11/20/10

Greyfriars Bobby

A rectangle of red clay marked the freshly filled grave at Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. There was no headstone. Its tubercular occupant was a night-watchman of the Edinburg police, a man of simple means with no family. Very few people even knew him. His schedule permitted little contact with the average citizen; off to sleep as the rest of the city was just beginning to stir and back to work again as they retired. Except for his coworkers, John Gray’s main contacts with society were the drunks and thieves and ladies of the night. He did have one friend though. His name was Bobby and they’d grown quite close during their two years together.

Bobby wasn’t at the funeral; he hadn’t even known that his friend was dead, just that he didn’t come home one morning. So when he strolled through the gates of the churchyard and found the newly-dug plot he knew instinctively who lay six feet below. But the knowledge didn’t lessen his confusion and he struggled to understand. He’d noticed the cough shortly after it began but as the wheezing became a normal part of John’s respiration, Bobby grew used to it and soon forgot about it. He lay down on the soft bed of clay and fell asleep, dreaming about his best friend in the world.

How long he’d been asleep he didn’t know, but he bolted at the loud commands of the caretaker and hid himself in the woods. When he thought it was safe, he returned again, circled, and lay back down on the grave.

For three days, the caretaker chased Bobby away. And then it dawned on him. Greyfriars Bobby was John Gray’s dog. Bobby would spend the next fourteen years at his deceased master’s graveside until he too finally expired on January 14, 1872.

7 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Wasn't there another dog who waited at a Japanese train station for years? I forgot whether the master ever came home again.

On the other hand, all the dogs I have ever "owned" seemed to be on constant lookout for a better gig. The little turncoats . . .

cyurkanin said...

You had me literally laugh out loud at that one, ma'am. The Japanese one was an Akita named Hachiko who went to the train station every day for 8 years at the exact same time waiting for his dead owner to return. There's a statue of him that's a popular meeting place and a stop on the train named after him too. At the time, there were only 30 pure bred Akitas left in all of Japan and his popularity literally saved the breed. He was used in WWII for propaganda, extolling his loyalty. I was going to write about him last year but then Richard Gere made a movie about him so I dropped it.

pennyyak said...

Are you serious? What was that movie called?

I didn't know he'd made any since Pretty Women. My movie life is shaped by Netflix.

cyurkanin said...

Penny: It's probably on Netflix, it's called Hachiko: A Dog Story.

cyurkanin said...

There's an old one from the 60's about Greyfriars Bobby also probably on Netflix.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I knew there was a book, but I hadn't known about the movie at all. But that's totally something the New Age Richard Gere would do.

pennyyak said...

I don't know much about Richard Gere (other than he's a good looking fellow!).

Netflix probably does have these, I'll have to check. I should have more accurately said Netflix rules my movie watching life through their suggestions. I don't do searches that often (my queue is about 200 movies), but none of them are about dogs.