There once lived a rude man in a lovely cottage just outside of town. His name was Mr. Red. And he was very rude indeed.

Early in the morning, when the helpful bird outside his window chirped, on the branch of a maple tree, Mr. Red slid open the glass and shouted, “That’s enough noise. Shoo!” The bird ruffled his beautiful blue feathers and flew to his flock. He said, “That man, Mr. Red, is so rude indeed.”

Later in the day, Mr. Red was in his kitchen fixing himself a tasty snack when the milkman cycled upto the cottage. He was whistling a catchy tune as he knocked on the door. Mr. Red opened the door with an impatient huff.

“Your newspaper, Mr. Red”, said the milkman. He gave a grin as he handed over the morning paper to Mr. Red. “Looks like it might rain today so I brought it in for you.”

“Hmph! You can leave things where they are”, said Mr. Red with an irritated shake of his head. He took the milk bottle and paper, and without another word slammed the door shut.

“Really Mr. Red is such a rude man indeed”, said the angry milkman looking up at the gathering gray clouds above. He cycled away shaking his head at the thought of rude Mr. Red.

“What a lovely morning it is Mr. Red! It looked like it would rain but maybe not. Look! All your daffodils are in bloom and don’t they make a pretty picture?” asked the gardener. Mr. Red was sitting on the terrace reading his newspaper.

“There are dead leaves on the ground you should clean instead of staring at the sky and talking too much young man”, said Mr. Red before he unfolded the paper and covered his face with it.

The young gardener stared sadly at Mr. Red. Then he gave up and went to find the housekeeper who came in every morning to the cottage. He found her in the vegetable garden. “Mr Red is so rude indeed!” he said.

When Mr. Red was taking a leisurely stroll along the brightly coloured bed of daffodils the first drop of rain splashed on the grass beneath.

“Woof”, came a noise which startled Mr. Red. He moved aside the blades of the daffodil leaves to find a puppy getting increasingly wet with each rain drop. “Woof”, the puppy said miserably.

“What a horrid creature you are!” exclaimed Mr. Red. The puppy wagged his tail in return with an even louder “woof woof”.

Mr. Red was surprised. He turned and started to walk back towards the cottage. ” Woof woof” the puppy followed. “Shoo! Go away! Quiet” shouted Mr. Red.

“Woof” the puppy put his wet muddy front paws on Mr. Red’s tweed trousers. His tail was wagging madly.

Mr. Red was so surprised that he lost his balance. With a big giant splash he fell into a puddle. Before Mr. Red could say another word the puppy ran to Mr. Red and happily licked his face.

“Woof Woof Woof” His tail was sending showers of water droplets onto the fallen man. The rain had stopped. The sun was starting to peep out. The birds were chirping on the maple tree again. They were all curious about the noise on the ground below them.

Mr. Red was really muddy and very wet and being licked by a muddier and wetter strange little puppy. “Woof” the puppy said again.

The gardener, the housekeeper and the milkman, who had come back to collect the empty milk bottle, stood in a line biting their nails, waiting to see what Mr. Red would do this time.

Mr. Red smiled. He picked up the puppy in his arms and looked at the clear blue sky. He smiled again. More widely this time.

He turned to the birds above and waved. “It is nice for the puppy that you are here. He will love to hear you sing every morning my dear birds.”

The gardener, the housekeeper and the milkman had their mouths hang open.

“Oh you are back my dear chap! From tomorrow, could you please give us an extra bottle of your delicious and fresh milk, for our little friend here?”

Mr. Red gave the puppy’s head a nice little rub and was rewarded with a huge sloppy lick in return.

“If you don’t mind the extra trouble, could I ask your help to build a little house for our new friend. Perhaps near the bed of your perfectly blooming daffodils? I’ll help you with building it, of course”, said Mr. Red to the gardender.

“Aah you are a life saver! What would my cottage be without you? Would you be kind enough to draw a warm bath to clean this dirty pup here?” said Mr. Red, addressing his housekeeper.

“Woof”, said the puppy accompanied by a vigorous wet shake and snuggling closer into Mr. Red’s arms. Together the two of them walked inside.

The gardener, the housekeeper and the milkman all smiled warmly as they said, “Mr. Red is such a perfectly wonderful fine man indeed!”