Friday, 5 December 2008

How The Yorkshire Terrier Became So Small

Once upon a time, in the middle of a small island which was in the middle of a very big sea, lived the Terriers. These terriers were nothing like the animal you know today, though – they were much larger, and had dry, shaggy hair that covered their bodies. Now, if the terriers on this island had one passion in life; it was in hunting. It was necessary for survival, of course, but the terriers enjoyed the hunt so much that they had mastered it into an art form. They would form groups and take turns hunting each other in-between the times they would go hunting for food, and when it came to bed-time the stories they told were all based upon the art of the hunt. They hunted all day, and when they couldn’t sleep they hunted at night, also. Such powerful creatures as they were, they were well-equipped for such hunts, and they were almost always successful.

Their pride at hunting, and their passion for the skill, was to be their undoing. Such strong, athletic animals were bound to become too dominant for such a small island, and within a few years the terriers had overrun the place. There was no space for any of the other animals to live – and those that did find a home were quickly hunted down themselves. In little time at all, the terriers had hunted down and eaten all the other animals on the island, and began to run out of food entirely. After days of searching and hunting, without any success, the leaders organised a meeting for their species, and every single terrier left on the island was to be a part of it.

Now, the terriers were a proud species. Despite the lack of other animals for them to eat, they refused to turn on each other for sustenance, as it would lack honour and dignity. At the meeting, some of the terriers suggested eating the birds that flew overhead, but the head terrier turned down this idea, on the grounds that if the island gained a reputation for killing birds, word would soon spread and the feathery creatures would avoid the island ever after, leaving them back at square one. Other terriers wondered if it might be possible to turn vegetarian, but this idea was also ruled out on the grounds that there was no fun to be had in hunting plants, which would not run when confronted. After several hours of debate and theorising, one terrier stepped up to take her turn, and she made a new suggestion: they take to the sea, and eat the fish they find there, until they reached a new island.

The other terriers all agreed that this was a good idea indeed, and they decreed that they must set out immediately into the vast blue oceans that surrounded them. One group went westwards, while the other group went eastwards, and the terriers prospered. At first, they found it difficult to swim, especially with their shaggy fur which slowed them down to frustrating speed. However, as time went on, the terriers shed their coats altogether. The warm water made their fur grow back quickly after, but it also changed their fur forever, into a sleeker, more aerodynamic shape. They found that they could now swim far more quickly, and their hunting was more successful because of it. They hunted fish, and crabs, and developed new hunting techniques never seen before.

Their quest reached an end, however, when one of the terriers finally sighted the shoreline up ahead, and yapped out a warning to the others. As they approached, they shook the water from their fur and ran on up the coastline, eager to finally be able to hunt on their own terms again. Yet something was different.

As they shouted their arrival on this strange new coast several large, monstrous animals appeared from the horizon, and chased the terriers all across the hills. Eventually the terriers managed to find some caves to hide in, but the truth was plain to see: the animals which they had previously been able to tower over, now towered over them. They had shrunk in the ocean. Some of their number argued that this would work in their favour – they would be able to develop their hunting skills further, and this could bring them great honour. Yet, as well you know, level-heads always prevail, and the smarter terriers knew that there was no way they could stand up to such monsters on their own. They needed an ally.

As they basked in the cave, they realised that the warmth came from deeper down, in the very heart of the place, and they went to investigate. What they found was a creature different to any they had seen before, sat at a fireplace with several other creatures who looked similar to him. He had captured and killed one of the monsters, and was cooking it over the fire. The terriers looked amongst each other, and realised that they had found their new ally. They approached the creature, who was Man, and asked him where they were.

“You’re in Yorkshire,” he told them.

And so the terriers from then on were known as the Yorkshire Terriers. And they went on to have a long and prosperous relationship with Man. Ah, now you’re wondering where the other group of terriers ended up, aren’t you? Well, those terriers developed differently, losing most of their fur so it became short, and their ears became bigger so they could hear the sound of fishes swimming. After swimming for almost a year, these animals landed upon the shore of Mexico, and became the Chihuahuas.

1 comment:

  1. Poor things...not only did they end up in Yorkshire but they became one of the most piddling breeds of dog ever! Nevermind, one day, Leonbergers will kidnap them, play 'nice' with them and they might be half way decent then...we can hope.