By J. D. Clark
Before dogs were pets, they all lived far across the sea from the human lands on the island of Roverdam. They were wild, ferocious, selfish, and mean animals, with tails that seldom wagged.
One day, the dog king, who was the toughest and meanest of all the canines, was alerted by his sentinel mutts that a small boy had arrived on a makeshift raft to the island. The guards brought the boy to the king's cave. When the dog king saw the boy, he growled, and bearing his sharp teeth, asked,"Who are you and why are you here?!"
"I am a boy, and I am looking for a pet," said the boy.
"A pet? What is that?!" demanded the dog king.
"A pet is a companion, a best friend, loyal to his master,"said the boy.
"Master? Companion? Friend? Loyalty? I do not know what these are either!" barked the king.
"A master cares for his pet. He leads and rules over him. A companion stands by his master in times of joy to celebrate with him and in times of trouble to comfort him. A best friend is someone who loves his master no matter what he has done or who he is. And loyalty means a pet loves his master so much that he is willing to give his life for him,"answered the boy.
Still confused, the dog king grew impatient, for he had little to none. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't rip you apart right now!"he snarled.
But before the king finished his threat, the boy reached over the dog king's head and began stroking it's fur.
The guards moved to restrain the boy but the king made motioned for them to stay. For the king had never been pet before. And he whimpered with each caress, and his tail, which had been still for many years, began to wag.
Then, the boy scratched under the king's chin which also felt very delightsome. And soon the dog king was on it's back, yelping with pleasure, as the boy scratched his belly where the king could never fully reach himself.
When the king was fully relaxed and his tongue was nearly touching the floor, he said,"Now you can do the same to all my subjects and I may spare your life."
And so the boy petted and scratched all the subjects until the whole kingdom was wagging and panting with full delight.
But now they were all hungry. And so the canine servants brought bones out to feed the king and his subjects.
"Bones! Bones! I am bored with these bones,"complained the king. Then he looked over at the boy.
"You have a good portion of meat on you and would be fun to chase. Give me one good reason why I should not eat your bones?" he said.
"Gather the bones and bring them to the beach,"said the boy.
So the king and his subjects obeyed and when they arrived on the beach, the boy held up one of the bones to the king's snout for a moment and then threw it as high and as far as he could along the beach yelling,"Fetch!"
Instinctively, the king darted off in the direction of the thrown bone, catching it just before it hit the ground. Then he brought it back proudly and sucked off it's succulent fat and meat which seemed to never end. Next, the boy threw the other bones for the other dogs which they chased and returned and devoured. And this went on, one by one, until until very late in the evening.
Then, full and tired, they all fell asleep in one very big dog pile.
The next morning, they were all awakened by drops of rain on their cold noses. "This is strange,"said the dog king,"We have not had rain for a long time."
The rain was welcomed at first, but it did not stop. It rained and rained all day long, and the next day, harder and harder. It continued for many days until the dogs began to notice something very disastrous was happening to the island.
"Roverdam is sinking!"barked the king at the boy,"You have brought this curse upon us-give me one good reason not to make you pay for this!"
"I will save you,"said the boy. Then, the boy made an ax with a rock and a stick and began cutting down trees. He cut down nearly every tree and vine on the island as quickly as he could and attached the logs to his raft until it was very large.
"Climb aboard!" he said.
And so the dog king and all the dogs of Roverdam boarded the raft, which was just large enough to fit all of them, while they whined at their island vanishing into the rising tide.
"Now where is the boy?" said the dog king, seeing he was not to be found on the raft, "you see, he has abandoned us."
"No," said the boy who was swimming beside the raft, "I have not abandoned you. I am here below you. I will swim this raft to safety."
"Ruff! Ruff!" a sentinel dog barked, "It is too late! There is a tidal wave rolling towards us. Now we will all surely die!"
And truly there was a very high wave about to crash down on the raft. But the boy kicked with all his might and lifted the raft up over the towering wave, pushing it to safe and calm waters.
But the wave crashed with it's mighty force and weight upon the boy and he was drowned in the depths of the sea.
The dogs of Roverdam howled and moaned with despair as they sailed away into the falling night, for they missed their home. And they missed the boy.
Then, the dog king spoke by moonlight to all his canine subjects. "It is a sad day for dogs, 'tis true, "he said, "But it is a new day, as well. For now we know what it means to be a companion, a best friend, a loyal pet, and a master. And this boy has shown us the happiness that humans have to offer. And so, let us travel to the human world and we shall become man's best friend and pet in honor of the boy who gave his life for us."
And so all the dogs bowed their heads in submission, tails wagging, as they sailed forth to the human lands to honor their friend, their companion, their master, the Master of Roverdam.