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THE STONE DOG

2006-02-28 00:00

  In Puerto Rico many years ago near the Condado Lagoon, there lived a poor fisherman. He lived alone in a hut. His only companion(同伴)was his dog.

  The fisherman and his dog were devoted to each other. They might be seen strolling(散步on the white sandy beach. Or they might be seen coming through the tangle of vines(草藤丛)along the road that led to San Juan. However, there was one place where nobody saw them together. That was in the fisherman's boat. The man never took the dog along with him.

  But the dog was always beside his master as the fisherman made his little boat ready to sail(航行)。When the man pulled out to sea each morning, the dog would scamper(奔跑)up on the high ridge(山岭)that separated the Condado Lagoon from the open sea. There he would sit and watch all day. The dog never moved until late afternoon when he saw the little boat return. Then he would race back to the shore to greet his master. And together the man and the dog would set off for(动身去)San Juan to sell the fresh-caught(刚捕到的)fish.

  As the years went by, the fisherman grew older. So did the faithful dog. The fisherman still went out to sea. The dog still watched for his return, sitting on the high ridge above the lagoon.

  One morning early in September, the fisherman was getting his little boat ready. All at once(突然)the dog began to bark and howl(号叫)。 He circled around the fisherman and tugged(扯)at his trousers. The fisherman could not remember when he had seen his dog act so strangely. He patted the dog's back, thinking the dog wanted to play. But nothing made any difference. The dog kept barking. The fisherman laughed and continued getting ready. Finally he gave the dog another pat. Then the man climbed into the boat and sailed away. The dog went to his watching place, still barking and howling.

  There were other fishing boats out that morning. The sky was blue and the breeze soft and fresh.

  Suddenly the soft breeze changed. It began to blow wildly. The fisherman's boat was seized by the wind and whirled around(随风旋转)。The sky darkened. Rain began to fall.

  ″It's a hurricane(飓风)!″said the fisherman.″A hurricane blowing onshore(向着海岸)!″The man thought of his dog at once. Had the dog left the ridge and run home?Or was he still sitting there?The fisherman tried to steer(驾驶)his boat and turn it toward the shore. Suddenly a great wave swept over his head and tossed the boat away(卷走)。

  When dawn(黎明)came next morning, the hurricane was over. The sky was blue once more. The sea was so calm it was hard to believe it was the same sea that had roared(咆哮)and raged(狂暴)the night before. When the sun rose over the mountains, the families of the other fishermen ran to the shore. They watched for(盼望)the return of the boats. They waited and waited, but no one returned.

  Then the people went slowly back to their homes to endure their grief(悲痛)and start a new life. As they rebuilt their village, no one gave a thought to the fisherman's dog.

  Several months later a group of villagers was out gathering sea grapes(海葡萄)。 They noticed what appeared to be the figure of dog sitting high on the ridge above the lagoon(高坐在咸水湖上面的山岭上)。

  ″Look,″said one.″Isn't that the old fisherman's dog?″

  ″How could it be, after all this time?″said another.

  To prove his point, the first man climbed the ragged(崎岖不平的)stony ridge to get hold of(抓住)the dog. But when he reached the spot, he found only a rock——a rock shaped like a dog. The man came down quickly. But as soon as the people looked up again, they saw the stone dog. His head was held high. His body was alert(警觉的), as if ready to spring into the sea. He just sat there on top of the ridge, waiting, waiting…

  And there he sits today for anyone to see.

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