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Once there was a dog. Though she was a very smart dog she would not beg. And though she was a very intelligent dog she would not listen. Due to her pride and stubbornness she found herself, once again, alone in the deep dark of West Virginia country side, where raccoon eyes stared all green at her from the trees and the hat of night was full to the brim with shiny holes.

Even though she was proud she was not above having a good howl now and then, and now seemed as good a time as ever to plant her haunches in the cool black dirt and cry and mourn the old melody Job sang to the sky in the days before hotrods and radio.

And so she made the lonely sound and somewhere, in a farm house miles off, the hair on a young boy’s neck stood on end in his sleep; and somewhere else a man who was packing his pipe with smoke stopped and listened to a sound he half-heard and half dreamed. For a moment, all three were very sad. But, soon the dog had enough of feeling sorry for herself and so she sank in to the ground resolving to find food and make a better impression on any people she happened to meet when the sun was up. This day was long finished and if she went to sleep at least nothing else bad could happen.

But, just as her furry eyelids were stating to fall and dreams of stewed crawdads were entering her head, she felt a nose poking in to her butt.

Valiantly, as ever a half-sleeping dog had, she jumped up and turned full circle to find herself face to face with a grizzly old timber wolf with big guilty eyes.

“Hello” He said in a heavy French accent. (He was clearly from New Orleans.) “I was wondering what a young pup was doing sleeping on ze road.”

“I was sleeping cus’ I was tired. What else would I sleep for?” The dog said sharply. The Timber wolf tilted his head to one side and winked. Instantly, she hated him.

“Come with me.” he said. “Me and my family have a hole we have dug and it is warm and safe.”

“I ain’t cold.” The dog said, and she curled her claws into the ground and lowered her head so he knew she meant business.

“I also have a deer carcass that we have dragged from ze hunter’s house.” He said turning as if to wander away.

“Yeah?” The dog said a little more urgently than she would have liked. The timber wolf stopped but did not turn back to her. “So...” She said, “who all is in your family?” The wolf began walking and she had to follow to hear the answer.

“Me, my two wives and ze pups.” He said.

And so they continued on deep into the forest. It was so late that the crickets had stopped chirping. They came at last to a pile of logs and the dog could smell the wolves and the powdery sent of pups all about. She could also smell the deer. The timber wolf retired on a big log and rested his huge head on his paws. “Go on have some of ze deer.” he said. So the dog took a bit, but not much, since the meat was well on it’s way to being rancid. But, at least, the hunger pains had stopped. “Now. Come inside.” The timber wolf said.

“I’d rather sleep out here. I’m claustrophobic.” Said the dog. (She was, in fact, terribly, terribly claustrophobic.)

“Then come closer to ze door.” The timber wolf said.

“I’m fine where I am” she said. And she curled up in the leaves with her tail over her nose to keep it nice and warm.

“I can see you are cold.” The timber wolf said and he walked slowly toward her, then around her in a circle as continued to talk “Many dogs I have known live by ze charity of man. They do not hunt or find shelter since their minds are weak. They live in a house and fawn and beg at man’s foot for a scrap of this or a lick of that. They eat ze trash left over from his meals and sleep on the floor where he wipes his boots. These dull eyed whores disgust me. Look at me. I give you meat, freely, you need not beg. I am no master to you I am here to guard you. I see your strength and I respect it. Stay here in this den with me. You will like my other wives and soon your belly will be full with wolfish pups and your mind will be far from whatever indignities man has made you live through.” As the timber wolf finished saying this he lay down beside the dog and dug his nose into her neck. The dog at first did not move, but, then, a thing like hot coals fanned by a hand pump made her belly grow hot and she jumped up with a snarl.

The timber wolf backed away, but began talking again. “You ungrateful bitch! are you too dumb to tell a good thing when you see it? It will not get better than this I promise you! Run off into ze night with your full belly! Just remember you did not earn an ounce of ze meat!”

The dog stopped snarling and became very calm. Then with some effort she wretched, then wretched again and the meat came up. It tasted twice as rancid on the way up as the way down. She coughed and spat and shivered head to paw.

And then, she ran off into the night with an empty belly.

The End.

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