A man and his dog were walking along a road.  The man was enjoying the scenery when suddenly it occurred to him that he was dead.  He remembered dying and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for some time also.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road.  It looked like fine marble.  At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.  When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked as though it were paved with pure gold.  He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”  “This is heaven, sir” the man replied.  “Would you happen to have some water?” the traveler asked.  “Of course, sir, come right in;  I’ll have some iced water brought right up.”  The man gestured and the gate began to open.  “Can my friend come in too?” asked the traveler, gesturing toward his dog.  “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”  The traveler thought a moment, and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. 

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as though it had never been closed.  There was no fence.  As the traveler approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.  “Excuse me!” the traveler called to the man, “Do you have any water?”  “Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there.  Come on in.”  “How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to the dog.   “There should be a bowl by the pump” replied the man.

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.  The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself then offered some to the dog.  When they had satisfied their thirst, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.  “What do you call this place?”  asked the traveler.  “This is heaven,” the man answered.  “Well, that’s confusing,” said the traveler, “the man down the road said that was heaven too.”  “Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates?” “No, that’s hell disguised as heaven.”  “Doesn’t it make you angry that they are using your name like that?” asked the traveler.  “No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their friends behind.” ~   anon.


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