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Barkwell Falls In Love

There didn't seem to be anything unusual about Barkwell. He was a handsome great dane, who carried himself proudly. But he was really a most unusual dog, for he had a strange power. He could change his shape, into whatever kind of dog he wanted to be. Sometimes he found this power very useful.

One day, Barkwell noticed a picture of a dog, posted on the side of a large building. "Dog Show Today," he read on the poster. (Barkwell was a very smart dog. He could read and bark in sixty languages.) So he trotted up to the door and started to go in.

The ticket seller peered out of his booth, "You're a fine looking dog," he said. "But where's your master? Why…you don't even have a collar." He called a guard over to catch the strange dog. But Barkwell ran off.

Barkwell liked to be a big dog when he had his choice, but sometimes being a small dog had its advantages. Out on the street, he hid behind a parked car, and in a flash he changed his shape. Now he was a tiny chihuahua, smaller than any dog that ever lived before. He was smaller than a walnut.

Quickly he slipped under an empty crackerjack box that was lying in the street. Sliding the box along, he walked into the show building again. No one noticed him this time.

Barkwell slipped out from under the box and scampered' about among the crowd. He went from one show table to another, looking at the dogs. "They look bored," he thought. "It's much more fun to be free, like me." Then, suddenly, Barkwell spied the most beautiful dog he had ever seen. She was a scottie. Her golden fur was brushed and shining, and her warm brown eyes were looking right at him. In that instant, Barkwell fell in love.

"She wouldn't be interested in a little chihuahua," Barkwell thought. So he quickly changed into a great dane again. The scottie blinked. A woman who had been walking down the aisle suddenly found a huge great dane in front of her. He seemed to come from nowhere. She bumped into Barkwell, and he let out a surprised yelp. A dog on a nearby table gave an answering bark, and soon dozens of dogs were barking wildly. Three guards rushed over and grabbed Barkwell. In a moment he was out on the street again. The big door slammed shut. Barkwell sat down on the sidewalk to think.

An hour later, people and dogs began to come out of the dog show. Suddenly Barkwell spotted the beautiful golden scottie. She was wearing a blue ribbon -- she had been chosen Best in Show. Now her proud owner carefully placed her in a special car bed in the back of a gleaming station wagon. He started the engine and turned the car out into the street.

Quickly Barkwell changed into a greyhound, the swiftest that had ever lived. Speeding along in the street, he followed the station wagon out into the suburbs, until it turned in at the gate of a large estate.

The next morning, the golden scottie was lying on the lawn outside her house, when a proud great dane walked up the path. "Hello," he barked.

"I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to speak to strangers," said the golden scottie. "And, besides, big dogs really don't interest me."

Immediately, Barkwell turned into a medium-sized terrier and wagged his tail at her eagerly. The scottie stared at him. "How did you do that?" she asked. "Could you do it again?"

Barkwell promptly changed into a cocker spaniel. Then, after a shake of his long ears, he was suddenly a collie. Then -- a pekinese, then a boxer, an Irish setter, a dachshund, a dalmatian...

"Stop!" barked the scottie. "I'm getting dizzy. Can you be a scottie?"

"Of course," said Barkwell. And immediately he was a black scottie, with a plaid tam o'shanter perched on his head.

"That looks like fun," said the golden scottie. "But what good is it to be able to change your shape? I would never want to look any different from the way I do now." Suddenly she cocked her ears. A loud splashing noise was coming from the pond. A child was screaming. The two scotties raced over to see what was the matter.

"It's my young mistress barked the golden scottie. "She has fallen in the pond. She can't swim! What can we do?"

In a wink, Barkwell changed into a large retriever. He plunged into the pond and swam over to the struggling child. Gently he held her in his jaws and pulled her to safety.

The golden scottie danced about, rubbing and licking both Barkwell and her mistress. "How wonderful you are!" she cried. "How can we ever thank you?" And Barkwell saw the beginnings of love shining in her warm brown eyes.


©1973, 2013 The Silversteins