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The Water Goats
by [?]

“Sure ye do!” cried Toole. “Many’s the time I have rode across th’ lake on th’ back of a dongola. Me own father, who was a big man in th’ ould country, used t’ keep a pair of thim for us childer. ‘Twas himself fetched thim from Donnegal, Dugan. ‘Twas from Donnegal they got th’ name of thim, an’ ’twas th’ name ye give thim that misled me. Donnegoras was what we called thim in th’ ould counry–donnegoras from Donnegal. I remimber th’ two of thim I had whin I was a kid, Dugan–wan was a Nanny, an’ wan was a Billy, an’–“

“Go on home, Mike,” said Dugan. “Go on home an’ sleep it off!” and the little alderman from the Fourth Ward picked up his hat and coat, and obeyed his orders.

Instituting a new public park and seeing that in every purchase and every contract there is a rake-off for the ring is a big job, and between this and the fight against the rapidly increasing strength of the reform party, Mayor Dugan had his hands more than full. He had no time to think of dongolas, and he did not want to think of them–Toole was the committee on dongolas, and it was his duty to think of them, and to worry about them, if any worry was necessary. But Toole did not worry. He sat down and wrote a letter to his cousin Dennis, official keeper of the zoo in Idlewild Park at Franklin, Iowa.

“Dear Dennis,” he wrote. “Have you any dongola goats in your menagery for I want two right away good strong ones answer right away your affectionate cousin alderman Michael Toole.”

“Ps monny no object.”

When Dennis Toole received this letter he walked through his zoo and considered his animals thoughtfully. The shop-worn brown bear would not do to fill cousin Mike’s order; neither would the weather-worn red deer nor the family of variegated tame rabbits. The zoo of Idlewild Park at Franklin was woefully short of dongola goats–in fact, to any but the most imaginative and easily pleased child, it was lacking in nearly every thing that makes a zoo a congress of the world’s most rare and thrilling creatures. After all, the nearest thing to a goat was a goat, and goats were plenty in Franklin. Dennis felt an irresistible longing to aid Mike–the longing that comes to any healthy man when a request is accompanied by the legend “Money no object.” He wrote that evening to Mike.

“Dear Mike,” he wrote. “I’ve got two good strong dongola goats I can let you have cheap. I’m overstocked with dongolas to-day. I want to get rid of two. Zoo is getting too crowded with all kinds of animals and I don’t need so many dongola goats. I will sell you two for fifty dollars. Apiece. What do you want them for? Your affectionate cousin, Dennis Toole, Zoo keeper. PS. Crates extra.”

“Casey,” said Mike to his friend the saloon keeper when he received this communication, “’tis just as I told ye–dongolas is goats. I have been corrispondin’ with wan of th’ celibrated animal men regardin’ th’ dongola water goat, an’ I have me eye on two of thim this very minute. But ’twill be ixpinsive, Casey, mighty ixpinsive. Th’ dongola water goat is a rare birrd, Casey. They have become extinct in th’ lakes of Ireland, an’ what few of thim is left in th’ worrld is held at outrajeous prices. In th’ letter I have from th’ animal man, Casey, he wants two hundred dollars apiece for each dongola water goat, an’ ’twill be no easy thing for him t’ git thim.”

“Hasn’t he thim in his shop, Mike?” asked Casey.

“He has not, Casey,” said the little alderman. “He has no place for thim. Cages he has, an’ globes for goldfish, an’ birrd cages, but th’ size of th’ shop l’aves no room for an aquarium, Casey. He has no tank for the preservation of water goats. Hippopotamuses an’ alligators an’ crocodiles an’ dongola water goats an’ sea lions he does not keep in stock, Casey, but sinds out an’ catches thim whin ordered. He writes that his agints has their eyes on two fine dongolas, an’ he has tiligraphed thim t’ catch thim.”