You’ve probably already heard enough about my dog who just died, but this wouldn’t fit into my Sunday column, and I’ve always liked the story, so I pass on this deleted passage:
Her full name was Morgan le Fay, which she didn’t deserve, because she was a good dog. She was dubbed that on the day we got her. I’m fond of Arthurian lore, and for some reason, as we were driving the small black creature home that day — she wedged herself under the car seat in the last display of timidity I can recall on her part — I thought of the habit Arthur’s evil half-sister had of turning herself into a carrion crow (in T.H. White’s version of the story) — about the same size, and precisely the same color. I mentioned it to Andy and the other kids, and they liked it right away, the name having no negative connotations to them.
Anyway, sometime during the first year we had her, a huge, “yaller” male stray — the biggest, strongest dog I’ve ever tried to hold on a leash — decided to come live with us. Despite his humble origins, he had a regal bearing, and was undoubtedly a warrior. We agreed to keep him while Pets Inc. found someone to adopt him, and we chained him to a post on the front porch. He tolerated this, until the mood would strike him to go on a quest, at which time he would casually break the chain and leave for a day or so. When he returned he bore such wounds of battle as a chunk out of his haunch, or a nearly detached ear. He completely ignored these, but allowed us to take him to the vet.
Why did we chain him to the porch? To protect him from little Morgan le Fay, who despised this powerful interloper and would attack him with total abandon if he wandered into her backyard. So we called him “Arthur” until he was adopted and went off to his own Avalon.