10. 12. 2009. 11:46

National zoo I.

Júlia Lángh: The snail and the watchdog

We've called on contemporary authors to write modern fables of up to 500 words. The protagonists are animals – real or imaginary – and represent in their character, behaviour and deeds the figures, situations or the absurdities typical of present-day Hungarian society.

The snail crawled past the doghouse majestically toward its unknown destination. Sometimes it would pause and look up at the sky. The watchdog looked on suspiciously. Whatever could there be to look at in the sky?
"Isn't it hard, always hauling your house around like that?", the dog asked, just to say something.
"I guess it's easier than being tied on a chain," the snail answered, cheerfully.
The watchdog took offense.
"Are you making fun of me, you slippery sliding slithering beast? I'm tied on a chain for a reason, because I'm important! I watch the house! This poor deaf old lady couldn't get along without me!"
"I know, dog, I know."
"And what do you get up to? Nothing useful!"
"True enough. I've no position or role in the world, and that's how I have time for important matters."
"And just what might those be?", the dog asked, anxiously.
"I ponder the matters of life and death."
Meanwhile, the snail had completed its enigmatic path as far as the garden gate, over which a lithe burglar had leapt at that very instant. The dog had no time even to bark: the rogue had landed right smack on the snail and slipped, smacked his head and stayed sprawled out on the ground. The snail, as goes without saying, had given its soul back to its Maker, at an appropriate time beyond doubt, pondering this very matter.
The watchdog on its long chain scampered over to the unconscious man, put a front paw on his neck and barked out a yelping halloo. The old lady hobbled out of the house.
"Oh, you faithful watchdoggy! My saviour!", she cried out, but just to stay on the safe side, she too put her right foot on the neck of the insensible man. In case he might try getting up.
The dog shook itself proudly and started a long, melodious barking to relate its heroics to all the dogs in the village.
Someone had called an ambulance that took the culprit away, who knew the truth but could not reveal it, having been knocked out cold.
The very next day, in the little bootlegging village store where all important news was exchanged, people were discussing that lovely life-saving critter, old Rosie's dog. That set an example to everyone.
Nobody said a prayer over snail's crushed remains.
The moral is:
Things often happen differently from how they are recounted.

Translated by: Dániel Dányi

Tags: Júlia Lángh