To 16-year-old Leon, Monday morning meant a new week of ringing doorbells or knocking on doorposts. Selling Christian books door to door was a challenging job, but Leon loved the opportunity to help his customers learn about God.
First he knelt by his bed and asked for courage and strength.
Then he slipped into his brown slacks, noting the cuff that his landlady had mended. A dog had grabbed him as he approached a house a few days before.
Leon was not afraid of dogs. He and Gyp, his shaggy shepherd, had had many a fierce tussle, and both had learned that the quickest one wins. Dogs were Leon’s friends in selling the little children’s books he always carried with him. Whenever he saw a dog at a house, usually there were children also.
This Monday morning Leon came to a house set far back from the road at the top of a slope of beautiful green grass. It was a long, low, wood-colored home that didn’t seem at all friendly. Yet there was a big black dog lying on the porch, and Leon had the habit of never passing a house with a dog without giving the folks inside a chance to order the children’s book he was selling.
As Leon neared the house the dog took his stand at the top of the porch steps.
When Leon spoke to him, he growled and lunged. But Leon was quicker and gave him a smack on the nose with the corner of his traveling case.
It hurt enough to change the dog’s mind, and the canine went off quite disgruntled.
The woman of the house would not buy the children’s book even though the eyes of her little girl danced with joy at the pictures of Jesus. All Leon’s talk and the girl’s begging were in vain.
“No, we have more books now than I can get time to read to her,” the mother stated firmly. Leon noted two or three well-worn Mother Goose books on the couch.
As he showed the book he prayed in his heart, Please help me to leave the stories of Jesus for this little girl. But he had to depart without an order, with the children’s book still in his hand.
When he was halfway down the path to the highway, there came the big dog, snarling as he ran. He leaped for Leon’s throat, but again Leon was quicker, and he stuffed the book right into the dog’s open jaws. The dog bit clear through the covers of the book.
Just then the woman, who had come running to help, jerked the dog away by his heavy collar and sent him to the house.
“I’ll take the book,” she said, smiling rather sheepishly. “I guess Dodger wanted to help Linda get it.”
But Leon thought he knew Who really had helped the eager little girl get her book.
Reprinted from the August 17, 1966, issue of Guide.
Illustrated by Chris Murhphy