A Dog’s Tale by Mark Twain

For Short Stories on Wednesday (hosted at Risa’s Bread Crumb Reads) I was planning to read and review a vampire short story by Anne Rice. Which I did, and it did seem exciting for about the first two pages.

“Julie!” he whispered, in a voice so low that it seemed my own thoughts were speaking to me. But this was no dream. He was holding me and the scream had broken loose from me, deafening, uncontrollable and echoing from the four walls.

The story is called The Master of Rampling Gate and it is a vampire ‘love’ story, which is something they had forgotten to mention where I first read about it. It was such a grave disappointment, that it didn’t make much sense to review it. Let’s just say that it’s a story Stephanie Meyer would adore; take that whatever way you want.

So, instead, I am reviewing a very beautiful and touching story I read by Mark Twain, titled A Dog’s Tale (1903). It is the life story of a loyal pet dog, told from her point of view.

The story begins in a way that is quintessentially Twain – “My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me, I do not know these nice distinctions myself. To me they are only fine large words meaning nothing.”

The dog talks about her life with her mother, who was a favourite among the other dogs and about her puppy-hood adventures. She then goes on to tell us about the sorrow of her separation from her mother, the following joys of the nice, new household, until the day she has her own puppy.

The story is crude and cruel, and it is the story of so many other loyal house pets who don’t deserve the treatment that they get from their “masters”. It is a silent, confused cry for help, and it really affects you. That’s great writing for me.

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