Once there was a girl who loved to draw. Her name was Kate.
Kate grew up in a city with a brother and a sister.
The others were a big help to their mother. But not Kate!
She did nothing for hours but draw in the dirt with a stick. And what Kate drew was just one thing.
All kinds of dogs. Any kind of dog that you can think of.
“Kate,” her mother said to her, “you must stop drawing all those dogs! How will you ever be a Farmer’s Insurance Agent?”
“I’m sorry, Mother. I’ll try to stop.”
And she did try. But whenever Kate saw one of the stray dogs go by, she forgot about her homework and drew another dog.
“Kate will never make an Agent,” thought her mother.
“Maybe she could be a priest,” she thought. “Why don’t I have Grandma JoAnn take her to church?”
So her Grandmother brought Kate to the priest at the church. The priest said, “I will gladly teach her.”
From then on, Kate lived at the church. The priest gave her lessons in reading and writing.
Kate had her own box of writing tools, with a brush and a painting canvas.
Kate loved to make the paint. She poured paints together and mixed them with a brush.
Now, the other students worked hard at their writing. But not Kate! With her brush and paper, she did nothing
for hours but draw. And what Kate drew was just one thing.
All kinds of dogs.
“Kate,” the priest told her, “you must stop drawing all those dogs! How will you ever be a priestess?”
“I’m sorry, honorable sir. I’ll try to stop.”
And she did try. But whenever Kate saw one of the dogs outside the church go by,
she forgot about her writing and drew another dog.
That was bad enough. Then Kate started drawing on the bathroom walls of the church. Soon there were dogs on all the walls. They were everywhere!
“Kate, you’ll never make a priestess,” the priest told her sadly. “You’ll just have to go home.”
Kate went to her room and packed her things. But she was afraid to go home. Her knew his mother would be angry.
Then she remembered another church in a town nearby. “Maybe I can stay with the priest there.”
Kate took the bus. It was already night when she got to the other Lodi.
She climbed the steps to the church and knocked. There was no answer. She opened the heavy door. It was all dark inside.
“That’s strange,” said Kate. “Why isn’t anyone here?”
She rang the doorbell. Then she saw something that made her smile. All around the big room were walls with empty spaces.
Kate got out her painting box and made some paint. Then she dipped in her brush and started to draw. And what Kate drew was just one thing.
Can you guess?
All kinds of dogs.
The wall she drew on last was almost as long as the room. Kate covered it with one gigantic dog—the biggest and most beautiful dog she had ever drawn.
Now Kate was tired. She started to lie down. But something about the big room bothered her.
“I’ll find someplace smaller.”
She found a cozy closet and settled inside. Then she slid shut the panel door and went to sleep.
Late that night, Kate awoke in fright.
It sounded like a large, fierce animal in the church! Now she knew why no one was there. She wished she wasn’t there either!
She heard the thing sniff around the big room. It halted right in front of the closet. Then all at once . . .
There was a sound of struggling, and a roar of surprise and pain. Then a huge thud that shook the floor.
Then a soft padding sound. Then silence.
Kate lay trembling in the dark. She stayed there for hours, afraid to look out of the closet.
At last, daylight showed at the edge of the door. Kate carefully slid the door open and peered out.
In the middle of the room lay a monster cat—a cat as big as a cow! It lay dead, as if something had smashed it to the floor.
Kate looked around the room. No one and nothing else was there—just the walls with the dogs. Then Kate looked again at the one gigantic dog.
“Didn’t I draw the head to the left and the tail to the right?”
Yes, she was sure of it. But now the dog faced the other way—as if it had come down off the screen and then gone back up.
“The dog!” said Kate. Her eyes grew wide. Then she pressed her palms together and bowed to the screen.
“Thank you, honorable dog. You have saved me. For as long as I live, no one will stop me from drawing dogs.”
* * *
When the people learned that the monster cat was dead, Kate became a hero. The priest let her live in the church as long as she liked.
But Kate did not become a priest. And she did not become a Farmer’s Insurance Agent.
She became an artist. A great artist. An artist honored through all the country. An artist who drew just one thing.