Saturday, March 31, 2007


Try as he might, the Dog had never been truly content with his lot. He had lived a longish life and although he’d never bothered to learn counting, he knew that it was a good few years.

He had spent this life with a variety of people, good and bad: a family with a brattish Baby who had constantly pulled his tail, chewed his ear and banged him on his nose with a toy truck with sharp edges; a Society Lady who had kept him shut up in a penthouse apartment except for short, one-a-week walks round the block with the Butler; and, most recently, by an elderly Hobo who shared with him his bed (a draughty, leaky barrel by a railway siding) and his food: chuck-outs from smart restaurants and hand-outs from the Salvation Army.

Then, one day, the Dog woke up and the Hobo didn’t. The old tramp was cold and stiff and the Dog realised that another chapter of canine life was at an end.

It was only a matter of days before the Dogcatchers were after him and his doggy instinct told him that whatever the future now held it was, in all likelihood, not going to be good.

Nevertheless, he decided, he was going to give the men with their nets and leashes a good run for their money and he did.

He raced up and down town, tore here, there and everywhere: digging up flowerbeds; chasing cars, cats and chickens; knocking over trashcans; barking outside hospital windows; shaking rain off his fur in crowded hotel lobbies; leaving muddy paw-prints on newly washed doorsteps; frightening horses and startling old ladies; biting bicyclists and puncturing babies’ balloons.

They caught him at last, needless to say, but as they slammed the barred door on him in the Dog Pound and a man with rubber gloves and a syringe loomed up out of the darkness, he knew that at least he had, finally and very decidedly had his day --- and enjoyed it!

© Brian Sibley 2006


There was once a Pig who was absolutely not as happy as a pig in s---!

He lived with a lot of other pigs that obviously were as happy as pigs allegedly are when living in that substance, whereas he couldn’t even bring himself to allow such an offensive word to besmirch his piggy lips, let alone feel happy about it.

While other pigs lived in sties that were messy and mucky and conducive to average pig-happiness, the Pig with whom we are concerned was prim and proper and kept his sty in astonishingly prissy and pristine condition.

He was, incidentally, also the only pig on the farm who had a corner of his sty designated as what his American cousins would call ‘The Restroom’.

His sty was so clean that, as the saying goes, you could have eaten your meal off the floor - which is exactly what he did everyday when the Farmer upturned a battered swill-bucket all over the neat little yard to the Pig’s neat little home.

The moment he had finished his meal, the Pig felt obligated to spend the next several hours cleaning and tidying-up.

Every few days, the Pig would notice that one or two of his neighbours were led away from their sties and never came back.

“That’s what happens,” he said to himself, “when you don’t keep your sty spick and span! You get your marching - or, I suppose I should say, ‘trotting’ - orders!” Then with a smug laugh he went to check that everything in his sty was just as it should be.

And so he went on for a long time, never allowing so much as an apple-core or a potato peeling to litter his home; priding himself on what a clean pig he was and how he found true happiness by not allowing his living standards to drop to the excremental levels of his peers.

Then, one day, the Farmer came to his sty, tied a rope around his neck and led him away.

At first, the Pig was confused and wondered whether he had, perhaps, slipped up somehow: overlooking, perhaps, a stale crust or two or a piece of pumpkin rind…

But then, knowing that that was a total impossibility, he decided that, on the contrary, he was being moved to more palatial accommodation as a reward for his impeccable manners and behaviour.

Alas, however, that was not the case and it was only as he got his first glimpse of the great gleaming Sausage-Making Machine that he knew that not only were his days of happiness truly at an end, but that he was now - like it or lump it - in the s***!

© Brian Sibley 2007


The Lion constantly complained about the fact that he never got the lion’s share. He knew that everyone always spoke about the lion’s share, but to the best of his knowledge, he hadn’t even seen a hint of it, let alone actually had it!

One day, he was lounging on the edge of the African desert considering how badly off he was compared with all those other lions who presumably got their due, picked up their rightful share.

“Who knows?” he muttered to himself, “For all I know they may have had my lion’s share, in addition to their own!”

At that precise moment, a Bald Ibis flew down and sat on a nearby boulder.

“What’s your complaint, O Royal and Regal One?” he asked in a highly deferential tone.

So the Lion told him…

“If that’s all that’s troubling you,” replied the Ibis, “I can fix that for you!”

“You can?” said the Lion in some surprise.

“I am the keeper of the magical mysteries of the ancient pharaohs and can easily grant a little wish such as yours. But, first, tell me: of what, in particular, do you want the lion’s share?”

Food!” said the Lion without pausing to think.

“Anything else?” asked the Ibis.

“The affection of my lionesses,” he added, “and the respect of my cubs…”

“Is that it?” the Ibis enquired.

“Well,” went on the Lion, “good health, long life, peace of mind and freedom from worry…”

“All of that is possible,” responded the Ibis, “you have but to say the word and the lion’s share of all those things will be yours along with everything else!”

Everything else?” queried the Lion.

“Most assuredly,” replied the Ibis.

“Then I would also have the Lion’s share of hatred, jealousy and malice; hunger and thirst; pain, sickness, grief and death…?”

“Yes, that is so,” agreed the Ibis.

“Then,” said the Lion, “I will content myself with an ordinary share of all those things and forego the lion’s share.”

“You choose well,” said the Ibis, “and in making that choice you reveal that when it comes to wisdom you truly do have the lion’s share!”

© Brian Sibley 2006