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Courage

Half wolf and some other mixture, mangy and nearly dead, the cattle drive boss had found him--hungry, half out of his head.
He'd taken him home on his saddle, figured the pup wouldn't live through the night, but he'd rescued a real good scraper who had the know how to fight.

Ben gave him the name of "Courage". He still didn't think he'd stay long, for a trail herd's no place for a dog to be, but the wolf pup proved him wrong.
Courage padded behind the cattle, wouldn't let a single one stray, and at night he'd lay down by the master, standing guard till the break of day.
They grew mighty close as the years rolled along, a pair pretty special to see.
It was plain the love Ben had for Courage, just as obvious as could be.

  His double shot rifle in scabbard, Ben rode out seeking food for his crew. Courage went running behind him, for where the master went, he'd go too.
Ben drew a bead on a hefty deer, large enough to feed many men. His shot rang out, alerting a bear, that began stalking this Ramrod Ben.
The bear was a rogue and a grizzly, taller then him by a head. It was likely that were there a battle, the victim would wind up dead.

  It had been a beautiful morning, 'neath tall trees, still green and damp, as Ben packed the deer on his Sorrel, and headed on back toward the camp.
  Suddenly from a clearing, came a growl from the savage beast, who had Ben pictured a victim and the deer as a double feast.
He charged at his foe and Ben fell back, rifle gone when his horse shied away. He knew that he'd be a goner, for he'd met his match this day.
Courage came racing from where he'd been, off seeking food of his own. He squarely faced off with the Grizzly, putting his life out on loan.

  When Ben reached the horse and the rifle, and ran back to kill the bear; wasn't much left of old Courage, but a mass of bones and hair.
Ben had been given the gift of life, he'd once gave his half wolf dog. Surely as there is a Heaven, Courage's name was placed in its log.
One day old Ben would ride on, having reached the end of the road. Then riding his Sorrel to a Heavenly place, he would throw off Earth's heavy load.

But for now, when the night is quiet, and fog lays light on the air, Ben thinks he sees old Courage, with his body of grayish wolf hair. The dog keeps riding tag on the cattle, looking up as if seeking old Ben, and stirring up old memories, of what life had been back then.

Someday they'd again be together, riding herd on an Angel crew. Courage will lie down with his master, and rest till the night is through.

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