Introduction to the myths and legends
Stories of the Great Dog, or Big Dog as he is now more commonly known in Canine circles, are many and varied. There is a great richness of folklore passed down verbally but many of these add up to little more than nursery tales, though even these are not without their grains of truth. Much of the earliest documentary evidence however has been lost or destroyed.
When dogs lost the ability to read they venerated the written word though they could no longer comprehend it. So when the dark times came and the great evil spread across the land some few scraps would seem to have been buried with bones and other valued possessions. They now come to light from time to time in the process of human or canine excavations, when their value may or may not be recognised, depending on the learning of the finder.
Of the written evidence that has been found the greatest part is from around the Mediterranean and considered by scholars of canine history to have come from the long lost Bibliotheca Canis. The only written fragments to have survived in this country are minuscule examples of handscrif found in Northern Britain particularly in the York area. What little can be read links them with the Vallhund and stories of the strife between the Vallhund and the indigenous canines.
The earliest known stories appear to tell only that the Big Dog looked down from the sky and seeing how helpless mankind was vowed to provide a source of help. He then made the dog in his own image and called it Canis, corrupted by the ‘vulgar tongue’ to Canine, as then he said “dogs and men will recognise me in the sky and see that I am like the dogs but bigger and thus shall they know me by my rightful name ‘Canis Major’ ”
The longer story, which follows, has been pieced together from both the tales passed down by word of mouth from one generation of dogs to the next in their ballads and nursery tales and from those remaining fragments of the written word.
For ‘The Story of the Big Dog’ click on the ‘Myths and Legends’ tab and select from drop-down
For ‘How Dogs are Made and George got his looks’ click on the ‘Myths and Legends’ tab and again select from drop-down
© Lynette Ridley 29.03.2010