The Violet Fairy Book HTML version
The Envious Neighbour
Long, long ago an old couple lived in a village, and, as they had no children to love and
care for, they gave all their affection to a little dog. He was a pretty little creature, and
instead of growing spoilt and disagreeable at not getting everything he wanted, as even
children will do sometimes, the dog was grateful to them for their kindness, and never
left their side, whether they were in the house or out of it.
One day the old man was working in his garden, with his dog, as usual, close by. The
morning was hot, and at last he put down his spade and wiped his wet forehead, noticing,
as he did so, that the animal was snuffling and scratching at a spot a little way off. There
was nothing very strange in this, as all dogs are fond of scratching, and he went on
quietly with his digging, when the dog ran up to his master, barking loudly, and back
again to the place where he had been scratching. This he did several times, till the old
man wondered what could be the matter, and, picking up the spade, followed where the
dog led him. The dog was so delighted at his success that he jumped round, barking
loudly, till the noise brought the old woman out of the house.
Curious to know if the dog had really found anything, the husband began to dig, and very
soon the spade struck against something. He stooped down and pulled out a large box,
filled quite full with shining gold pieces. The box was so heavy that the old woman had
to help to carry it home, and you may guess what a supper the dog had that night! Now
that he had made them rich, they gave him every day all that a dog likes best to eat, and
the cushions on which he lay were fit for a prince.
The story of the dog and his treasure soon became known, and a neighbour whose garden
was next the old people's grew so envious of their good luck that he could neither eat nor
sleep. As the dog had discovered a treasure once, this foolish man thought he must be
able to discover one always, and begged the old couple to lend him their pet for a little
while, so that he might be made rich also.
'How can you ask such a thing?' answered the old man indignantly.
'You know how much we love him, and that he is never out of our sight for five minutes.'
But the envious neighbour would not heed his words, and came daily with the same
request, till at last the old people, who could not bear to say no to anyone, promised to
lend the dog, just for a night or two. No sooner did the man get hold of the dog than he
turned him into the garden, but the dog did nothing but race about, and the man was
forced to wait with what patience he could.
The next morning the man opened the house door, and the dog bounded joyfully into the
garden, and, running up to the foot of a tree, began to scratch wildly. The man called
loudly to his wife to bring a spade, and followed the dog, as he longed to catch the first
glimpse of the expected treasure. But when he had dug up the ground, what did he find?
Why, nothing but a parcel of old bones, which smelt so badly that he could not stay there
a moment longer. And his heart was filled with rage against the dog who had played him
this trick, and he seized a pickaxe and killed it on the spot, before he knew what he was
doing. When he remembered that he would have to go with his story to the old man and
his wife he was rather frightened, but there was nothing to be gained by putting it off, so
he pulled a very long face and went to his neighbour's garden.