What happens in the coda of "The Loaded Dog" by Henry Lawson?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the strangest of ways, the conclusion to Lawson's story is one where a sense of justice emanates.  The conclusion is one in which the "mongrel" dog that terrorized Tommy took the cartridge from his mouth, mistaking it for something of value.  The other dogs follow the malevolent one's lead and when it explodes, evil, in a sense, is destroyed.  Tommy, the force of goodness, is one that is none the wiser and he goes back to the camp with Dave, immediately inundating him with his slobber and an unconditional love, unaware of the moral implications of what he initiated or what happened, but knowing that he did enough for one day.  Andy ties him up in order to prevent the dog from getting into any more mischief.  The Bushmen, for their part, have appropriated the story for themselves as sort of an "outback legend," something that they can tell to one another for a guaranteed laugh.  Each time they pass by Dave's camp, they call out to him in an indigenous manner to indicate what passes to be an almost inside joke about what Tommy did and the results from it.

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