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December 11th. The sheep.

I have a Box for you, says the Postman. It is from Spain, says the Postman.

I will take it from you, says the Owner.

I do not think that you will, says the Postman, heaving the box over the doorstep with the aid of two Other Postmen and a Wheelbarrow.

The Postmen leave, talking about Christmas Hernias.

The Owner and the Moral Dog are left Gazing at the Box.

Is it my Christmas Fridge? I ask.

No, on So Many Levels, says the Owner.

I suppose the Christmas Fridge I have Chosen is Even Bigger than That Box, I say.

It is, says the Owner. And it is not a Christmas Fridge, says the Owner. It is an Imaginary Fridge, says the Owner. Dream On, says the Owner.

Has the Owner had a Shoe Purchasing Moment under the Influence of the Triumph of the US Election? I ask. One could Understand it, I say. Even the Moral Dog felt an Impulse to sing the Star Spangled Banner, I say.

I noticed, says the Owner. We All Noticed, says the Owner. But no, says the Owner. It is not Shoes, says the Owner.

That is a relief, I say. Given that it is such a Large Box, I say.

It is Rather Larger than I Expected, says the Owner.

Is that not Exciting? I ask.

Not all Excitement is Good Excitement, says the Owner. It is probably exciting being Shot from a Cannon, says the Owner. But not in a Good Way, says the Owner.

What is in it? I ask.

I have a feeling, says the Owner, that this to do with Perdita.

Who is Perdita? I ask.

Our Sheep, says the Owner.

Ice trickles down the Moral Dog’s spine. When were you planning to Inform the Moral Dog that we had a Sheep? I ask.

I am informing you now, says the Owner. Is it not a Nice Surprise? Says the Owner.

The Moral Dog gazes at the Box. No, I say. It is the end of all my Hopes, I say. And my Dreams, I say. That is, I say, my Dreams about my Hopes, I say. Doubtless the Dream about the Herd of Man-eating Sheep will Persist, I say. Man-eating Sheep are like that, I say.

What was the Moral Dog hoping for? Asks the Owner.

Just little more notice of Eviction, I say. This would have allowed him to gather what is Left of his Dignity, I say. To pack his Meagre Possessions and Take to the Road, I say. Sleeping in Hedges, I say. Almost certainly Gnawed upon by Nocturnal Stoats, I say. And a Brief Explanation, I say. Of why a Sheep, I say. And why This Sheep, I say. And why now, I say. Just as you were becoming Almost Reasonable, I say.

The Moral Dog is Being Silly, says the Owner. Just because we have a Sheep we do not Love the Moral Dog any less, says the Owner. Love is not Like That, says the Owner.

That may be True, I say, but the Issue is whether the Sheep will see it that way, I say. You may have to Choose between the Sheep and the Moral Dog, I say. Then we will know what Love is Like, I say.

The Sheep would not ask me to Choose between a Sheep and a Moral Dog, says the Owner. In Fact, says the Owner, one can hardly call such a Dog Moral, says the Owner, since he is forcing a Coercive Choice which, on Gerald Dworkin’s Account of Autonomy, is not Autonomy at all, says the Owner. Since Autonomy is vested in not only Choosing but Choosing to Choose, says the Owner. And the Reasons for which we Choose to Choose, says the Owner.

You may find, I say, that a Sheep is not Quite so Frugal in what it Chooses to Choose, I say. I have Heard that Some of them expect an Entire Freezer, I say. Which makes it All the more Inexplicable, I say. That you would Purchase a Sheep, I say.

It is not Inexplicable, says the Owner. It is to assist Farmers in Distress, says the Owner.

I am not surprised they are in Distress, I say, if they have Sheep, I say. You never know what Sheep will do, I say. They may Sneak into your Bedroom and Chew Your Toes in the Night, I say.

I have never heard of a Sheep doing that, says the Owner.

That is because they Cover their Tracks, I say. Stoats are generally Blamed, I say.

They are Scapestoats, says the Owner. Ha ha, says the Owner.

This is Hardly a Time for Laughter, I say. When we are in Peril from an Evil Toe-Eating Sheep, I say.

This sheep is a Manchego sheep, says the Owner. I do not think they like Toes, says the Owner. I think that they are almost certainly…

The Moral Dog heard only one word. Manchego, I say. Is that not a Cheese? I ask.

Indeed, says the Owner. Perdita’s milk is used to make cheese, says the Owner. We have Sponsored Perdita because she makes Cheese, says the Owner.

You mean she gets Paid to make Cheese? I ask. the Moral Dog does not Get Paid, I say. Unless you include the Occasional Walk and the Random and roughly Semi-Annual resurrections of Squeaky Cat, most Recently and Inexplicably disguised as a Squeaky Octopus, I say. The Moral Dog rather now wishes he were a Sheep, I say. Does the Owner not wish to be a Sheep? I ask.

I wish the Box were not so Big, says the Owner. The Man may Question my Wisdom, says the Owner.

You mean as he did when you Sponsored a Llama and we Realised it was Arriving by DPD? I ask.

No, says the Owner. That was a Misunderstanding, says the Owner. I am Off the DPD Blacklist Now, says the Owner. But the Box does not Contain Perdita, says the Owner. It contains only Cheese, says the Owner.

You mean that Whole Box contains Nothing but Cheese? I say.

I am Filled with Fear that it is So, says the Owner.

The Moral Dog is Also Filled with Something but it is not Fear. The Nocturnal Stoats will have to Gnaw on Something else. The Moral Dog’s meagre Possessions can stay where they are, in Several Cupboards, two Drawers and a Wardrobe. Let us Find Out, I say.

The Owner levers the Wooden Lid off the Cheese. Together, the Owner and the Moral Dog gaze at the Contents. It is more Cheese than the Moral Dog has ever seen in his Life, unless you count his Dreams (you could not get that much Cheese in a Box – at least, not one that could have been Managed by Two Postmen, not even if they had an Articulated Post Lorry.) That is a Lot of Cheese, I say.

Yes, says the Owner, faintly. The Man will not be Impressed, says the Owner. He may mention the Llama again, says the Owner. The Moral Dog was Most Astute in That Respect, says the Owner.

We will have to Hide It, I say.

One cannot Hide this Amount of Cheese, says the Owner. This would be like Hiding the Empire State Building, says the Owner. And Even More Difficult, says the Owner. Since the Cheese, if not Chilled, may very quickly develop a Life of its Own, says the Owner.

The Moral Dog can Help, I say. Allow me to Nobly Save the Day, I say.

I do not see How the Moral Dog can do so, says the Owner.

Because, I say, if you order in the next 2 hours and 13 minutes the Christmas Fridge will be here before 10pm, I say. How Fortunate it was that I placed it in your Amazon Shopping Basket, I say.

It is not a Christmas Fridge, says the Owner.

It is now, I say.

Argh, says the Owner.

The Moral Dog is Looking forward to before 10pm. It’s beginning to look a Lot like Christmas.

Categories: cheese dignity dog dog philosophy

Hergest the Hound

I am a dog of many thoughts.

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