For the young reader the combination of an old man, a boy, and a dog are almost irresistible, particularly when the old man is as wise and gentle as Old Ramon. In this story of a boy's apprenticeship with Ramon the shepherd, a dog is given as a present to the boy. When the dog dies protecting the flock against a wolf, he is grieved, but Ramon softens his loss with the promise of a new pet and the assurance that the dead animal has died valiantly. Basically the plot of this story consists of not much more than Ramon's reminiscences and an account of the journey with the sheep, southwest toward the Mexican grazing lands. But it is account told with dignity and simple strength, a tale which will win the reader with its convincing depiction of a pastoral life and its tender portrayal of a natural and abiding friendship.