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This man was a farmer, his neighbors were farmers, and everyone in the area considered him to be the biggest pessimist in the world. His closest neighbor did all he could to encourage him every time they spoke, leaning over a fence that divided their properties on one side.

“Look’s like the sun’s gonna shine good today!” the optimist said one morning.

“Yeah,” came the droopy reply. “Probably be so hot the crops’ll dry out and shrivel up and be no good.”

A couple days later, “Looks like rain, don’t you think?”

“Yep, and it’ll probably flood the fields and ruin the crops; just wait and see.” Ever the pessimist, never with any hope in anything.

This was the way it went year after year, season after season. The only thing the man seemed to come out of his gloom for was duck hunting. A transformation came over him every time he went out and brought home duck for dinner.

So, the good natured farmer decided on a plan to cheer up his neighbor and so he invested months and months and months getting things ready. Finally, everything is in place, so he invites his grouchy neighbor to go duck hunting. Still grumbling about anything and everything, yet he agrees to go with just the faintest hint of a smile tugging at one corner of his frown. All the way out to the marsh he asks a bunch of questions about the new bird dog his neighbor has with him. No detail is forthcoming.

“He is an amazingly talented dog, just you wait and see,” was the only reply that came.

Well, hours later, the grumbler gets a shot off and a duck falls from the sky. The dog owner calls out, “Gittit!”, and the bird dog takes off at a run, right across the top of the water! Grabbing the bird softly in his mouth, the dog brings the duck back and drops it, right at the feet of the man who shot it then sits back, wagging his tail and waiting to be commended.

The pessimist shakes his head in disbelief. “Seems pretty doggone foolish to spend so much time and money on a dog that can’t even swim!”

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