Once there was a dog. She was a grey dog with a big tail and a flat head. She was highly intelligent and perceptive (for a dog) and for this reason her life was filled with difficulty. Her last master abandoned her on the roadside, for she was too rebellious. Her rebelliousness stemmed from very undogish quality: she was proud. And, when she was asked to sit or beg she refused or even tried to bite. She would comply with requests that seemed reasonable. She would pull a cart or sleigh happily-- or bring back the fowl her master shot gently in her mouth. If a task contributed to the mutual survival of her and her master she complied-- but she would not beg or do tricks. For this dignity she was tossed out and found herself in a ditch sulking along the road.

What a curse dignity is!” she thought as she sulked along the road. “If I could only be like the other bitches I see and sit and beg and not feel that burning anger rise in my muzzle. If only I could forget that I am equal to man and that I deserve respect-- then, at last, I might be loved.

When she was an energetic pup and did not understand that her pride was curse she would tease her litter-mates for their blind willingness to serve and accept their inferiority. Most of her litter-mates were not even bright enough to hold a conversation on the subject- though, the dog did remember when one of her sisters said “There is nothing shameful in begging. It is just the way of dogs, and to hold out the biscuit: that is the way of man.

"What kind of sense did that make!?" The dog thought almost getting angry again as the memory surfaced. She snarled a bit but then sneezed since she was cold and a bit damp from the rain that had begun to fall. Her sister had gone on to say “Your problem is that you don’t want to be a dog. You want to be a man! You should be proud to be a a dog. Wag your tail and scratch your fur and love your doggy body and doggy habits.” (this was a very popular philosophy among the dogs she knew)

You can’t be bitter about having no master, if you won’t be a Good Dog.” Her sister said.

In fact, the dog had always been a very Good Dog. She excelled at guarding the house, knowing exactly why type of visitors warranted barking and growing-- yet, still, recognising that others such as the mailman and the little old lady next door should be greeted with kindness and a few wags of the tail. She was an expert hunting dog, not only did she point with calm quiet and accuracy, but she would also retrieve and never leave a mark on the query. She was a fine sled dog and always ready to pull in a load of wood from the shed, she never let her sled tip over and even understood the technique for maintaining a safe speed on down hill courses. When her master’s back went bad she learned (without being asked) how to pick up items from the floor and place them on the counter to save him the pain of bending over. She was a Good Dog. But she would not beg.

And for that sin her paws would bleed and she would be left alone to die-- an unwanted a mass of bones and matted fur staggering off in to the night.

The End

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