“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
Not too many days later, on a bright summer morning, Mom had let me outside to start my day.
I began making my usual rounds, smelling around the fence and the bushes in the front yard. Suddenly I heard Spots calling from the ﬁeld next to ours. “All for one!” he shouted.
“One for all!” I oinked back as I began running around the side of the house and toward the chicken coop. I saw Marvin crawling out from his branch pile as I ran past.
“One for all!” he yawned as he rubbed his sleepy eyes and began to scurry toward the oak tree. All three of us met together at the fence.
“What’s the matter, Spots?” I asked. “Is someone in danger?”
“I think there might be a mystery and a rescue,” said Spots. “Have you ever seen the two goats that live across the street behind the yellow house?”
“I can see part of that backyard from the front of my house,” I said. “Sometimes I lie on my front porch and watch them play.”
“I didn’t even know there were any goats over there. I’ve never been across the street before. I only wander in the ﬁelds on our side of the street,” replied Marvin.
“Well,” Spots said, “I can see their whole yard from over by our barn. I love to watch them run and play while I’m eating my hay.”
“Now suddenly, one of them has disappeared and the other one is tied to a tree with a rope. I think he may be in danger.”
“I can hear him going baaaaa, baaaaa, but I don’t understand goat language.”
“You know, one day your daddy surprised me by speaking pig. He said that he learned it while living on a farm.”
“Maybe this goat came from a farm and he can speak pig or cow, too. Perhaps if you try to talk to him he can understand you,” I said.
“I’ll try,” Spots said and ran over by the barn to see if he could talk to the goat. Marvin and I could barely hear what was going on.
At ﬁrst, it sounded like Spots was grunting and oinking something to the goat across the street. And then after a while, we could hear him mooing and it sounded like the goat was mooing back.
Spots came running back to where Marvin and I were waiting by the oak tree.
“I ﬁrst tried talking in pig,” Spots said, “but he couldn’t understand that. Then I tried mooing in cow, and he understood what I said and could speak a little back.”
“He said that he and his brother did come from a farm. The people were very nice to them at ﬁrst and they always had plenty to eat. But early this morning they took his brother away and left him tied to the tree.”
“He has no food or water and is afraid that something bad is going to happen to him. He said his name is Chester and asked if we could help.”
“This sounds like an emergency!” I said. “He could get sick or die on this hot summer day without food or water. We have to do something right away to rescue him.”
“But what can we do in the daytime?” Spots asked. “If people see us and know that we can get outside of our fences, they may do something to keep us from ever getting out again. Then we would never be able to rescue anyone.”
“I have an idea,” I said. I looked up and down our street. “Most of the cars are gone. When the sun gets high in the sky, Mama and Daddy eat lunch and then lie down for a nap. How about your parents, Spots?”
“That’s the hottest part of the day,” Spots said. “Mom and Dad always ﬁnd a shade tree and will lie under it for hours with their eyes closed chewing on their grass. If they don’t see me, they’ll think that I’m out playing in the ﬁeld.”
“Great!” I said. “I’ll get Mom to let me out after lunch, and as soon as I know that they are asleep, I’ll give the signal and we can meet back here under the tree.”
About that time, I heard Dad whistle and call. “Come here, Jake. Come on, boy. It’s time to come in.”
We all put our noses together. “All for one,” Marvin squeaked. “And one for all,” Spots and I replied.
I ran toward Dad and the front porch while Marvin and Spots went to their places. As I turned the corner at the front of the house, I could hear poor Chester: “baaaaa, baaaaa,” he was crying.
“Don’t worry, Chester,” I thought. “We’ll be there soon.”
The Rescue Club had a busy day ahead of us.
Right after lunch, I went to the front door and barked to go outside.
“Jake,” Mom said as she opened the door. “Do you really want to go outside now? It’s awfully hot out there.”
I gave a little pig grunt that meant, “I’ll be all right Mom” as I lay down on the shady front porch.
“OK then,” she said. “I’ll set you out a bowl of water in case you get thirsty.”
After she had set the bowl down and closed the door, I waited until I thought they might be taking their nap.
I got up and looked through the front window, and there was Dad asleep in his big brown chair and Mom asleep on the couch.
I ran around the side of the house and across the backyard yelling “All for one!”
Spots and Marvin yelled back “and one for all!” as I ran toward the tree.
Spots was already there by the fence and Marvin came running up right behind me. Marvin had a leather bag hanging around his neck.
“What in the world have you got around your neck, Marvin?” I asked.
“It’s a bag full of things that I have found,” Marvin replied. “If the men in the movie could use their swords to rescue people, maybe some of the things that I have found can help us.”
I quickly shared my plan for the rescue with Spots and Marvin. The ﬁrst thing we needed to do was to get out of our fences and over to where Chester was tied.
I ran back to the middle of the yard, turned, and ran as fast as I could toward the fence where Spots was standing.
As I got closer to the fence, I jumped with all of my might, ﬂew through the air over the fence, and landed in Spots ﬁeld. Marvin scurried up the oak tree and jumped down on Spots back.
The three of us crept along the fence toward the street and to a place that Spots had found where the fence wire was loose.
Marvin jumped up onto the fence post, curled his tail around the loose wire and pulled it up while Spots and I squeezed through the fence.
Once outside the fence, I looked up and down the street to make sure no one was coming and no one was outside. We hurried across the street and to the gate that opened into Chester’s yard.
What a sight we must have been to anyone looking out of their windows.
A little black dog with a white furry bottom leading a spotted calf with a possum riding on its back.
(TO BE CONTINUED)