The Tale Of The Pointer Tray

: Stories To Read Or Tell From Fairy Tales And Folklore

In a voyage which I made to the East Indies with Captain Hamilton, I took a

favorite pointer with me; he was, to use a common phrase, worth his weight

in gold, for he never deceived me. One day, when we were, by the best

observations we could make, at least three hundred leagues from land, my

dog pointed. I observed him for nearly an hour with astonishment, and

mentioned the circumstance to the captain and every officer on board,
asserting that we must be near land, for my dog smelt game. This occasioned

a general laugh; but that did not alter in the least the good opinion I had

of my dog. After much conversation pro and con, I boldly told the

captain that I placed more confidence in Tray's nose than I did in the eyes

of every seaman on board; and therefore boldly proposed laying the sum I

had agreed to pay for my passage (viz., one hundred guineas) that we should

find game within half an hour. The captain (a good hearty fellow) laughed

again, desired Mr. Crawford, the surgeon, who was prepared, to feel my

pulse. He did so, and reported me in perfect health. The following dialogue

between them took place; I overheard it, though spoken low and at some


Captain. His brain is turned; I cannot with honor accept his wager.

Surgeon. I am of a different opinion. He is quite sane, and depends more

upon the scent of his dog than he will upon the judgment of all the

officers on board; he will certainly lose, and he richly merits it.

Captain. Such a wager cannot be fair on my side; however, I'll take him up,

if I return his money afterwards.

During the above conversation, Tray continued in the same situation, and

confirmed me still more in my opinion. I proposed the wager a second time;

it was then accepted.

Done! and done! were scarcely said on both sides, when some sailors who

were fishing in the long boat, which was made fast to the stern of the

ship, harpooned an exceedingly large shark, which they brought on board

and began to cut up for the purpose of barrelling the oil, when, behold,

they found no less than SIX BRACE OF LIVE PARTRIDGES in this animal's


They had been so long in that situation, that one of the hens was sitting

upon four eggs, and a fifth was hatching, when the shark was opened!

This young bird we brought up by placing it with a litter of kittens that

came into the world a few minutes before. The old cat was as fond of it as

any of her own four-legged progeny, and made herself very unhappy when it

flew out of her reach till it returned again. As to the other partridges,

there were four hens amongst them; one or more were, during the voyage,

constantly sitting, and consequently we had plenty of game at the captain's

table; and in gratitude to poor Tray (for being a means of winning one

hundred guineas) I ordered him the bones daily, and sometimes a whole