Saturday, September 08, 2018

A Dark Brown Dog


A Dark Brown Dog is a 1901 Stephen Crane short story. Such a hard, sad tale! You can read it online here. It begins,
A Child was standing on a street-corner. He leaned with one shoulder against a high board-fence and swayed the other to and fro, the while kicking carelessly at the gravel.

Sunshine beat upon the cobbles, and a lazy summer wind raised yellow dust which trailed in clouds down the avenue. Clattering trucks moved with indistinctness through it. The child stood dreamily gazing.

After a time, a little dark-brown dog came trotting with an intent air down the sidewalk. A short rope was dragging from his neck. Occasionally he trod upon the end of it and stumbled.

He stopped opposite the child, and the two regarded each other. The dog hesitated for a moment, but presently he made some little advances with his tail. The child put out his hand and called him. In an apologetic manner the dog came close, and the two had an interchange of friendly pattings and waggles. The dog became more enthusiastic with each moment of the interview, until with his gleeful caperings he threatened to overturn the child. Whereupon the child lifted his hand and struck the dog a blow upon the head.

11 comments:

  1. I am not good with sad dog stories. Just your little bit here is tough. OK, not for me. happy Saturday-maybe you'll read or watch something cheerier. hugs-Erika

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    1. It was hard to make it through that one :( I'd rather read horror than sadness any day.

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  2. This was NOT sad, but beyond it. This was narcissistic, cruel, and should never have been featured in a collection of tales for high school kids. There's enough abuse in this world already, and it just goes to show how abuse is handed down from parent to child.

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    1. It was first published in Cosmopolitan, March 1901, and I think serves well as it was intended -as an allegory about the South with the dog representing the freed slaves during Reconstruction.

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    2. Somehow I missed the allegory part. Possibly because I only saw what was on the surface, the dog, the cruelty, and the abusive father.

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  3. What a hard, cruel story - but unfortunately the fate of many poor animals. Valerie

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    1. Isn't it! Definitely a cruel tale.

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  4. Back from a blogging break, I'm so happy to find this still running. I love the Stephen Crane story "The Open Boat" - very hard hitting. This looks to be the same. Will read it.

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    1. It's hard to believe he was only 28 when he died, isn't it :( He achieved so much in such a short career.

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