This is the third story about one of the true legends from Brockenborings, the fabulous sheepdog Ruff!
Of course, fer enjoying this story, it helps ter have:
- Read the first story, about how Ruff was born and raised
- Read the second story, about how Ruff started guarding them sheep
- Sung along to the Ruff song
Story no 3: The Fairest of Them All
One summer morning, many years back, the mist lay over the Greenfields like a warm, woolly blanket. All the sheepdogs in Brockenborings were asleep, curled up safely and dreaming about juicy marrow bones.
As the sun rose, out of the mist a rickety old wagon came creaking, winding its way through the village. When it passed, every male dog sniffed the air and stirred in their warm sleep. Then each and every one of them bolted up and stood alert, just as if a bee had buzzed by their noses. Soon all of the male pups ran after the wagon, drawn to it by a most alluring scent. “What is this?”, they thought, as they scrambled fer positions nearby.
The wagon headed fer one of the farms on the outskirts of Brockenborings, and the driver slammed the gate shut as he passed inside. Soon, though, he could see scores of pointy ears and snuffling dog noses rise over the fence, as the pups tried ter get a good view of the yard inside. Yer could feel the tension lay thick over the farm. The morning silence was just broken by the occasional whimper from the pups. Then they all took a sharp, collective breath and stood still.
A vision of loveliness jumped out of the wagon and yawned. The finest little sheepdog lass yer could imagine! A shiny coat of fur and kind lovely eyes!
She looked over to the horde of pups peering at her over the fence, blinking a couple of times. Then she shrugged and wandered over to a birch tree. Finding herself a pleasant spot in the shade, she started gnawing on a bone, ignoring the lads completely.
The lads couldn’t contain themselves any longer. All of them let out their most impressive howls, jumped around and made an infernal racket of things. Soon, one of the finest-looking pups braved the fence. He jumped inside and darted over to birch tree. Standing in front of the lass, he looked his most impressive.
“Ah, I am the strongest and finest sheepdog in Brockenborings”, he said. “Come with me, and I’ll show yer how brave and strong and courageous I am. Hahaa!”
The lass peered at the lad in front of her. All the pups on the outside stood transfixed, watching what happened in utter silence. Finally the lass rolled her eyes, snorted and went back to gnawing on the bone. The lad slunk back to the fence, his tail between his legs as all the other pups laughed at him.
One after the other, all the lads tried the same. They strutted their stuff, flexed their legs and bragged about their strength. And one after the other they were sent back to the fence, humiliated by a complete lack of interest from the lass. Finally, there was just one dog who hadn’t been inside. Ruff stood outside the fence, looking unsure of what to do next.
His brothers laughed at him. “Haha, yer scrawny rotter”, they said. “Yer don’t stand a chance with her, being such a small and scarred dog. But go on inside, we could use us a good laugh”, they barked as they pushed Ruff over the fence.
“Oh my”, Ruff thought as he rolled down and landed in the yard, “whatever am I going ter do now”. Then he shrugged and wandered over to the tree. The lass eyed him as he approached. Ruff thought she looked lonely, so he sat down beside her and smiled his scrawny best. “Hullo there, and welcome ter Brockenborings”, he said. “It must be strange ter be in a new village all of a sudden. I hope yer will let us know if yer need any help finding yer way around here”.
The lass licked her lips, then tilted her head. Smiling softly, she said:” Oh, there’s a kind welcome. And yer right, I’d like me to take a look at this place”. She hesitated, then looked Ruff deep in his eyes. “Perhaps yer would be so kind as to show me around?”
The rest of the day was one Ruff would never forget. The lovely lass walking beside him out of the farmyard. The gaping looks of all the other pups as the two of them wandered by. Running through the village with her, searching out good places to hide, eat and sleep. Playing on the fields, chasing the sheep and rolling around in the dewy grass. And walking the lass home as the night fell. She smiled at him, sniffed his right ear and whispered her name before heading inside.
Ruff floated on clouds as he walked home. He’d never been happier. And that night, he fell asleep feeling stronger than ever, dreaming about the lovely Aurora. But his brothers looked at him where he lay and growled. “No way such a scrawny, scarred pup can run away with the finest lass in town. ‘s not right, it isn’t!” And they stuck their heads together, mumbling and whining as they planned what to do next.
And the days ahead got interesting indeed, the locals still talk about those summer days. But that’s a story ter be told another night!
And so ends the story about how Ruff met Aurora, the loveliest sheepdog in the north.
Picture copyright: Throttler at en.wikipedia. Original version