Sunday, June 13, 2010

Even the Devil Can't Fool a Dog

A dog's got a right to have a man around, just the same as that man's got a right to have a dog around.

Best Twilight Zone EVAR.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3, the money shot

You can get it on DVD, Volume 25 of the Twilight Zone complete set. Netflix has it.

The writer, Earl Hamner Jr., has a long list of writing credits for animal-themed television, including Lassie and Gentle Ben, and the 2006 live-action movie adaptation of Charlotte's Web. He was also the creator of the 1970's series The Waltons.

It is an old story, simply retold here.

How old?

"Shakra said, ‘Thou shalt behold thy brothers in Heaven. They have reached it before thee. Indeed, thou shalt see all of them there, with Krishna. Do not yield to grief, O chief of the Bharatas. Having cast off their human bodies they have gone there, O chief of Bharata’s race. As regards thee, it is ordained that thou shalt go thither in this very body of thine.’

"Yudhishthira said, ‘This dog, O lord of the Past and the Present, is exceedingly devoted to me. He should go with me. My heart is full of compassion for him.’

"Shakra said, ‘Immortality and a condition equal to mine, O king, prosperity extending in all directions, and high success, and all the felicities of Heaven, thou hast won today. Do thou cast off this dog. In this there will be no cruelty.’

"Yudhishthira said, ‘O thou of a 1,000 eyes. O thou that art of righteous behaviour, it is exceedingly difficult for one that is of righteous behaviour to perpetrate an act that is unrighteous. I do not desire that union with prosperity for which I shall have to cast off one that is devoted to me.’

"Indra said, ‘There is no place in Heaven for persons with dogs. Besides, the (deities called) Krodhavasas take away all the merits of such persons. Reflecting on this, act, O king Yudhishthira the just. Do thou abandon this dog. There is no cruelty in this.’

"Yudhishthira said, ‘It has been said that the abandonment of one that is devoted is infinitely sinful. It is equal to the sin that one incurs by slaying a Brahmana. Hence, O great Indra, I shall not abandon this dog today from desire of my happiness. Even this is my vow steadily pursued, that I never give up a person that is terrified, nor one that is devoted to me, nor one that seeks my protection, saying that he is destitute, nor one that is afflicted, nor one that has come to me, nor one that is weak in protecting oneself, nor one that is solicitous of life. I shall never give up such a one till my own life is at an end.’

"Indra said, ‘Whatever gifts, or sacrifices spread out, or libations poured on the sacred fire, are seen by a dog, are taken away by the Krodhavasas. Do thou, therefore, abandon this dog. By abandoning this dog thou wilt attain to the region of the deities. Having abandoned thy brothers and Krishna, thou hast, O hero, acquired a region of felicity by thy own deeds. Why art thou so stupefied? Thou hast renounced everything. Why then dost thou not renounce this dog?’ "Yudhishthira said, ‘This is well known in all the worlds that there is neither friendship nor enmity with those that are dead. When my brothers and Krishna died, I was unable to revive them. Hence it was that I abandoned them. I did not, however, abandon them as long as they were alive. To frighten one that has sought protection, the slaying of a woman, the theft of what belongs to a Brahmana, and injuring a friend, each of these four, O Shakra, is I think equal to the abandonment of one that is devoted.’"

Vaishampayana continued: "Hearing these words of king Yudhishthira the just, (the dog became transformed into) the deity of Righteousness, who, well pleased, said these words unto him in a sweet voice fraught with praise.

"Dharma said: ‘Thou art well born, O king of kings, and possessed of the intelligence and the good conduct of Pandu. Thou hast compassion for all creatures, O Bharata, of which this is a bright example. Formerly, O son, thou wert once examined by me in the woods of Dwaita, where thy brothers of great prowess met with (an appearance of) death. Disregarding both thy brothers Bhima and Arjuna, thou didst wish for the revival of Nakula from thy desire of doing good to thy (step-) mother. On the present occasion, thinking the dog to be devoted to thee, thou hast renounced the very car of the celestials instead of renouncing him. Hence. O king, there is no one in Heaven that is equal to thee. Hence, O Bharata, regions of inexhaustible felicity are thine. Thou hast won them, O chief of the Bharatas, and thine is a celestial and high goal.’"

The Mahabharata, Book 17: Mahaprasthanika Parva

ca 400 BCE

I couldn't find any reference to the animal trainer(s). While the dog is well-cast for type (Hollywood likes to cast Labradors as hounds and curs, golden retrievers as mongrels, German shepherds as wolves, and this episode is a refreshing exception), the dog work is fairly poor. Not much is expected of the hound. He's no Terry.

But he wouldn't walk into Hell with his eyes wide open, either.


  1. great! That dog is BARELY trained, if at all. He "acts" like he's just been taken off the truck from West Virginia or whatever. ;-) He's trying to be a good sport, though

    I wonder how many hounds there were in Hollywood at that time.

    The human actor is one of my favorites

  2. LOVE IT! Better than "To Serve Man," which still rocks.

  3. That was so lovely (she says looking at the 165 lb goofball asleep at her feet)... it was a really nice way to end a GOOD afternoon.

    Makes a girl wonder when Buddy had a lovely time talking to the two young ladies who stopped to pet him (hey everyone loves a Newf), but barked his fool head off at the guy getting in the car next to us when he started talking to us - we left quickly and I turned to my husband and said "it may be nothing more than the tone of the man's voice, or the shirt he was wearing, but - ALWAYS trust a dog's instincts on this, he may very well be right"

  4. Brings a tear to the eye. Even if the dog is only half-trained.


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