Today I am told to wait in the Bedroom whilst the Owner and the Man put a Tree in the kitchen.
This sounds most unwise to me. There is a place for Trees and it is not in the kitchen. Clearly supervision is needed. I say I want to Watch.
She says do I not Trust her and the Man to carry a Tree Upstairs?
I say that is exactly the problem. I do Trust her and the Man to carry a Tree Upstairs but it seems to me Most Unwise to do so. The Moral Dog does not stand back whilst the Unwise Owner forgets the difference between the Kitchen and a Shrubbery. What if it still has the Squirrels in it?
The Owner says it is a Special Tree and I will love it. And there will be no Squirrels in it.
Soon after I hear dragging and scraping noises in the kitchen. There is gasping and clanging and she uses some words with which I am Not Familiar. There is grumbling and creaking and a general sighing of Relief. Then she says there, come and see Hergest.
This is not a tree. It is a vast collection of sticks stuck in a metal stand. I am seized by Urges to Attack it and Root out the Squirrels.
Don’t chew the tree, Hergest, she says. You will love it. It is a Special Tree.
Of course I will not love it, I say. It is a Tree, I am a Dog. This isn’t Narnia.
But you can Trust me on this, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog of course Trusts the Owner. But he does not Trust the Tree. And he certainly does not Trust the Squirrels.
I make my Move.
As it turns out there are no Squirrels. Why did she not warn me that this Tree is inhabited by a Porcupine?
After the needles have been removed by the Vet we return home. My nose is much better and I have been given a very large piece of Dead Ox and an injection to protect me against Porcupines. I hope the Tree will be gone when we get home, I say. I do not like the Tree.
The Owner rings the door bell.
I have finished, calls the Man. You can bring him in.
Come on Hergest, says the Owner.
We enter the Kitchen.
Tra-la, says the Owner.
Something amazing has happened to the tree. The Man has Performed Magic. The tree is covered with lots of little shiny lights. There is tinsel on the tree. There are toys. There is even, dangling on the bottom, a small bedtime biscuit. I cannot see the Porcupine. My Feelings for the Tree are Substantially Altered.
It is a Christmas Tree, says the Owner.
The Tree twinkles. The Tree flashes. The Tree is a Winter Wonderland. It is the Loveliest Tree I have ever seen. It is sparkly and pretty. I gaze at the Tree in Wonder.
Do you still Want to Attack the Tree? Asks the Owner.
Certainly not, I say, affronted. It is a Beautiful Tree. No Moral Dog would Attack a Tree like that.
Good, says the Owner. I am so glad we have that sorted out.
Good, says the Man to the Owner. I am so glad That Dog has learned his lesson.
I certainly have. The Tree is Lovely. I need to Defend this Tree. There is no better Tree in all of Narnia. The minute they stop watching me I’m going to get in there and get the Porcupine out of it.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.