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By Ernest Gambier-Parry
Dogs – Folklore
A Message to Dog Lovers
With two drawings by the author
COPYRIGHT 1913 BY
“HIS DOG” Frontispiece
Yes. He was born in the first week of June, in the year 1906. Quite a short while ago, as you see–that is, as we men count time–but long enough, just as a child’s life is occasionally long enough, to affect the lives–ay, more, the characters–of some who claimed to be his betters on this present earth, with certainties in some dim and distant heaven that might or might not have a corner here or there for dogs.
His parentage was that of a royal house in purity of strain and length of pedigree, and he first saw the light in the yard of a mill upon the river, where the old wheel had groaned for generations or dripped in silence, according as the water rose or fell, and corn came in to be ground.
There were others like him in appearance in the yard; on the eyot on which the mill—buildings stood, gorgeous in many—coloured tiles; round the dwelling—house, or in a large wired enclosure close by. His master, the Over—Lord, bred dogs of his kind for the nonce, not necessarily for profit, but because, with a great heart for dogs, he chose to, claiming indeed the proud boast that not a single dog of his class walked these Islands that was not of his strain–and claiming that, moreover, truly.
At one period there might have been counted, in and around this mill—yard, no less than thirty—eight dogs, young and middle—aged, and all more or less closely related. But while this number was much above the average, the congestion that arose thereby was chargeable with the single unhappy episode in Murphy’s life, concerning which he often spoke to me in after days, and the effect of which he carried to the end. Of this, however, more later.
Life in the midst of such a company–Irishmen all–necessarily meant a more or less rough—and—tumble existence, where the strongest had the best of it, and the weaker ones were knocked out, when the Master was not there to interfere. Each one had to find his own level by such means as he could, and thus this great company, or school, of dogs resembled in many particulars those other schools to which We are sent Ourselves, or send those other sons of Ours. The training to be got here, as elsewhere, developed primarily, indeed, and all unconsciously, the first and greatest of requisites in life, whether for dog or man. And if, in some instances, evil characteristics, such as combativeness, selfishness, and the habit of bad language, became accentuated, in spite of the stern discipline of the place, their opposites–good temper, a light and happy disposition, and a civil tongue–received their meed of recognition even from the bigger fellows, like Pagan I. or II., or that Captain of the School, often spoken of with bated breath–Postman, Murphy’s father, mated afterwards to the great beauty, Barbara, both being of the bluest of blue blood.
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