When I was a boy I lived a long way from school. I had to walk through the forest to get to our school. I usually took my father’s gun with me. One day, coming from school, I heard cries from Mr. Epperly’s house. His dog, Old Ranger, had fought with a mad dog, half an hour before. Now all the people were afraid of Old Ranger because the dog could have become mad too. They all asked Mr.Epperly to shoot Old Ranger.
Mr. Epperly said he could not do it himself. He asked some people to do it but nobody agreed. Mr. Epperly came up to me and said, “Joe, why can’t you take the dog with you to the forest on your way home and shoot it?” I told Mr. Epperly I did not want to shoot Old Ranger. “I’ll give you one dollar if you do it”, he said.
I had never had a dollar. I did not want to shoot Old Ranger but now it seemed to me that all the people wanted it. Mr. Epperly gave me one dollar, I took Old Ranger and went to the forest. I knew I could never shoot Old Ranger. So I decided to take him secretly home. At home I explained everything to my mother. She let me keep the dog in the yard for a month.
It was the most difficult time in my life. The Epperly children did not want to walk to school with me. And the other children at school asked me, “What have you done with your dollar?” They did not want to play with me. I could not explain anything to them.
Then came the happy morning. “You can take Old Ranger home now, Joe”, my mother said. “A month is over. The dog isn’t dangerous any more”. I took the dog. He was very happy to go with me.
We were not far from Mr. Epperly’s house. Mr. and Mrs. Epperly were very glad to see Old Ranger and me. Then I gave the dollar back to Mr. Epperly.