Time ter end the cliffhanger! Here is the rufftastic conclusion to Ruff’s encounter with the Greenfields badgers!
Image credit: salpics32 / 123RF Stock Photo
Of course, ter enjoy 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
- Read the third story, about how Ruff met the lovely sheepdog lass Aurora
- Read the fourth story, about how Ruff ended up in a deep nasty ravine
- Read the fifth story, about how Ruff met badgers and shrewws
- Sung along to Sheepdog Known as Ruff
- Sung along to His Name is Ruff
Please note that this sixth story continues from the fourth and fifth ones!
Story no. six: For whom the dog barks
“The shrews! The shrews attack!”, a badger yelled.
The song died out. Darkness fell on the cave as the badgers closed their eyes in unison, accepting their inevitable doom. For up ahead, sharp white teeth glinted in the darkness. The wicked laughter of the shrews filled the cave.
Ruff, as angry as he had never been before, ran into the middle of the cave. When the shrew army came tumbling into the cave, he launched his frail body headfirst into their leader. Sharp teeth found fur, bones crunched, blood splattered on the dirt walls.
Summoning all his strength, Ruff let out his loudest bark: “RUFF”!
Over the din of the shrieking shrews, the bark echoed through the cave. Upon hearing it, an old badger sat up, snuffling softly for himself.
“Hmm. Interesting. Rather invigorating, I must say”
He started barking too. The badgers near him sat up as well. They looked at each other, then joined the barking. The barks soon turned into a loud, steady rhythm as all the badgers in the cave joined the chorus.Their fur bristled, their whiskers trembled. The ground shook as badger paws hit the earth to the rhythm.
Sand and stones started falling from the earthen walls. Hearing the rhythm, the shrews stopped in their tracks, a worried look in their eyes. As one, the badgers broke into song and charged the line of shrews.
The ensuing battle was swift. Scared by the loud song, the shrews ran for their lives. They escaped the tunnels and sprinted across the Greenfields, tails between their legs.
The badgers nodded proudly at each other, but soon heard a cry from the main entrance. Running to, they saw a badger sifting through a pile of shrew corpses. At the bottom lay a small scrawny-looking dog, fur all drenched in blood. He did not move
Now, a few of the escaping shrews ran past the gate between Brockenborings and Greenfields. A shadowy creature stood in front of it, growling, staring at a lovely sheepdog lass. “Going somewhere?” Ruffs older brother said. “Now that won’t do”.
“Let me pass”, Aurora said. “I heard Ruff, he is in danger. Let me go!”
“Oh, I am afraid I can’t let yer do that”, said Ruffs brother. “Yer ours now. And we got rid of our lousy no-good brother ter make it so.” He closed in on Aurora, a low growl in his voice.
However, his arrogance made him forget the one sure thing in the life of dogs. There is nothing more dangerous than a cornered sheepdog lass.
Aurora’s mind went blank with rage, and her sudden leap took Ruff’s brother by surprise. She snarled as she locked her jaws around his tail, chewed as she shook her head back and forth.
Ruff’s brother couldn’t believe his eyes – his once-proud tail was soon as hairless as a shrew’s. Cheeks burning with shame, he ran away from Brockenborings, never ter be seen in the village again. Them say he is still skulking around in the Bindbole Woods, often mistaken fer a large cowardly shrew, living off worms and deer droppings.
Aurora, though, ran straight across the Greenfields to where she had heard Ruff’s barking. Nearing the ravine overlooking Bindbole, she saw a sight she would never forget.
A veritable army of badgers came marching out of an opening in the ground. Singing a stirring song, the badgers started lining up on each side of the entrance. When they had all lined up, they started hitting the ground with their paws, growling, barking.
And out of the opening, a rather confused-looking scrawny dog came walking.
“Hum, hail our hero”, sang the badgers. “The one with the mighty bark”.
Aurora ran over to Ruff, tears of joy as they both sniffed each others behind the ears, not believing they were together again. While the badgers walked them both safely home, they only had eyes for each other.
In the years that followed, Ruff and Aurora sired a line of strong, beautiful and clever sheepdogs. Their pups were always quick of wit, smart and cunning All children in Brockenborings wanted one to play with, and all farmers agreed that there were no finer guardians of sheep in the whole four farthings.
One thing always struck them locals as a bit odd, though. Whenever them dogs came across a hole in the ground, they stopped and barked their loudest.And far below, the farmers swore they could hear distant noises. Just like someone were singing, deep down below.
And so ends the story about how Ruff befriended the Greenfields badgers, won Aurora’s eternal love and inspired a whole line of badger music. But there are more stories to tell about him, and I am sure I will at a later date!