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White, T.H. (ed.) / The book of beasts
(1960)

I. Beasts,   pp. [5]-99 ff.


Page 64

dog puzzles silently with himself, seeking along the be-
ginnings of each different track. He shows his sagacity
in following the scent, as if enunciating a syllogism.
'Either it has gone this way,' says he to himself, 'or that
way, or, indeed, it may have turned twisting in that other
direction. But as it has neither entered into this road, nor
that road, obviously it must have taken the third one!'
And so, by rejecting error, Dog finds the truth.'
  Dogs, moreover, have often produced evidence to con-
vict culprits with proofs of murder done-to such an
extent that their mute testimony has frequently been
believed.2
  They say that a man was murdered in Antioch, in a
remote part of the city, at dusk, who had his dog on a
  1 Jews did not like dogs, and the attitude of the Bible to these charming
creatures is uniformly revolting.  Only Tobias, in the Apocrypha, gives them
their due.  But in the Middle Ages, and even in the Dark Ages, there was
a
tenderer attitude to animals and children than has sometimes developed since.
Few Masters of Foxhounds in the twentieth century would trouble to insist,
as
the noble Master who was killed at Agincourt did, that a 'dog-boy' ought
to sleep
permanently in the kennels, in order to keep the hounds happy. 'Also I will
teach the child', wrote the Duke of York in his Master of Game, 'to lead
out the
hounds to scombre twice in the day in the morning and in the evening, so
that
the sun be up, especially in the winter. Then should he let them run and
play
long in a meadow in the sun, and then comb every hound after the other, and
wipe them with a great wisp of straw, and this he shall do every morning.
And
then he shall lead them into some fair place where tender grass grows as
corn and
other things, that therewith they may feed themselves as it is medicine for
them.'
Thus, since the boy's 'heart and his business be with the hounds,' the hounds
themselves will become 'goodly and kindly and clean, glad and joyful and
playful,
and goodly to all manner of folks save to the wild beasts, to whom they should
be
fierce, eager and spiteful'.
  It is a fact which may give pleasure to the kindly, that our Bestiarist
has devoted
more space to horses and hounds and bees than to any other animals; and this
because he loved them in return, for being the friends of man. Even the NED.
gives them nearly three pages.
  2 A leaf is here missing from C.U.L. 11.4.26, which probably showed two
full-page illustrations of the story which follows.
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