I am not wearing that for dinner, I tell the Owner, it looks silly.
It is the Rule for Christmas Dinner, says the Owner, the Man and I are wearing ours. She has a shiny hat on her head which makes her look very slightly like a Lighthouse.
The Moral Dog does not wear a silly hat, I say, not even when he is eating turkey. It is Not Dignified.
We shall see, says the Owner, laying the table. First though we must Watch the Queen.
Indeed, I say. We can watch whatever you like, I say. Nobody is putting a silly hat on me, I say.
They turn on the TV. The Owner and the Man balance the shiny hats and watch politely. I attempt to bury my hat under a cushion. Look, it is the Queen, says the Owner.
She is not wearing a crown, I observe.
She only wears it at lunchtimes, says the Owner, and when she sees the Prime Minister.
I did not realise the Crown came off, I say. How did she get to be Queen?
Well, says the Owner, originally it was the divine right of kings (or queens), a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy in which the king (or queen) is pre-selected as an heir prior to his birth. Now that the divine right has rather gone out of fashion, it is more about being born next in the Queue. When you are next in the Queue you have to wear the Crown at mealtimes and to see the Prime Minister.
How long is this Queue? I ask.
Very long, says the Owner.
Are you in the Queue? I ask.
Even the Prime Minister is in the Queue, says the Owner. Everyone is in the Queue. If the Queen were abducted by Martians then Prince Charles would be next, and then his eldest child, and so forth. Eventually it would reach the Prime Minister and he would be Queen.
That would take a lot of Martians, I say. Is that very likely?
One never knows with Martians, says the Owner, how many there will be. If there were enough abductions then even the Prime Minister would also be gone.
How far down the queue am I? I ask. I would imagine that the Moral Dog, being such a true and faithful companion would be fairly high up in the Queue, I add.
Well, says the Owner, I imagine you are some way after the Prince of Wales and Meghan Markle, but a little ahead of Jeremy the Beagle, and also ahead of me as I would give up my place.
Why would you do that? I ask.
The Owner sighs. I do not have the necessary nobility to wear a Crown, she says. As you can tell from the rather foolish appearance of my lunchtime hat.
This is excellent, I say, I had no idea I was so Royal. I will start practising immediately. It would be a shame to give up one’s place in the queue owing to such trivial Hat issues.
We have a lovely Christmas lunch. I wear my Crown for all the photographs. I think I look extremely Queenly. Actually I am never taking it off. Caspar will love it. Although I am not sure quite how I will explain it to Jeremy the Beagle.
Well done, says the Man to the Owner, as they clear the plates away.
Shush, she says.
Ouch, he says, that was my toe.
Was it? She says. Whoops.
Sometimes they are very odd.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.