A Cursed Life
I daydream of being a knight.
As a knight, I am strong, covered with shining armour, polished to perfection by my squire. Fit and in the prime of my life, I joust and fight and win. I accept prizes, gold, hearts of girls, places of power, admiration of all.
I open my eyes. Stretching, I yawn to show my sharp canines. I sit for a moment and look around the sparse house. It took a moment to shake off the dream, the gold and glitz, and settle into the other life. The door is open, letting in clean country air, and I trot out from under the kitchen table and go outside.
The smell of summer with this nose is a wonderful thing. But it is no silver armour.
The little girl is playing in the stream with her sister, their tattered skirts held up in their hands. The mother is hanging washing out onto the line. She bends down to stroke the wiry fur on my head as I pad past her, and I rub into her hand, my ears flattening.
Once in the forest, sniffing out the rabbits is easy enough. I am faster now than a knight, who is burdened with heavy armour and weapons. But the thunder of hooves in a hunting party is to be missed, when your heart beats in time with their frantic feet. I am silent now as I follow a trail on padded feet, and my heart does not dance with excitement of the chase. It is all too easy now.
I soon see a bigger prize than a bunny. Racing towards it, I listen to its wings flapping frantically as it tries to get its plump body off the floor, but soon enough there are feathers between my teeth.
That night, I sit under the kitchen table, watching the swinging legs of the girls as they eat the roasted pheasant in a contented silence. Their happiness shines through the air at the first good meal since the bakers wagon had trundled past on its way to the palace. I lick the toes of the little one and listen to her giggles.
She climbs under the table with me, and drops a bone at my paws. I crunch up my meal as she sits against my side, stroking my fur and whispering about how much she loves me.
Being a knight was good, I guess, but a dog’s life is not so bad either.