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Updated: Jun 19, 2023

This story was told to me at a pub in Norfolk:

A wildfowler took his new dog onto the marsh for the first time. He sat down in a creek next to the river and waited. It wasn’t long before a duck flew over, he lifted his gun and shot it dead. The duck fell the far side of the river. He immediately sent the dog to retrieve the quarry. However, he was amazed to see that when the dog reached the river instead of swimming it walked across the water, picked up the duck, and walked back across the water to his owner. Time passed and the ‘fowler shot another duck that fell the far side of the river. Again his dog fetched the duck by walking on the water.

Driving home he resolved not to tell anyone for fear of being laughed at, but instead to take a fellow wildfowler on his next trip to witness the dog’s miraculous behaviour.

A few days later he visited the marsh with his dog, accompanied by a friend. It wasn’t long before a duck was shot. As before, it fell on the other side of the river, therefore he sent his new dog to make the retrieve. As on the previous trip it walked on the water, picked up the duck, and walked back. His friend watched the dog but made no comment. Walking off the marsh they chatted, but no mention was made of his dog’s miraculous achievement.

Driving home the tension got too much for him so he asked his fellow ‘fowler, “Did you notice anything about my dog?”

“Well,” his friend replied, “seeings you’ve mentioned it I did notice something.”

“Yes, what’s that?” he enquired eagerly not expecting the following response.

“That dog of yours,” he paused, “He can’t bloody swim!”

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