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A Dog with a Bone


Cyrus was a skeleton. I don’t mean he was just very thin or emaciated. No, he was literally just a skeleton! No skin! No muscles! No guts! Just an old, musty skeleton. “But surely he would just instantly collapse in a pile of bones?” I hear you ask. Not at all. You see, Cyrus was undead! Now, this might be a tricky concept for some of you to understand. However, you’re in luck. You see, I happen to be an expert in all things supernatural, in mythical and monstrous creatures, and in magic!

Skeletons are raised from the dead, most commonly by evil necromancers – these are wizards that specialize in the dead! A typical scenario would entail the evil wizard in need of some assistance, perhaps in a battle with a dragon, or to perform an unattractive task, such as washing the dishes. The necromancer would then wave her hands around and utter some mysterious words while sprinkling some substance, such as powdered bone (this is called casting a spell), and then the magic would begin. In some stony tomb or ancient battlefield, the bones of the dead would slowly creep towards each other in an effort to reassemble a skeleton. This was not always instantaneous. Sometimes the thigh bone would lodge itself where the arm bone should be, or the skull would attempt to settle where the hand should be, but if the spell was cast correctly, a complete human-shaped skeleton would be created to do the bidding of the evil necromancer.

“At your service, master!” would be a typical greeting from a newcomer to the undead. The necromancer would normally have no time for niceties, and would generally respond with something like, “attack you rattling bag of bones

before it burns me to a crisp!” or, “You can begin by washing the dishes, then mop the floor, and then feed the pets.”

In the case of Cyrus, who was summoned by the evil wizard, Kastelburger, he rose from the dead in midst of a raging battle against the tree folk in the Forsaken Forest. There were pixies, gnomes, elves and all manner of woodland creatures, each of them outraged at the presence of the dark magician, hurling themselves at her with all their might. Poor old Kastelburger was on her last legs, exhausted, depleted and almost defeated. So, before Cyrus could completely assemble himself, his pelvis locking onto his spine, his ribs gathering together, Kastelburger received one elvish arrow too many, and collapsed, dead, on the ground. With a cheer, the forest folk high-fived each other and dispersed into the leafy gloom of the forest.

Just too late, Cyrus’ skull rolled towards the top vertebra of his spine and locked in place. “At your service master.” There was no reply. “Master?” he called again uncertainly. Again, no reply. His bony eye sockets scanned the clearing, and soon saw Kastelburger, unmoving, uncommanding…… dead! “Ugh,” sighed Cyrus, “peacefully resting my bones in the grave for decades and now this! Summoned to service with no master! Really! Ugh! And now, an eternity in this clearing. No orders, no mission, no purpose!”

Depressed, dejected and bored he settled down against an old oak tree, and sat…….. and sat…….for days…….weeks……..months!…….

Occasionally he gave a musty sigh………...or brushed away an annoying fly…….. Poor old Cyrus was dying of boredom. Well not quite, he was undead! He couldn’t die! No, he was destined to sit there forever, bored and bonely – I mean lonely!

Now, let’s stray from the dreary gloom of poor Cyrus to another, equally sorrowful story. A young man named Nathan was making his way through the Forsaken Forest. His skin was scratched by thorny bushes, his clothes mere rags and his hair long, dirty and matted. His was utterly exhausted, hot and sweaty, so much so that he was panting, with his tongue was hanging out…..a bit like a dog! The last rays of sun disappeared through the leaves above. Night was falling! “Oh no! not again!” he sighed, “wretched full moon!” He stopped and began to undress. “I can’t afford to have another set of clothes, stretched, torn and mangled.” No sooner had he neatly folded his clothes and placed them in a pile, he looked up at the moon and began to groan. His body became taught! His muscles flexed in ways unthinkable! He twisted, and collapsed on the ground, writhing in agony! His skin began to stretch, becoming hairier – his open mouth revealed his teeth growing, fangs appearing! Long hair was rapidly sprouting all over his body.

Writhing and roaring, he raised a clawed hand to the moon, and let off a bloodcurdling HOWL! Nathan was ….a WEREWOLF!

Well, more of a weredog, actually. Kind of like a human mixed with a mutt! One can find all kinds of were-creatures – werewolves (which I’m sure you’ve all heard of), werebears, werecats, even were sheep and werekangaroos. Most people would recoil in horror at the site of a wereANYTHING, which is why werebeasts invariably get ‘hounded’ out of town, or shot at with silver arrows (werecreatures can only be injured by silver!)

One day poor old Nathan was minding his own business tending to his veggies when he was attacked and bitten by a dog. He fled in terror to tend to his wound. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. One moment he was a skinny, harmless-looking, spotty teenager, the next moment he was a howling weredog! Out came the villagers with pitchforks and flaming torches, to chase the “evil” out of town! Evil?! EVIL? Look, just because the poor boy was a little too hairy, disliked cats, love munching bones and had a tendency to chase after sticks, it didn’t make him evil! However, he struggled to convince the villagers of this, and sadly, he fled to the safest place where no human dared to go, the Forsaken Forest, to live out his days, friendless, bored and lonely.

Let us turn our attention again to Cyrus. He was now lying on the ground, his vacant eye sockets counting the craters on the full moon. He sighed. He was just about to begin his next boring activity of counting leaves in the trees when he heard a gnawing sound. He looked down to see a large dog-like creature chewing on his thigh bone. It was Nathan, who had mistakenly thought he’d come across the ultimate snack for hounds, a pile of old bones! “OI!” shouted Cyrus, “Shoo! What do you think you’re doing! Get way!” Nathan got the fright of his life and collapsed on the ground on his back with his paws in the air, pathetically wagging his weretail to show he meant no harm. “I’m so sorry,” he cried, “I was just looking for something, anything, to break my boredom, my loneliness!”

“Well not over my dead body!” yelled Cyrus, swatting at the poor weredog with his bony hand. But, his bones had been lying unused for so long that they weren’t quite locked together, and before he knew it, when he swatted poor Nathan, his pointy finger bone went flying off into the distance. He gasped! Something instantly stirred in Nathan. Some deep, dog-like instinct overcame him as he sprang up and launched himself after the bone. “Come back here,” screamed Cyrus desperately, “my bone!” The bone was still hurtling through the air as Nathan jumped, twisted and caught the bone in his teeth! “My finger, “pleaded Cyrus, “bring it back.” Nathan turned to Cyrus, and thundered towards him at full tilt, dog slobber spraying from his lips. Cyrus groaned in horror, preparing himself to be ground into bone meal, when Nathan came to a halt just in front of him, sat down on his

haunches, dropped the bone, and wagged his tail expectantly! “Again,” his hopeful eyes suggested, “AGAIN!” “Hmmm,” Cyrus pondered, “that was rather fun actually. It certainly beats counting leaves or craters on the moon.” He smiled (actually, he always smiled – skeletons have no choice!) and reached for the bone, and, with a cry of, “FETCH!” gave it a great toss into the forest. Off charged Nathan to retrieve the bone, and delighted Cyrus when he bounded back with it in his mouth.

They say a dog is a man’s best friend. Well close enough! This WEREdog soon became the skeleton’s best friend. And so, their solitude was over. The lonely skeleton and the reviled weredog spent the rest of their days happily in the forest, keeping each other company, playing fetch!


QUIZ TIME!

  1. Why did Cyrus, the skeleton, find himself alone in the forest?

  • A. He was abandoned by his master

  • B. He was cursed by a witch

  • C. His master died unexpectedly

  • D. He lost his way while wandering

  1. How did Nathan, the weredog, end up in the Forsaken Forest?

  • A. He was chased away by villagers

  • B. He was looking for food

  • C. He was exploring the forest

  • D. He was hunting for bones

  1. What did Nathan mistake Cyrus for when they first met?

  • A. A pile of leaves

  • B. A rock

  • C. A snack for dogs

  • D. A fellow weredog

  1. What activity did Cyrus and Nathan eventually enjoy together in the forest?

  • A. Counting leaves

  • B. Playing fetch

  • C. Howling at the moon

  • D. Fighting evil creatures

  1. How did Cyrus feel about Nathan initially?

  • A. Afraid

  • B. Annoyed

  • C. Indifferent

  • D. Delighted

Answers:

  1. C. His master died unexpectedly

  2. A. He was chased away by villagers

  3. C. A snack for dogs

  4. B. Playing fetch

  5. B. Annoyed

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