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This short parable was sent to us by Donna from Harare, Zimbabwe

There was once a farmer and his wife who had a baby boy, whom they loved very much. They lived 20 kilometres from the nearest town in an isolated place. The farmer had a big dog which he also loved. At night the dog kept watch on the family to make sure they wereall safe.

A terrible day

Every month the farmer and his wife went to the town to do their shopping. On this terrible day, they could not take the baby with them, so the farmer decided to leave him in the house with the dog to look after him. The farmer's wife did not like this because she hated the dog. But they did leave the baby. After they had gone, a leopard came to the house. It found the baby in his bed and pulled him out. The dog at once attacked the leopard. When the farmer and his wife came home they went to the baby's bed. On getting there, they had a terrible shock – the bed was on its side and the baby was gone. There was blood everywhere. The farmer's wife was hysterical and started toblame her husband. The farmer loved the dog so much, he did not believe it would do any harm to the baby. They called the dog to them. It came in limping with blood dripping from its mouth. When the wife saw this, she was so angry that she screamed, "You must kill the dog at once."

He was innocent!

The farmer did not stop to think what he was doing. Straight away he took his machete and killed his dog. There was nothing else he could do. Just after it was dead, they heard a cry. But how could it be their baby's cry when the dog had killed him?

They rushed outside to see where the cries were coming from. There under a tree was their baby, without even a scratch on him. By his side was a leopard, badly bitten and lying dead. Suddenly they realised that the dog had fought the leopard in order to save their baby.

The dog was innocent! It gave its life so that the baby could live.

This reminds us of what Jesus did for us when he died to forgive our wrong doings. He gave his life for us, just as the dog gave its life for the baby. Jesus too was innocent when he was killed. He had never done anything wrong. The farmer and his wife would always be thankful to the dog for what it did that day. We can show how thankful we are to Jesus for what he did, by asking him to forgive us and give us a new start with him.