The black dog walked for a day to come to the village. He was young and naïve. An idiot. He came with a smile, as if making a grand entrance at a party thrown in his honor.
Hey guys! How are you? Nice to be here!
The first dog he met was surprised to see him there. A strange black dog that had never been seen in those parts before. The stranger smiled and wagged his tale but one could never be too sure. So he growled and warned the strange dog to stay away. But the dog just kept coming closer, eager to meet and greet. There was nothing left to do but bite. Attack is the best form of defense.
The black dog was shocked. Why did he bite me when I was just trying to be nice? Maybe, he thought, this dog was crazy. He moved on.
A little way down, he met another dog. A young brown dog who seemed to be just as happy as he was. And just as naïve. They met and smiled and wagged their tails. The young black dog and the young brown dog played together for a while, as if nothing in the world could harm them. Like two birds in the sky.
But then the dogs of the village gathered and saw what was happening. They knew the brown dog but not the black one. Who was this stranger playing with one of their own? Was he playing or fighting?
There was no way to know. They approached the dogs with their heads down and tails up. Finally, the black dog thought, here comes the welcoming party!
How wrong he was! They bit him from every direction. One went for his leg and the other for his stomach. His cries echoed throughout the village. A few men came out to see what was happening. And as men do, they had no idea of what really had happened. They just saw a few dogs fighting and threw stones at them. Run away! Run away from here you mad dogs!
The dogs broke off and the black dog limped away. He thought the men had saved him. He couldn't understand why the other dogs hated him but at least the men weren't as bad. He whined and limped towards the men. They threw stones at him.
A stone came crashing into his ribs and knocked all the air out of him. He cried once again but the louder he cried the more determined the men became of scaring him away.
The black dog, injured, hurt, made his way to a quiet corner of the village. He still couldn't understand what had happened. Maybe I had caught them at a bad time? Maybe they were mad at something else?
Oh the foolish optimism of youth!
He spent the night under a humble old tree and the next day made his way back to the center of the village. The brown dog welcomed him, apparently waiting for his new found friend. They played for a while. But then the dogs attacked. He ran away. The men saw him run and threw stones at him. He whined and ran further and hid under some bushes.
What a cruel village this is, he thought. How hateful the dogs here and how dangerous the men. The men! I thought they'd save me. They approached me with kindness in their hearts and then out of nowhere they threw stones at me! The men are the worst!
It started to rain and the black dog got drenched. He sat there nursing his pain. And his pride. He felt dejected and lost and lonely and scared. What a cruel world, he thought. He was growing up fast.
Originally published at www.adityathakur.com