Quest for a Canine[1]

By Stephan Mirando

It was a terrible night. The lord had unleased a powerful thunderstorm upon us, turning the sky as black as Mannanan's eyes. However, I pondered the possibilities of the situation and an idea soon came into my head. What with Cassima gone to visit her parents, the former king and queen of The Land of the Green Isles, I was feeling lonely. I desperately needed a pet. Of course I had Sing-sing, Cassima's pet nightingale, but a man should have more then that. I decided to go to the book shop in town to read up on good pets. As I left the castle and started heading down the path, I felt a strange sensation that I was being followed. I turned to see if someone, or something, was behind me, but I saw nothing. At the book shop I was greeted by the merchant who owned the shop,"Good day King Alexander," he said.

"Good day merchant," I replied,"I am in need of a book, about good pets." "Ah, I see, the young king feels lonesome. Well, I do have this very old book about animals from all over the world. Would that do?" "That would be fine. Thank you," I said. Excitedly I took the book from his hands and asked,"How much do I owe you?" "Oh, never mind that. I would give anything to the king of the place I live."

I sat down to read. The warm, cozy light of the fire in the corner made my reading pleasurable. I read about birds, snakes, lizards. I read about animals I never heard about, like giraffs, cats, frogs, but one animal really caught my attention. It was a dog.Of course I know what dogs are, but the next few sentences told me things I never knew. I read about it being friendly, brave, and loyal. One sentence got me very excited, it read,"Dogs are known to be man's best friend."

That was it. That would be my pet. A dog, just what I needed. I thought of the surrounding isles.

"Where might I find a dog?" I asked myself. "The Isle of Mists, no. The Isle of the Sacred Mountain, no. The Isle of Wonder, probably not. The Isle of the Beast, yes, no Isle around here has as many animals as the Isle of the Beast!"

So my quest for a canine friend had begun. As I was headed toward the beach, to use my magic map, I felt the same strange sensation I did before that I was being followed, but all I saw were the shadows on the ground. On the beach I pulled out my magic map. I decided not to take the ferry because of the storm. When I picked the Isle of the Beast on my map I felt a strange, pulling sensation. Immediately I was transported to my destination. I was astonished of how beautiful things had become since my last visit here. The sky was sunny here unlike the Isle of the Crown. I put my map back in my pocket.

It must have been Beauty who trimed and planted all these wonderful flowers and bushes, or maybe it was the magic of the Island. Since I was here I thought I might as well visit Beast, now a handsome man, and his wife Beauty. After all, they did say I would always have their friendship for finding Beauty a husband and turning Beast back into a man. I found them in their garden having a snack of tea and cookies.

"Alexander, what a wonderful surprise!" cried Beast. I shook his hand and gave Beauty a hug. "So what brings you here old friend?"
"Well, I'm searching for a dog. I was fealing lonely so I decided I needed a pet. I came here because I knew many animals lived here. Have you seen or heard of a dog around here?"
"I'm sorry to say, I have not," replied Beast.
"Oh, it's all right, I was just so certain."
"I wish we could do something more to help," Beauty assured me.
"No, really it's fine," I said, "I guess I'd better be going now. Thank you for your time."
"See you again soon," said Beast.
"You too. Good bye."

With my heart about to burst I pulled out my magic map. Immediately I was taken to the beach of The Isle of the Crown. Again the sky, black and all was silent. As I headed toward the casle I felt like simply lying on the ground and just rot away. But, at that very moment something broke the silence. I heard a long drawn out howl from right behind me. I felt like screaming but, something inside me told me not to. I slowly turned around and at first I saw nothing. Then a shadow simply tranformed into something I couldn't make out. Then it dove out of the shadows and tackled me to the ground. I knew it was all over.

Just as I was about to give up all hope I felf a warm,comforting tongue agaist my face. As I got up I finaly realized what had tackled me. It was a black lab! A dog! I wondered if he belonged to someone, but I saw no form of identification. It was perfect, just when I had given up hope of finding a friend I found him. It was a magic dog from a magic land.

"Now, what will your name be?" I asked him."I know. How about Shadow?
That's it, the perfect name. I knew I was the happiest man alive. 


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