THE FOUR-EYED DOG


Yazli and I were playing in the yard when my father returned from the bazaar. Carefully he lifted a brightly colored double saddlebag down off the donkey. In one sack there was a pumpkin and a few parcels, but the other held something large and alive. Father set it on the ground and commanded:
   "Lie down!"
   A rusty-orange creature with a tail and drooping ears lay down obediently at his feet.
   "I've brought you a hunting hound, son," my father said. "His name is Zhek. He's a smart dog and he understands what you say to him."
   Father held out a whip for the dog to smell and then threw it far off into the bushes.
   "Go fetch it, Zhek!" The hound bounded off to carry out the command, and was back in no time with the whip in its mouth.
   After watching this display, Yazli ran home and returned several minutes later with his father, Annali-aga, and his Uncle Djakul. Soon a whole crowd had gathered to see the miraculous dog.
   Annali-aga immediately began giving advice to my father:
   "Tangrykuli-aga, that dog should have its tail and ears clipped."
   "That's right," a swarthy-faced elderly man nodded in agreement. "A wolf always goes first for a dog's tail or ears."
   Father waited until everyone had had their say and then, taking off his hat and rubbing his shaven head, he said:
   "My friends, Zhek is no wolfhound, and has no business fighting with wolves. His job is to retrieve killed game - partridges, quails, hares. His strong point is not his strength, but his sense of smell. He can smell out a pheasant a mile away, and then lead you to its location by pointing."
   My friend Djuma stepped forward:

   "Respected Tangrykuli-aga, is it true that this dog can understand human speech?"
   "My young lad," my father said with a smile, "a fine hunting dog can look into its master's face and tell what he's thinking. Zhek is still young, but he's already trained. If I put my gun down on the ground and command him to guard it, he won't budge from that spot."
   But Djuma still wasn't satisfied:
   "You mean he has two pairs of eyes?"
   "Do you see the dark patches above Zhek's eyes? Those are false eyes which he uses to hypnotize wild animals."
   People came to our house the entire next week to see the miraculous "four-eyed" dog.