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Malakoff
Submitted by: Shirley Cook 23 April 1999

Another True Story:

"Malakoff, a very large Newfoundland dog, was the watchdog for a Parisian jeweler. One of the jeweler's apprentices, a man named Jacques, hated Malakoff who, perhaps, sensed something abut the man that he did not trust.

Jacques resolved to kill the dog.

With a few other cohorts, Jacques led the great dog to the river Seine, tied a stone around his neck, and threw him into the fast moving water. Malakoff fought for his life, swimming and struggling for the shore. He swam so powerfully that even with the stone he managed to make it almost to the shore. Then Malakoff looked behind him and realized that his attacker, Jacques, had fallen into the water, too, and was drowning. The man gulped for air as he thrashed in the water but, not knowing how to swim, he panicked and started to go down.

Seeing this, Malakoff turned and swam back toward Jacques. Despite the heavy weight around his neck, Malakoff swam, panting and straining, to where his would-be assassin struggled. In desperation, the man grabbed Malakoff's fur. By now too weak to pull the man to shore in the strong cross-currents, Malakoff struggled with all his might just to tread water with both the stone weight and the panicky man. The dog held Jacques afloat until others could rescue him.

Once man and dog were both safely on shore, the remorseful apprentice threw his arms around the great Newfoundland and wept as he begged the dog's forgiveness.

The story of the heroic dog spread throughout Paris. Malakoff became such a symbol of valor that when he died, nearly every apprentice in Paris followed his funeral procession.

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