to the kennels to choose the new puppy. They brought it home and for the next few days they spent all their waking hours playing with the puppy and looking after it.

For a while all went well but soon things started to change. When the puppy needed to be walked, Christian would insist on doing it himself. When the puppy needed to be bathed, Christian would insist on doing it himself. When the puppy needed to be fed, Christian would insist on doing it himself. Of course, Leif protested loudly about Christian's selfishness but, as his brother was bigger and stronger than he was, he couldn't do much about it.

One day Christian put the puppy's lead on to take it for a walk.

“I'll come with you,” said Leif.

“No,” said Christian, “I'll go on my own”.

“Well, if the puppy's all muddy when you come back I'll give it a bath”.

“No, I'll do that too,” said Christian.

“Well then, after you've bathed the puppy, I'll feed him”.

“No,” replied Christian, “when he needs to be fed, I'll do that as well”.

This made Leif very, very angry. Before he realised what he was doing he picked up a large, heavy stone and threw it at his brother. The stone hit Christian on the head and he fell to the ground. Leif was horrified at what he had just done and ran over to where Christian was lying, dazed, on the grass.

“Oh, Christian, I'm really sorry! I didn't mean to hurt you!” he cried, ‘it's just that you always get to do everything with the puppy and I never get a shot”.

Christian looked up at him. “It's okay,” he said, “it's my fault really. I should have remembered something.”

“What's that?” asked Leif, puzzled.

“Well, you know what the grown-ups keep saying.” his brother replied.

"No, what's that?" asked Leif once more.

"Oh, you know, . . . A dog is for Leif - not just for Christian!”

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