Philosopher Dog

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I SUPPOSE I must have been half asleep when I heard Snap whine, "Yeow arn yow ell." It sounded like, "You aren't very well. " Strange! I listened again. However, I am fond of Snap, and sometimes talk to him. So I said: "No, I'm not well. Monopole is after the rent of the farm, and I haven't got the money."

"Rent?" said Snap, quite distinctly. "What's rent?"

"Why," said I, "it's what we pay to be allowed to live on any part of the earth that's good for anything. "

"Oh!" said Snap, "you know I caught a rabbit yesterday. He was so fat he could hardly run, so I know all the rabbits will be fat. You aren't as plump as Mr. Monopole."

"No," said I. "You see Monopole's my land lord. I pay him for letting me work this farm."

"Why do you do that?"

"Well," I said, "it's hard to make it clear to an unreasoning mind; but, you see, the King of England granted—that is, eh, —the Indians long ago—er—the people o—I mean that generations past agreed—Oh, say, you couldn't understand that you're a dumb animal."

"Dumb animal!" said Snap, indignantly. " It's you that's dumb. I have yelled at you every night for six years, an you have never even answered me till now. "

"I thought you were baying at the moon," said I, politely.

"Baying! Stuff! Dogs don't bay at the moon. The light keeps me awake, so that I feel the rheumatism, and I yell at you to get me a warm bed. Don't men keep yelling when they are uncomfortable?"

"Well, no," I said. "They mostly say: it's due to hard times, and that there's no good grumbling."

"What did you say dogs are?" said Snap. "Manimals, was it?"

"No, dumb animals," I said.

"I heard you barking at night one November. Were you baying at the moon?"

"No, you stupid beast. I was shouting for Sound Money and Protection."

"Did you get the Sound Money?"

"Oh, yes, we got it all right."

"Then," says Snap, "why don't you pay your rent with it?"

"Well, I didn't exactly get it myself; but the country did."

"And do you own some of the country?"

"N-o, but we all get the Protection."

"What's that?"

"Why," I said, "I will try to be simple. It's a way of keeping people from eating or wearing English things."

"Are English things poison, that you keep people from eating them?"

"Oh, no, they are just as good as ours; but they cost less."

"Then you certainly are rather simple not to use them. Willie has a guinea pig shut up in that little pen in the front yard, so that it can't get at the English clover. Is that Protection?"

"No, that's restriction," I said.

"But if the clover were shut out from the guinea pig, instead of the guinea pig shut in from the clover, would that be Protection?"

"It seems—but we were talking about the landlord," I answered.

"Is Willie the guinea pig's landlord, then?"

"Something like that, " I said, although I had never thought of it before.

"Would the guinea pig stay there if it were as big and wise as you?"

"No, of course not."

"Then is Mr. Monopole bigger and wiser than you?"

"Oh bother! Don't you know old Monopole yourself?"

"If he's no wiser than you, I'm sorry for him," said Snap. "Is"—

"Say, Maria, this dog won't let me rest. I wish you'd put him in the barn."

As Snap was pulled out, I heard him yell out angrily: "Barking at the moon, indeed! Why, the moon is two hundred and forty thousand miles off; but it's not as much off as the master."

Snap thinks too much. Such dogs are dangerous.