The Foolish Dogs

Long ago dogs had voices just like ours and they easily learned to speak the language of the people they lived with. Their duty was to warn of approaching strangers and to search the forests for game so they could tell the hunters where to find meat.

There were in those days mischievous creatures who lived underground and were the enemies of human beings.

One day while the dogs were out looking for game they were approached by these imps who tempted them with tasty morsels of food and deceitful promises.

The greedy dogs forgot their duty to warn the village of strangers. In their enjoyment of the aliens' tid-bits, they answered all of the intruders' questions even telling where the winter food cache was located.

Late that night, the underworld beings crept close to the village and stole all of the provisions carefully prepared and stored to sustain the village through the winter months. The satiated dogs, contentedly sleeping, never heard a thing.

When it was discovered that the larders were empty the head men of the tribe held a council. No one had taken the food and no one had told an outsider where the caches were hidden. Furthermore, the dogs should have caught the scent of any strangers close enough to steal the winter provender.

The dogs were summoned for questioning. They all displayed the most shameful expressions and slunk low to the ground with their tails between their legs.

Soon they admitted that the enemies had tricked them into giving away the secret that would bring hardship and possible starvation to the tribe. Rolling on the ground they begged for mercy.

The medicine man sadly rose to his feet. Solemnly he pointed to the dogs and said: "Because of your foolishness and disobedience some of our people may die. From now on you shall never talk again although you can understand our words. You can only whimper and bark and you will depend on us for your food. This is your punishment."

And so it was, but nevertheless, dogs are still the guardians and friends of human beings.