I found the Ball in a Dark Corner of the Park when I was playing Hide and Seek with the Owner. One minute I was Alone in the Bushes, the next Moment it was there. Almost as if it was Meant for Me.
Hergest, Leave the Ball and come out of the Park, says the Owner. It is Very Soggy, and it is Not Ours. There are Many Better Balls at home.
I do not want to, I say. It is my Ball now, I say. I want to Play, I say.
A Good Dog would Come Home with his Owner, says the Owner. Particularly when she is Tired and Has a Limp, she adds.
That is not a Real Limp, I say. Do not Oppress me with your Fake Limp.
I am trying to Snap you Out of It, says the Owner, by Calling upon your Natural and Instinctive Concern for an Injured Owner.
If I had an Injured Owner my Natural Affection would come to the Fore, I say, but I do not, so it does not and I am Staying Here to Play. It is My Ball. Mine Alone. You Cannot Take It.
You are not sounding Very Moral, says the Owner. You are sounding Somewhat Obsessed.
That is Nonsense, I say. I am not Anywhat Obsessed. I simply Desire to Stay with My Ball. It is a Perfect Ball. It is Mine. I Found It.
Harry Frankfurt says that for Moral Beings desires are arranged in a hierarchy, says the Owner. First-order desires are Desires for Things like Balls; second-order Desires are Desires not to be Entirely Led by First Order Desires. A Moral Dog cannot be Truly Moral if he is driven only by First Order desires. He must Desire not to Desire in order to be Moral. You need to Reign in Your Desires.
I disagree, I say. A Moral Dog may Desire the Ball and also Desire to Desire the Ball. He may even Desire to Desire to Desire the Ball. He may Nevertheless Accept that a Genuinely Limping Owner might lead him to Desire not to Desire the Ball, but that is a highly Hypothetical Situation that the Moral Dog is not in.
Some People, says the Owner, might suggest you are Possessed by the Ball.
That is Rubbish, I say. Moral Dogs cannot be possessed by Balls, It is My Ball. Mine.
If you are not Obsessed or Possessed, says the Owner, give the Ball to Me.
Did you say something? I ask. Did we hear her, Precious?
I know you Heard, says the Owner. But you cannot Respond. Your Brain is Stuck. Put the Ball down and it will Unstick again.
I do not need to put the Ball down to Unstick my Brain, I say. Nasty Ownserses are Trying to Take the Precious, I say. Who said that? I say.
Oh Good Lord, says the Owner.
Moments Later, or at least it seems like Moments Later, we walk companionably together from the Park. I have the Strangest Memory of Wrestling with the Owner, of the Ball Disappearing into some Kind of Volcano.
The Park Keeper must be Burning Leaves, says the Owner. Do you smell smoke?
I do, I say, strangely with the Faintest Hint of Singled Tennis Ball. How Strange.
Indeed, says the Owner.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.