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A Dog of Flanders

By: Ouida

A Dog of Flanders is an 1872 novel by English author Marie Louise de la Ramée published with her pseudonym "Ouida". It is about a Flemish boy named Nello and his dog, Patrasche, and is set in Antwerp.

In 19th century Belgium, a boy named Nello becomes an orphan at the age of two when his mother dies in the Ardennes. His impoverished grandfather, Jehan Daas, who lives in a small village near the city of Antwerp, takes him in.


One day, Nello and Jehan find a dog that was almost beaten to death, and name him “Patrasche”. Due to the good care and kindness shown to him by Jehan, the dog recovers its health, and from then on, Nello and Patrasche are inseparable. Nello is forced to work as a milk seller, because Jehan's unnamed, crooked landlord demands that he pay more rent money or face eviction. Patrasche helps Nello pull his small milk cart into town each morning.


Nello falls in love with Aloise, the daughter of Baas Cogez, a well-off man in the village, but Baas objects, as he doesn't want his daughter to have a poor sweetheart. Although Nello is illiterate, he is very talented in drawing. He enters a junior drawing contest in Antwerp, hoping to win the first prize of 200 francs per year; however, the jury selects a different winner.


Sometime later, a fire breaks out on Baas’s property. The landlord lies and says Nello was responsible for the fire to escape responsibly for neglecting the property; Baas then tells Nello that he is never to see Aloise again. Later, Jean dies, and the landlord promptly evicts Nello and Patrasche. With no home, they are forced to wander the streets.


Distraught and miserable, Nello decides that he wants to go to the cathedral of Antwerp, to see Rubens' The Elevation of the Cross and The Descent from the Cross — but the exhibition in the cathedral is only for paying customers, and he has no money left. On the night of Christmas Eve, Nello and Patrasche find that the door to the church has been left unlocked. They go inside, and the next morning are found dead of hypothermia in front of the triptych.

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Original Language


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England, France

Ouida was the pseudonym of the English novelist Maria Louise Ramé (although she preferred to be known as Marie Louise de la Ramée). During her career, Ouida wrote more than 40 novels, as...

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