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Monday, April 06, 2009

My Dog Marcus by Colin Howard

I was reading Shivu's post (in Kannada) about how street dogs took revenge on his newspaper distribution team. Thinking of how clever animals can be, first thing that came to my mind was "My Dog Marcus"

My Dog Marcus was one of my favorite animal stories from my school time English textbook. There were hundreds of other interesting stories in our CBSE English textbooks, but this is one story I still recall once a while and enjoy. (we had it in our 8th Std I guess- about 12 years ago- good old days). Suddenly this story came to my mind and felt like reading it again. I googled it but no result. (this proves Google still has lots of archiving to do). I couldn’t recall the author- contacted my classmates and drew a blank. Called our english teacher and she replied that the said textbook isn't in use anymore and english text book has been changed twice since we left and she'll try to get author's name. If any of you can identify who wrote this story please comment.

My dog Marcus is an interesting story. Since it is not available on internet, I’m rewriting an abridged version below, for your quick reference.

It’s a story of a family and their pet dog, Marcus. Marcus was a very good dog, but had one peculiar character-it hated being taken for a walk. Its owners had to wake it up and literally drag it along to give it some exercise.

One fine day, Marcus gets a novel idea to save itself from the trouble of going for a walk. It started acting deaf. It wouldn’t respond when called and behave with innocence as if it heard nothing. Initially the owners seriously believed that their pet dog has gone deaf and stopped bothering it much. They stopped troubling it for a walk and used to take its food to wherever it was. This went on for a while.

One day, while Marcus was away in a different room and the family was having lunch, a piece of meat falls down on the ground, making some noise. Next moment Marcus leapt from its room, ran towards the meat and started chewing it. The owners were shocked- how did Marcus hear the meat piece fall? They realized that Marcus wasn’t deaf at all and was cunningly acting as one.
Deciding to teach Marcus a lesson, the owner (husband and wife) avoided making any noise when Marcus was around. They would just make lip movements and act as if they were speaking-they would run TV on mute-and every other precaution to make sure that Marcus doesn’t hear any sound.

The absolute silence went on for several days and Marcus started feeling worried. “Did I really go deaf? Why can’t I hear my owners talk?” it wondered and grew tense.
One fine day the owners decided to break the deadlock and announced “Marcus, let’s go for a walk” On hearing the words Marcus’s joy knew no bounds and it leapt with all its energy. Thereafter Marcus never complained about going for a walk. -with due credits to the author, whose name couldn't be recalled yet.

This abridged version is no replacement for the detailed original one. But hope you managed to get the essence of it. What’s your favorite story from your language textbooks? 

June 2010 Update: Thanks to vfive, I managed to trace the author and full story. My Dog Marcus is written by Colin Howard and full story can be found here

43 comments :

Radhika Ganesan said...

Such a sweet story and amazingly you are still in touch with you English teacher through phone !!! wow , that's crazy! Your post has brought back so many incidents of my English class ; spl. English because the entire class loved my English teacher...girls like her because one of the best possible teachers and boys liked her more because she was good and she was gorgeous :D!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, most of us from JNVC are regularly in touch with our school. We spent several memorable years there and hence can't easily forget those good days.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Kavitha said...

I remember the stroy of Ruskin Bond, in the same CBSE english books....

'The train stops at Shamli' - this brought the first effects of a love story.

I also remember R.K.Narayanan's 'The Astrologer'.

English was my favourite subject and have always been fodn of stories!!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Kavitha,
Thanks for sharing.

I'm unable to recall that Ruskin bond story. Let me try to read it.

Anand Gadiyar said...

There were many favorite stories over the years. Here's one from PU days I think.

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/MilPou.shtml

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Anand,
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I really wish I could read the original story. If ever you get the link do post it here

navneet

V!n^Y said...

Even I also remembered this story, and i liked it 2 much when i was child.

I love this story name " MY DOG MARCUS"

And Thanks for sharing this beautiful memory from past.
-vinay

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Vinay,
Thanks for sharing your expressions

Shivam Suryavanshi said...

i just wanted to know marcus' daily schedule as desribed in the book..it was like 16 hours of sleep, 8 hours of intensive eating..i cant remember it all. If you, plz post it here

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Shivam,

Unfortunately I am unable to recall it as well. Hope other readers would be able to help

Lazy Pineapple said...

aww what a sweet story and what a naughty dog. Jerome K. Jerome used to write tongue in cheek humor...maybe it is his...

aditi said...

hey i wanted to send u a press release. let me know ur mail id or rivert back on aditi.gupta@text100.co.in

Anu Menon said...

I was talking to my husband about your investment plan and he was so totally awed by it... I am sooooo enjoying your blog these days...

Anu Menon said...

I have had street dog experiences both bad and good though the good>bad...

From when i can remember our family has loved dogs... really loved them.... we mostly always had pets and i remember all their names... n then when we didnt have pets at home i used to adopt street dogs and give them food... 1 particular puppy i named browny used to follow me to the bus stop everyday for 2 years... It passed away in 2007 and i had it buried near my home... Now we have a lab at home and he is a pampered brat but very loving!!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

LP,

Thanks. Not sure if it is Jerome... Even our English teacher doesn't seem to remember. No luck at Google either...

Aditi,
replied u by mail

Anu,

Glad u r enjoying... My pleasure. Thanks for sharing the stories of ur pet dogs. Love to Dude...

daffodils2 said...

That is a very sweet story about an intelligent dog:). I was reminded of a lesson from my English book which had a feature from the famous novel 'Jamaica Inn' by Daphne du Maurier. The story aroused my curiosity and i wanted to read the entire novel. That's how i began reading literature in school.

vfive said...

It's a story by Colin Howard. Pl. search in Google by the writer's name and you will get the original story.
Yes it's lovely

Vani Bhat

Shrinidhi Hande said...

vfive, thanks a lot for that info. I managed to trace the full article.

All: Refer this for full story: http://www.tutornext.com/my-dog-marcus/5520

Shrinidhi Hande said...

daffodils,
THanks for sharing your experience

Bhaumik Suthar said...

his daily schedule was 16hours of sleeping, 6hours of rest, 2 hours for eating

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Bhumik,
thanks for recalling those stats!

chinthana said...

hey nidhi.. the Ruskin Bond story we had in class IX was "Pret in the house"!!! Thanx for making me nostalgic with "My dog Marcus":)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Chintana:
Thanks for the info

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

ya i know dis story is written by colin howard

Rajendra raikwar said...

I will surely come back for more

Anonymous said...

i know this chapter very well its my dod marcus and there r many chapters which i remember very well as i am student of 10 grade i know everything ans this chapter is of our grade student to learn

Vasudha Hande said...

or here
http://www.ciudadseva.com/sevacity/stories/ru/chekhov/the_bet.htm

Vasudha Hande said...

'THE BET' by Anton Chekhov is another nice story i can recall.
link here: http://www.ciudadseva.com/sevacity/stories/ru/chekhov/the_bet.htm

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Vasudha and Rajendra

selvam said...

When I was in elementary school may be class 6th or 7th the story of My Dog Marcus was text book syllabus. Now we had a Labrador Puppy and that reminded my school days and I shared with my wife who said she never heard of it. then I search by writing few lines of the story and I got it. eNidhi India, we appreciate your archival collection of good old stories forgotten for years. thanks a lot.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

You're welcome Selvam

harshil parsumiya said...

hey i know my dog marcus....its penned by colin howard. in gujarat our gseb 10 std still has this story as chapter-1.
goodluck!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for the info Harshil

srujana reddy said...

This is My childhood best story. I love this story very much...I recall all my schooldays...thank you.☺

Rachna said...

haha Loved the tale.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Rachna and Srujana

Pepper Potts said...

This story was one of my favorite stories... Loved it..


Following link will help you to read the story online

http://kashyap-kanojiya.blogspot.in/2011/06/ch-1-my-dog-marcus.html?m=1

Rohit Mevada said...

Colin Howard

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Rohit :)

@Kashyap- sure

Dhruv Pandya said...

well its is written by Colin Howard...
This story is in my english textbook along with the author's name it says - Colin Howard

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Dhruv- yours is which board? CBSE? and which std?

Vaghasiya Janki :) said...

Hello,
Author is Colin Howard and this is original story.....

Anyone who has met Marcus, my huge, handsome, lazy, stupid St. Bernard, will not believe that he recently had an idea. This idea was certainly the first he has ever had and I cannot think how he recognized it.
The idea had something to do with making life easy for St Bernards. For it is Marcus' belief that a day should consist of sixteen hours of sleep, six hours of rest, and two hours of intensive eating. But he is occasionally called on to work - that is, to take a walk after breakfast as far as the nearest corner and back. A real dog would look forward to this, trembling with expectation. To Marcus, it is sheer, brutal slavery.
Roughly, then, his idea was this : "If I were deaf, I couldn't hear when they called me for my walk, and they wouldn't be able to move me, because nothing can move me. So I will pretend to be deaf."
The day on which he put his plan into action my wife came to me much disturbed. "Poor old Marcus has gone deaf !" she exclaimed.
"Deaf ?" I cried. "But he could hear perfectly well last night." I went into the kitchen and addressed him. "Coming for a walk, Marcus ?" I said.
Marcus, like a perfect actor, gazed at me with eager devotion, as though he would have given his last bone to have heard what I said. After a good deal of shouting, we left him where he was, and he went to sleep smiling.
It was some days before we noticed that Marcus was only partly deaf, he was still able to hear anything connected with food. I was carving a joint one Sunday when a tiny scrap of meat slipped from the fork and dropped on the carpet. Although Marcus was asleep in the kitchen - some distance away, he heard it fall. He hurtled into the dining-room and gulped it down.
"Hey !" I said. "I thought you were deaf."
Marcus' jaw and tail both dropped. He seemed to remember that he was deaf.
Not much later he failed to hear three repeated commands to come out for a walk - then leapt to his feet at the arrival of the butcher. In the end, my wife and I agreed that he had to be cured.
The course we took was not, perhaps, entirely sporting. Marcus had gone deaf; we would go silent. When Marcus was about we would now go through the actions of speaking but would not say a word.
Marcus' first reaction was to be lazily puzzled. Very soon he was really worried. Had he overestimated his power and gone really deaf ? The horrible part was that, for all he knew, we might be talking about food. The thought of what he might be missing was real torture to him.
As we mouthed silently at one another, Marcus would stare painfully into our faces, trying, I swear to lip - read. Also, as he was never called now for meals, I doubt if he had fourteen hours' real sleep out of the twenty-four, and he worried himself down to about three hundred pounds in weight.
We kept this up for several days. Then we decided to restore Marcus' hearing. I said in a loud voice one morning "Come on, Marcus ! Time for your walk, boy.
An expression of beautiful relief spread over his vast face. He was not deaf at all ! He bounced to his feet. He frisked to the gate like a lively pony. He joyously took one of the longest walks of his career - almost half a mile.
Marcus was not troubled again with his deafness; neither were we.


Hope I helped... :)