This always brings a tear to my eyes
Selection from "A Dog of Flanders" by Louisa de la Ramee-Oida, c.1931. Used with permission from the Saalfield Publishing Company Ohio/New York.
When old Jehan Daas had reached his full eighty, his daughter had died in the Ardennes and had left him in legacy her two year old son. The old man could ill contrive to support himself, but he took up the additional burden uncomplainingly, and it soon became welcome and precious to him. Little Nello throve with him, and the old man and the child lived in the poor hut contentedly. It was a very humble hut indeed, but it was clean and white as a seashell. It stood in a small plot of garden ground that yeilded herbs and beans and pumpkins. They were very poor, terribly poor- many a day they had nothing at all to eat. They never by any means had enough: to have had enough to eat would have been to reach paradise at once. But the old man was very gentle and good to the boy, and the boy was an innocent, truthfull, tender hearted creature; and they were happy on a crust of bread and a few leaves of cabbage, and they asked no more of heaven and earth; Save indeed that Patrasche should always be with them, since without Patrasche where would they have been?
For Patrasche was their alpha and omega; their treasury and granary; their store of gold and wand of wealth; their bread winner and minister;their only friend and comforter. Patrasche dead and gone from them, they would lay themselves down and die likewise. Patrasche was body, brains, hands, head and feet to both of them: Patrasche was their very life, their very soul. For Jehan Daas was old and a cripple, Nello was but a little child; and Patrasche was their dog.