'Tell us a story grandpa' | Sunday Observer

'Tell us a story grandpa'


“Grandpa, please tell us about humans”. Four wooly puppies cuddled close to their dad’s old father. “Well children it is a long story. Did you see me wagging my rickety tail when little Anura gave me that bone?”

“Yes, grand-pa, we love Anura and Anura likes us.” “You see my little ones, I wagged my tail as an act of gratitude or thanks.”

“Wagging of the tail reminds me of a very old story. It seems a very brave human called Ulysses had returned to his homeland after many many years of adventure around the world. He had grown old. No one recognised him, not even his wife Penelope.

Their dog had raised its head, wagged its tail, in recognition, laid down his head and died. He was a very old and a faithful friend.

We are called man's faithful friend. To be brief, we have been guides to their blind. We have sniffed out humans buried under tons of debris from collapsed buildings, earthquakes and other disasters.

They use us to lead them to human criminals and baggage with drugs at airports. We protect their homes from human thieves and bad reptiles. Of course we look after their lovely children.” “Grandpa” said little Reno. “ Grandpa, please tell us a story about Greyfriars Bobby.”

“Now how do you know about that story?”

“One day, Anura’s sister Shyama, said that you remind them of Greyfriars Bobby.” "Bow, wow, what a compliment. I feel proud. Bobby, one of our kind, was with a little boy in the house. The boy’s father was out. The father returned, Bobby came out.

There was blood all over his face. The father could not find the son. He killed Bobby thinking that he had harmed his son. Later he found him behind a cupboard. A big snake beside him.

Bobby had killed snake to protect the son. The father had carried the body of Bobby, right round the village crying. Children still visit the grave of Greyfriars Bobby.

The puppies licked grandpa’s face. “Thank you grandpa.” "That is their good side. They use the name of our females in ridiculing their human women. Even, us males are not spared. 'Dog in a manger, died like a dog, led a dog’s life.' Their women shear our coats, and at times dye them to match their dresses.

They dress us in tight fitting costumes. So tight that we cannot even attend to our daily obligations. We are also made to run after stuffed rabbits. We run like mad. They bet on the winner.

At times we are served as a delicacy.” The four puppies looked scared. All got on to grandpa's body. Grandpa licked them. “Don’t be afraid. It never happens here, never.” We are in a beautiful country called Sri Lanka.

Still my little ones humans are noble. They look after us in sickness and in health.

They inoculate us against a clangorous disease called hydrophobia. They are with us when we die.

We sleep on their beds, chairs and settees. They bathe us, shampoo us and also write lovely stories about us. We are taught to perform at circuses.

In some countries, we look after their cattle and sheep. Now they have found that our presence can give a lot of happiness to the sick.

We bring their mail. Little ones, very soon, you all will be rolling and playing with the human little ones. I could go on and on.

Now, just as you belong to the famous Labrador breed, there are the Beagles, Pomeranians, Alsatians, Dobermans, Lap Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Bull Dogs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, German Spite, Poodles, St Bernard and many others.

But, the most beloved, commonest but alas the most despised are the Mongrels. They are the homeless. But, when taken in to a home, they become the best. The very best.”

The young ones were yawing. “Now, go drink your milk and sleep. Your mother is waiting for you.”

“Thank you grandpa. Good night.”