Jim Kjelgaard has long wanted to tell the story of the gallant dogs who have gone out with the monks of St. Bernard Hospice to rescue travelers lost in the deep snows of the Swiss mountain passes. Unable to find the facts, he decided to reconstruct the tale as he feels it might have been. The result is this very moving story of a simple mountain boy and his devoted dog.
Franz Halle felt he was worthless because he could not manage book learning, but his schoolmaster and the village pastor knew that the boy had a priceless knowledge all his own. The kindly priest secured work for Franz at near-by St. Bernard Hospice, helping a gentle giant of a man who made it possible for him to keep his beloved Alpine mastiff, Caesar, although the huge animal refused to earn his keep, even by turning the spit. When the scarcity of food forced Caesar’s reluctant banishment, Franz—who had joined the monks in their daily patrol of the dangerous passes—proved that where even he, with all his rare knowledge of the ways of the blizzards, might fail, a dog could detect a man buried under an avalanche! So Franz and his brave helper initiated the rescue work of the St. Bernard dogs that was to become famous throughout the world. – Summary from the book
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