An old man lived with his dog, Mace, in a run-down shack on the outskirts of
town. He had no family and only a few meager possessions. He used the tools to
do odd jobs in town, for which he usually would be paid enough to get food for
the next day. Mace and his master lived from one day to the next on what little
these jobs would bring in.
The dog was just a normal hound, with one exception: Mace loved to chew on
grass. When the old man was in town, Mace would spend the day in the yard in
front of the house, chewing away on the lawn.
One bright, sunny day the old man said goodbye to his dog and headed in to town
to work. He had a plumbing repair job in one of the homes there that would take
him most of the day and would probably pay enough for food for the remainder of
the week - if he managed the money carefully. He headed for town with a spring
in his step and a whistle on his lips.
Inside the house and ready to start, the old man reached in the bag for his
wrench. To his surprise he didn’t feel it. He dug around again, but there didn’t
seem to be any wrench. He looked in the bag, then dumped its contents on the
floor, but still no wrench. Reality set in. Without a wrench he couldn’t finish
the job, and without the pay he couldn’t even buy food for supper, let alone
When he finally came to grips with reality, he told the lady who hired him what
the situation was. While she sympathized with his situation, the job needed to
be done. If the old man couldn’t do it, she would have to hire someone else.
The old man packed up his tools and headed home, head bowed and shoulders
stooped. The whistle was gone and no longer was there a spring in his step. A
walk that normally took 15 minutes seemed to last forever. But finally the old
shack came into view, and there was Mace in the distance, munching away as usual
on the lawn.
When the dog saw his master, he came running, tail wagging, telling the old man
how glad he was to see him. Kneeling beside Mace, the man began to pet him, and
through ear-filled eyes told the dog that there would be no supper tonight and
no food for tomorrow. What’s more, without money to buy a new wrench, he had no
idea what the future held. It was the loneliest, most helpless feeling he had
Then he caught a glimpse of something shining in the grass, and his despair
turned in an instant to joy - it was the wrench! The old man had dropped it on
his way out that morning, and it would have been lost forever had Mace not been
eating farther away from the house than he usually did.
The old man grabbed Mace, gave him a hug that almost suffocated him, and ran
into the house. Reaching for a pencil and the only piece of paper he had, he
wrote a moving tribute to his canine companion.
Few people have ever heard these words... until now...
One man who did happen to read them changed them a bit and has his name recorded
in music history...
The old man never did get the credit he deserved...
But only you are privileged to read the beginning line of his original poem
“A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound that saved a wrench for me.”
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