MY DOG LUKIE

Some dogs sit on cushions and have their hair brushed and combed.

Some dogs go out with hunters who shoot at ducks and the dogs bring back the birds that fall out of the sky.

Some dogs just sit around the house and bark when they want to go out, and just after they've gone out they bark because they want to come back in.

My dog, Lukie, is a different sort of dog. Lukie seems to know when I'm happy and want to play, and when I'm sad he comes near me to cheer me up. And we go on adventures together.

One day we had just left the house where we live and walked a little way when Lukie saw a hole by the road. He barked outside it once or twice, looked at me, wagged his tail, and went in. I knelt down to call him to come out, and I could see him down there in some sort of room. The next thing I knew was that I had fallen in.

When I woke up I wasn't hurt at all. I could see a small stove, and a table had a plate with eggs and ham on it. It made me feel hungry. But there was no one there. Lukie was going around the sides of the room sniffing and wagging his tail, so there was nothing to be afraid of. Then I noticed a door.

I knew that if we stayed out too long everyone at home would be worried about us, and they'd never find us, even though we were so close to the house. But, there was this door. It would do no harm just to open it. So I did, and on the other side there was a narrow passageway or tunnel. It didn't seem to have any lights, but yet it wasn't dark either. Lukie rushed in, and I had to follow him.

The tunnel sloped down a little, and we went around one turn after another, until just a little way ahead was a cave which also seemed well lit. There was a dock right in front of us, and a canoe with a paddle in it, and a life jacket.

Lukie stopped and looked at me. I really only got into the canoe to see what it was like, but Lukie jumped in after me. I thought I had better put the life jacket on. Lukie was moving about in the bow end of the canoe and must have knocked the rope off the post, because we started drifting away from the dock.

At first I thought it was fun, but the water looked dark and deep and had little swirls in it like bath water running out. Then when I tried to paddle back, the canoe didn't get any closer to the dock. It must have been an underground river because we kept moving further and further away into the cave. Before long we drifted around a bend and were quite alone down there. Now we were in a bigger cave than before. Lukie was very good and sat quite still in the bow of the canoe looking in front of him. Then he must have seen or heard something he didn't like because he barked. The sound went echoing around and around the cave and made a terrible noise, almost like laughing at us. And a huge cloud of bats jumped off the rock sides of the great cave.

There must have been thousands and thousands of them. I could never count so many. They made hardly any noise but they didn't look very nice and some flew quite close. They looked like mice with wings and no tails. I was really scared. Lukie kept looking at them and had his ear flaps lifted. I think he heard something I couldn't but he didn't bark any more.

Then I said to Lukie, "I don't know how we're going to get out of this."

The echoes kept coming back one after the other, "how we're going to get out of this", on and on it went, but it died away after a while. And still we kept drifting along. I had given up trying to paddle anywhere, and just kept steering the canoe clear of the sharp rocks at the water's edge so that we wouldn't get a hole in the canoe and have water come in and sink it.

We slowly drifted out of that cave and through a narrow entrance where both Lukie and I had to crouch down. Then we were in another cave. We could still see enough to make out the size of it, which was very big, and there seemed to be a rocky ledge and some sand next to it on our right. It looked as though there were some things on the rock, and when we got closer I could see a big box with a rounded top, and beside it with its back to the rock wall was a white skeleton with a long black hat on its head.

There was a sword in its right hand and a dagger beside it.

It looked really creepy and I began to tremble all over, I was so scared. The skeleton seemed to be staring right back at me and grinning at me.

It wasn't much use trying to paddle further away and I had to let the canoe drift right by it.

Just then a voice behind me said, "I bet there's a treasure in that box." I nearly jumped into the water I was so scared. But Lukie turned round and wagged his tail, so I looked behind me and there standing on the very end of the canoe was a little man about as tall as my hand. He wore a brown suit, white shirt and gold tie, and gold rimmed glasses perched on his nose.

"I'm Dr. Dewgood," he said. "I've come to help you."

"You might have been more afraid of him when he was alive," said Dr. Dewgood. "He can't do you any harm now." Then he jumped down and walked to the middle of the canoe, and hopped up on to the seat there. Now he could look over the side and he looked all around us.

"Let me see," he said, "in a few minutes you'll find the river splits into two parts. You must go to the right. As soon as you see it ahead of you, paddle to the right as hard as you can, whatever you do, don't get carried over to the left side because it gets

very fast and there are rapids down there. And then a steep waterfall runs over some high cliffs."

He hadn't long finished speaking when we could see the way the river curved around to the left. The right side wasn't really a part of the river, more a little backwater, and I had to paddle as hard as I could to move the canoe over to it. The river kept pulling us the other way.

I didn't seem to be able to manage it. Then Dr. Dewgood said, "Lukie, jump in and help your master." And so he did. He jumped over the side of the canoe and tried to push it in the right direction, but he had tipped the canoe when he jumped out. It turned over and I fell into the water. It was cold, and felt very, very wet. I couldn't have tied the life jacket on properly because after a few minutes it lifted over my head and disappeared downstream. The canoe had already floated away, and the paddle with it. I hung on to Lukie's collar and he paddled with all four feet just as fast as he could, and I tried my best to swim as well.

Suddenly, I found there was something under my feet, and I was standing with my head just above water. I kept walking the way Dr. Dewgood had said, and Lukie beside me. I seemed to have walked a long way when first my head and shoulders came out of the water, then my waist, then my knees, and soon the water was only around my feet. It was quite sandy now and I could see bright light ahead. We walked around another bend in the tunnel and now I could see trees and grass and a park. But there was a big iron grating in the way. It must have been to stop people coming in, but we couldn't get out. Lukie put his nose right through the bars and barked and barked and barked.

There were some people picnicking at a table under the trees, with a little stream running by. It looked very pretty there, but they should have seen how it looked underground. A man got up and came over to where we were.

"Please help, we can't get out," I said.

"I'll get you out," the man said. "You stay right there."

He went to his car and drove off. I was cold and wet, and kept jumping up and down to stay warm, but Lukie just shook himself and the water came flying off him.

A while later a big fire truck came driving up with its siren blowing and horn honking.

The firemen got out and ran up to us. When they saw we weren't hurt at all they went back to the truck and brought a big, acetylene torch and cut through two of the iron bars, and so Lukie and I both got out.

As they took us home they asked me how we got there. I said we fell down a hole by the roadside, but I didn't say anything about the canoe or Dr. Dewgood. He had disappeared as suddenly as he'd come. I don't think they'd have believed the part about Dr. Dewgood anyway.

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