Rescue Dog of the High Pass – Chapter 14: The Message
By Jim Kjelgaard
(Read Chapter 13 here)
The fire in the refectory’s great fireplace roared. The Prior, the Canons, the Sacristan, and everyone else who lived at the Hospice of St. Bernard and did not have to be away on some urgent business, were gathered around it.
Jean Greb, who felt well enough to sit up by now, occupied a chair in front of the fire. Shaken and thoroughly chilled, but not seriously injured, Professor Luttman lay on Jean’s pallet.
The Prior said, “Let us have the dog brought forth. Even though he cannot understand it, he should hear the message.”
All eyes turned to Franz, beside whom Caesar had been sitting only recently. The boy looked toward the door.
Caesar, who had accepted the stable but found the refectory much too hot, was waiting just inside the door. His jaws were spread and his tongue lolled. He wagged his tail at Franz and whined, obviously an invitation for his master to open the door and let him out into the comfortable snow.
“He finds the fire much too hot.” The boy spoke with a free tongue from a happy heart. He wondered now why he had ever been overawed by the Prior or anyone else at the Hospice. Beneath their somber habits beat very warm and wonderful hearts. If it were any other way, they would not be here. Franz finished, “He wants me to let him out.”
“A true dog of the high pass,” the Prior said. “Very well, Franz. You may let him out.”
The boy walked to the door, opened it, and Caesar trotted out gratefully. He began to roll in the snow. Franz returned to his place.
The Prior said, “All of us know of the miracle, a miracle wrought by a young maronnier and his dog. Now we shall hear the message Professor Luttman carries.”
“I have imparted the message to you,” Professor Luttman protested. “You are the proper person to tell Franz.”
“Not I!” The Prior laughed. “I am merely an onlooker here, and I must say that, for once, I thoroughly enjoy the spectator’s role. Proceed, Professor Luttman.”
“Very well.” The Professor turned to Franz. “Do you know what I really thought the day I expelled you from my school?”
“You thought I was too stupid to learn,” Franz replied.
“No such thing!” Professor Luttman denied. “I thought, ‘There goes an Alpinist, one who can never discover in my beloved books any of the inspiration that he finds in his beloved mountains. It is truly unjust to keep him in school when he does not belong here.’ I thought also that, one day, you would make your mark in the world.”
“I am just a maronnier at St. Bernard Hospice,” Franz protested.
“And how grateful I am because you are ‘just a maronnier,’” Professor Luttman said. “Were you not, I would have died in the snow.”
“They would have found you,” Franz insisted.
“We would not!” Anton Martek spoke up. “We would have continued digging where we thought he was. It never occurred to any of us that he might be three hundred feet away and down the wall of snow.”
“That is true,” Father Benjamin agreed.
“Very true,” said Father Mark.
“So I am alive today because of you and Caesar,” Professor Luttman continued. “Emil Gottschalk lives for the same reason. He wanted to give you—” Professor Luttman named a greater sum of money than the boy had ever thought existed.
“I would not accept his money,” Franz asserted firmly.
Professor Luttman said, “So I told him, so your father told him, too, but both of us agreed that the Hospice of St. Bernard might well use it. Now the Prior and I have talked, and the Prior declares that you shall decide how that money may be spent.”
Franz murmured, “I would like enough to keep Caesar in food, so that he will not be sent away from the Hospice.”
The Prior laughed. “If there was any danger of Caesar being sent away—and there isn’t the slightest—there is enough money to feed him for the next hundred years and a vast sum besides.”
Cold as the arm was, he could still feel the pulse that beat within it.
Franz looked appealingly at the Prior. “I am not worthy to spend a sum so huge!”
“You must,” the Prior told him. “No one else can.”
Franz turned his troubled eyes to the floor. After a moment, he looked up.
“There is only one thing I would do,” he said finally. “I would go down into the villages, the mountain villages where people and animals alike must learn the arts of the snow. I would buy more Alpine Mastiffs, dogs such as Caesar, and bring them to the Hospice. I am sure you may find someone with sufficient skill to train them properly.”
“And I am equally sure we already have someone,” the Prior declared. “His name is Franz Halle. This is a day of great joy for all of us. Think of the lives that would have been lost but will be saved after we have these—
“These dogs of St. Bernard.”
This is the end of “Rescue Dog of the High Pass,” so today we’d like to know what you thought of the book. Give us a review of the story. Leave your review below or email it with contact info (to get your JD Water bottle) to email@example.com
Look up these vocabulary words, define them and use each in a sentence.
CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK
- Anton Martek — Franz’ boss at the Hospice
- The Alps — A mountain range in Europe
- Aunt Maria Reissner — A relative of Franz
- Caesar — An alpine mastiff (usually called a St. Bernard) owned by Franz
- Dornblatt — Not a person, but the town where this chapter takes place
- Erich Erlic — A resident of Dornblatt, known for having a good skill with his saw
- Emil Gottschalk — A rich landowner in Dornblatt
- Father Benjamin — A traveler with great knowledge
- Father Paul — The priest of Dornblatt
- Franz Halle — A school boy and owner of Caesar
- Grandpa Eissman — An old man in town that Franz helps. Eissman was an expert mountaineer.
- Hermann Gottschalk — The son of Emil and schoolmate to Franz
- Hertha Bittner — One of Franz’ schoolmates
- Jean Geiser — A missing hunter
- Jean Greb — A handicapped man helped by Franz
- Lispeth Halle — The mother of Franz
- Professor Luttman — The school teacher
- Paul Maurat — Head of the kitchen at the hospice
- Widow Geiser — A woman who runs a farm in Dornblatt
- Willi Resnick — One of Franz’ schoolmates
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In this video, we see a whole lot of Saint Bernards. A veritable colony of Saint Bernards! http://youtu.be/PgIz1Add98sRead More