First published in Thy Servant a Dog told by Boots (illustrated by Stampa) in 1930, together with two other stories, “Thy Servant a Dog” and “The Great Play Hunt”; it later appeared in various anthologies, including Collected Dog Stories (also illustrated by Stampa), the Sussex Edition, Volume 16, page 295, the Burwash Edition, Volume 14, and Thy Servant a Dog and other Dog Stories (1938), from which we have taken the page and line references for the Notes on the Text in this Guide. This collection includes:
- “Thy Servant a Dog”
- “The Great Play Hunt”
- “Toby Dog”
- “The Supplication of the Black Aberdeen”
- “A Sea Dog”
- “His Apologies”
- “Teem— a Treasure-Hunter”
This is the final part of the trilogy told by Boots who meets Toby, the dog belonging to a Punch and Judy show, the proprietor of which gives private performances for the child Digby, who has just had his tonsils out. Toby appears to be ill so is sold to the owner of Boots (see page 83) and goes to live in the country with James the chauffeur on the estate, where he will be looked after until the next Punch-and Judy season, when his original owner will steal him back again.
The four friends — Ravager the hound, Boots and Slippers the two terriers, and now Toby — get on well together, and demonstrate their various accomplishments.Toby is a champion rat-killer and can imitate a mad dog; this frightens Upstart, a good-looking but useless hound which Proper Man wants to show at Peterborough against the advice of Moore. Ravager dies, and Boots and Slippers grieve for him. This is the end of the trilogy.
See Headnotes to “Thy Servant a Dog” (The Story) and “The Great Play Hunt” earlier in this volume for further observations and under “Dogs” and “Horses” in Themes in Kipling’s Works on our website
[J H McG]
©John McGivering 2008 All rights reserved