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The Fiddler And The Stray Dog

By Todd Maguire on February 21, 2014 in Other

Picture: St John

Picture: St John

He was quite small in stature but very big in talent. Gilbert was only nine years of age but his skill on the violin was extraordinary – far more advanced than a prodigy twice his age. He was a master at the classics and could also fiddle with the best of them to foot stompin’ hillbilly beats. He was also a champion kid with a happy disposition and, maybe one day, he wished to be a carpenter as well.

One afternoon Gilbert was cordially invited to a distinguished music guru’s house by the splendid Sydney Harbour. The guru wanted to hear the tunes from this young lad for he was told that the boy was a phenomenon. It was an offer young Gilbert couldn’t refuse.

Gilbert arrived with his mum, dad, younger brother and sister. Each one of them had a talent of their own – the family who plays together, stays together. As they walked through the property’s majestic gates they were welcomed by a large friendly dog. It was rough and ready and needed a good bath, but it was hospitable enough as it followed the family to the front door of the mansion.

“Mum, their dog is nice, so this man must be nice too,” the little brother surmised.

“Hello and welcome!” the flamboyant music guru said as he extended his hand in an offering of friendship. He had a handshake with less meat in it than a cabbage roll. “I have been looking so forward to meeting you.”

The guru turned and looked at the trailing dog with disgust, but allowed it to enter as well.

The family was ushered into the drawing room and offered afternoon tea. There was an amazing spread of delicate pork rolls, honey chicken and other delicacies. This guru knew how to cater. The family chatted and ate as the dog also made itself at home – eating from the table, chasing the cat, displaying amorous affection for an expensive cushion and tramping mud through the entire house.

The guru turned a blind eye to the uninvited dog. He knew the tunes he was about to hear were worth the fuss, so he allowed the dog to stay.

It was time for Gilbert to shine. As he drew his bow the room fell silent. He played a favourite and set the room alight. It was a beautiful display and brought a tear to the guru’s eye.

Unfortunately the dog loved the tunes as well. It howled in an off note that rattled Gilbert’s concentration. He began to laugh at the dog, which prompted the flea-ridden canine to howl even more off key. The guru was in a trance as the boy continued to play.

Gilbert kept his cool and played like he had never played before. The dog continued in its musical frenzy, wrestling a cushion and thrashing it about. Gilbert played harder, faster, louder. The dog ripped the cushion open and a plume of feathers erupted over the entire scene. The guru exercised heroic levels of self-restraint as the dog began chasing its tail while Gilbert ripped into his final crescendo.

As the young violinist hit the last note the guru flopped on his lounge fanning himself with a magazine. He was spent. The best violin display he had ever experienced had totally floored him. The dog simply broke wind, yawned and rolled over to sleep.

Gilbert was proud and so too was his family. He had impressed the best, laughed and maybe played his way to stardom. The family thanked the guru, who in return wholeheartedly thanked them.

“Just one thing,” the guru offered in parting. “It’s goodbye for now, so please take your dog with you,” he smiled. “And for the love of God, please don’t bring him back next time we meet.”

“Our dog?” the family chorused. “That’s not OUR dog! We thought it was your dog.”

The guru’s face turned purple with rage at the stray mutt. The family tried hard to contain their laughter as Gilbert smiled at the sleeping dog and fiddled his way out the door.