Chapter XXII. Farmer Brown's Boy Looks in Vain
 
    Loyalty is priceless and
      Is neither sold nor bought.
    Alas, how few who seem to know
      Its value as they ought.

    Bowser the Hound.

As I have told you, Farmer Brown's boy had been all about the neighborhood asking at each farmhouse if anything had been seen of Bowser. Of course nothing had been seen of him, and so at last Farmer Brown's boy felt sure that something dreadful had happened to Bowser in the woods.

For several days he tramped through the Green Forest and up through the Old Pasture, looking for signs of Bowser. His heart was heavy, for you know Bowser was quite one of the family. He visited every place he could think of where he and Bowser had hunted together. He knew that by this time Bowser couldn't possibly be alive if he had been caught by a foot in a trap or had met with an accident in the woods. He had quite given up all hope of ever seeing Bowser alive again. But he did want to know just what had happened to him, and so he kept searching and searching.

One day Farmer Brown's boy heard that a strange dog had been found over in the next township. That afternoon he drove over there, his heart filled with great hope. But he had his long ride for nothing, for when he got there he found that the strange dog was not Bowser at all.

Meanwhile Old Man Coyote and Reddy Fox and Old Granny Fox had become very bold. They even came up around the henyard in broad daylight.

"I believe you know something about what has become of Bowser," Farmer Brown's boy said, as he chased Old Man Coyote away one day. "You certainly know that he isn't home, and I more than suspect that you know why he isn't home. I certainly shall have to get another dog to teach you not to be so bold."

But somehow Farmer Brown's boy couldn't bring himself quite to taking such a step as getting a new dog. He felt that no other dog ever could take Bowser's place, and in spite of the fact that he thought he had given up all hope of ever seeing Bowser again, 'way down deep inside was something which, if it were not hope, was something enough like it to keep him from getting another dog in Bowser's place.

Whenever he went about away from home, he kept an eye out for dogs in the farmyards he passed. He did it without really thinking anything about it. He had given up hope of finding Bowser, yet he was always looking for him.