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How the Dog Got Its Wet Nose
Kenneth Steven


A long, long time ago, not long after the world began, it started to rain. This was the kind of rain that really soaks you, that hammers down from the heavens like steel rods and simply never stops.
   But one man called Noah was wise, he began building a lifeboat. It was made of great huge trees and it was called the Ark.
   Noah went round everywhere gathering together all the creatures he could think of. He even invited onto the Ark slugs, spiders and other slimy creepy-crawlies most people get rid of by spraying or standing on.
   Last of all the dog paddedon board to Noah. He was such a funny mixture of things it was impossible to tell what sort of dog he really was. But one thing was for sure, he had a big, black, soft nose.
   Then the ark gave a great groan and listed to one side. Noah held his breath, for he was afraid that the Ark was so huge and heavily laden that it wouldn’t be able to float at all. Then came a mighty wave, and the boat went from one side to the other. But it floated all the same, and began its voyage into the unknown.
   They sailed away over the great sea. The land had vanished, and all that remained were sea and sky. The rain fell heavier than ever, and from the black clouds came zigzags of lightning like snake tongues. But apart from the noise of the rain and the thunder, there was complete quiet. There were no other sounds in the whole world.
   Apart from on the Ark, of course! There it was never still day or night – there was always the shriek of parrots or the howl of a hyena. Noah had no peace and not a wink of sleep. He was too busy finding hay for horses or hazelnuts for squirrels, or unmentionable things for pythons. As soon as the last animal had had dinner, it was time to think about breakfast for the first again.
   Then, early one morning, after they’d been our on the great sea for twenty days and twenty nights, something utterly awful happened. They sprang a leak! The hole between the planks wasn’t bigger than a nut. Perhaps not much in a boat the size of a football pitch, you might think. But before Noah had time to shout ‘Help!’, there was water everywhere and a rabbit had to be rescued. ‘What in all the world are we going to do now?’ Noah said to the dog. They needed a plan, and fast!
   The donkeys brayed, the monkeys shrieked, the mice clapped their little paws, and Noah and Mrs Noah danced on the deck for joy. At last the leak was fixed.
   The rain fell for forty days and forty nights, and the ocean stretched as far as the eye could see. Noah’s dog could do nothing but stay completely still. He knew his master wanted him just where he was with his nose in the hole. The water washed up over that hole night and day, but not a single drop came in. and one morning the dog got the scent of something else.
   Outside, a great mountain stretched up through the mist, and behind it was the tiniest bit of blue sky. It had stopped raining at last, and a magnificent rainbow stretched across the sky from east to west.
   They’d reached land! And what a beautiful sight it was. Things of all kinds were growing once more on the earth.
   ‘Good boy’, whispered Noah, and gently stroked the dog’s tummy. ‘Woof!’ answered the dog, and leapt up to give his master a kiss with his damp nose. Never again would he have to go to sea, but for ever after the dog’s nose would be wet and cold.