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The Snow Man

I don't bite those two."

"But what are they supposed to be?" asked the Snow Man. "Sweethearts!" replied the Watchdog. "They'll go to move into the same kennel someday and gnaw the same bone together. Away! Away!"

"But are they as important as you and I?" asked the Snow Man.

"Why, they are members of the master's family," said the Watchdog. "People certainly don't know very much if they were only born yesterday; I can tell that from you. Now I have age and knowledge. I know everybody here in the house, and I know a time when I didn't have to stand out here in the cold, fastened to a chain. Away! Away!"

"The cold is lovely," said the Snow Man. "But tell me, tell me. Only don't rattle that chain; it makes me shiver inside when you do that."

"Away! Away!" barked the Watchdog. "They used to tell me I was a pretty little puppy, when I lay in a velvet-covered chair, up in the master's house, or sat in the mistress' lap. They used to kiss me on the nose and wipe my paws with an embroidered handkerchief.

"They called me 'the handsomest' and 'little puppsy-wuppsy.' But then I grew too big for them to keep, so they gave me away to the housekeeper. That's how I came to live down in the basement. You can look down into it from where you're standing; you can look right into the room where I was master, for that was what I was to the housekeeper. Of course, the place was inferior to that upstairs, but I was more comfortable there and wasn't constantly grabbed and pulled about by the children as I had been upstairs. I had just as good food as ever, and much more of it. I had my own cushion, and then there was a stove, which is the finest thing in the world at this time of year. I crept right in under it, so that I was out of the way. Ah, I still dream of that stove sometimes. Away! Away!"

"Does a stove look so beautiful?" asked the Stone Man. "Does it look like me?"

"It's just the opposite of you. It's as black as coal and has a long neck and a brass stomach. It eats firewood, so that fire spurts from its mouth.

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