A rich description of life as a Dog by Lord Dunsany

I saw the movie, My Talks with Dean Spanley, and found it quite a fanciful movie about a man who under the influence of a lot of wine, recalls his life as a dog. I found that it was based on a book of the same name by Lord Dunsany, published in 1936. I looked for the book and found that it was pretty much no where to be found for purchase, but, alas, it was here in Connecticut at the New Haven Public Library, in the “closed stacks” section but still available to take out. So I took it out. The last time it had been taken out was February 2, 1944. That’s 69 years ago!! Per the card in the book, it  had been taken out 17 times before that date.

Lord Dunsany influenced Arthur C Clark (who corresponded with Dunsany until Dunany’s death in 1957), H.P. Lovecraft and even J.R.R. Tolkien. Dunsany was friendly with W.B. Yeats and Rudyard Kipling. What a life!

He toured the USA in 1919–1920. His poetry was for a time so popular that it is recited by the lead character of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s This Side of Paradise.

I am excerpting a couple of pages from the book below. I was impressed by his imaginative treatment of what a Dog could be thinking.

Page  80

“Ah, I can taste to this day, all the various tastes of digging out a rabbit, How fresh they were.”

“The brown earth, “ he said.  “And sometimes chalk when one got down deeper, a totally different taste, not so pleasant, not quite so meaty. An then the sharp taste of the juicy roots of trees that almost always have to bitten in two while digging out a rabbit. And the little unexpected tastes, dead leaves, and even a slug. They are innumerable, and all delightful. And all the while, you know, there is that full ample scent of the rabbit, growing deeper and deeper as you get further in, till it is almost food to breathe it.”

Page  95

“And even as he spoke, a thing I had been suspecting happened on top of the hill.

There’s been a suspicious light; a touch too much of magic in it to my liking; a thing to be watched. And sure enough the moon rose.

It was of course my job to guard the house when the moon came large and sudden over that hill, as I had known it to do before, but now that I had my friend with me I said, ‘Shall we hunt it?’ And he said , ‘Oh let’s.’ And we went up that hill quicker than we went after the rabbit; and when we got to the top we barked at the moon. And lucky for the moon he didn’t stay where he was. And the longer we stayed, the stranger the shadows got. Soon it was magic all around us, more than one dog could bark at. Very magic indeed.”

I recommend this short book for anyone who enjoys dogs and their ways.

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About Don Segal

See Commentary, Photos, Drawings and Poetry on my blog at donsegal.wordpress.com.
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One Response to A rich description of life as a Dog by Lord Dunsany

  1. Pingback: A Dog’s life described by Woolf ! | Poetry by Don Segal

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