Ding dong bell
Puss is in the well
Who put her in
Little Tommy Thin
Who pulled her out
Little Tommy Stout.
Nope. Sorry to disappoint those of you who think I am brushing up on my nursery rhymes as a preliminary to singing them to entertain my yet to be born grandkids. Not at all. It is just that this particular rhyme suggested itself to me when what happened had happened the other day.
By the way, did you know that there exist some who hold the opinion that it was Tommy Green (and not Tommy Thin) who was behind the whole put-the-puss-in-the-well business? I was indeed totally unaware of such a school of thought. The books during the days that my own kids lisped the rhyme had always depicted Tommy Thin to be the punk who did wrong by the little puss. There’s more to it, though.
Yet others scoff at the poor-little-puss-dunked-in-cold-well-water theory altogether, and disdainfully tell you that she was only put ‘there’ (at the well, that is) by a certain ‘Mr.Hare’ and that Mr.Thin had only gone to the well to get her back in. Imagine that. Mr. Thin, who most of us old and young, not to mention the SPCA, have been cursing roundly for cruelty to animals, was all along the good guy whose only intention was to bring the little meow in so she could have her customary saucer of milk. Well, well, well. Well, well, well, well. Just goes to prove that one should never go by any of these unsubstantiated stories doing the rounds, well disguised as innocent nursery rhymes.
If at this point of time some of my readers are fidgeting in their seats because their antennae have picked up signals of nervousness, not to mention studied attempts at forced digressions on my part, unlike the otherwise smooth ones dished out as a rule, you’d be spot on. There is indeed some edginess in the air due to the fact that the possibility exists of a blogger friend, who shall go unnamed, chasing after me with a hunting crop on learning what happened. Of course whatever happened was hardly my fault. But try telling that to people who are in love (in this case, with Luci). They almost always refuse to ‘listen’ having already made up their minds that you have somehow wronged their loved one. But… what’s gotta be faced has gotta be faced sooner than later, which incidentally is my personal philosophy. So let me not keep you in suspense any longer.
As ye all know, we moved house, to this beautiful house belonging to friends of ours. While giving the house a once over before moving in, the L & M and I had noticed a body of water, like a small pond, with a foot high wall around it. The wall had flowerpots on them. We were undecided on what exactly it was supposed to be, so sought enlightenment from the caretaker bhaiyya. Rain water storage, he said. We wanted to know how deep it was. Being new to his job, he said he wasn’t too sure.
Now, Luci is a water baby, she loves water. The vet tells me Labradors have webbed paws and are born swimmers. When Luci is not frolicking beneath the open tap, she is stepping into buckets of water and splashing away to her heart’s content or till I yell at her, whichever is sooner. I have always felt sorry that I am unable to take Luci swimming somewhere. In fact, I lugged home a plastic play pond on my return from my holiday at Malaysia just so she could enjoy herself splashing around.
One look at the rain-water storage well and I knew what Luci would do, jump right into it. Hence I knew it was imperative that we find how deep it was and make proper safety arrangements. But then dogs do have this in-built system that warn them of depth and heights, don’t they? I have watched Luci shy away from the edge of the terrace. Not that I was going to take chances because of that. The L & M agreed too. We had to get the well-mouth covered. And if at all after talking to the owners it turned out that the thing wasn’t too deep, what better than to let Luci have some fun?
The day after we moved in, the L & M and I had to go out for a short while. He suggested leaving Luci to roam the compound. No, no, no, I said, reminding him about the well. So we locked her up inside the house. I was back within the hour and took her out myself, not leaving her alone for obvious reasons. I noticed her taking an undue interest in the well, poking her nose between the flower pots, trying to clamber over the protective wall. I firmly told her away and took her back inside with me, vowing not to leave her out by herself.
Next morning, the very first morning of ours in our new house, the L & M woke up and as is usual let Luci out. After a while he came upstairs to find out whether I was in a mood to get up and start off with the pending work of unpacking. We talked for a few minutes and could hear Luci barking downstairs. The jealous girl wants to join us, I told the L & M. You better go and let her in, I will be down after brushing and changing to day-clothes. So off he went.
The next thing I knew was hearing an urgent call from him. His voice told me something awful had happened. OMG, what now? Had she chewed up his new spectacles or what? With trepidation I opened the bedroom door.
“Luci fell into the well.”
I don’t need to tell you how that news affected me. But my shock was more because of the fact that what woke me up that morning had been a dream in which Luci in her red collar was being fished out of the well. Restless, I had lost sleep and was lying awake when the L & M walked into the bedroom.
Yes, I could hear her, I knew she was alive. She was barking her head off. I raced down the stairs as fast as my bad knee and calcaneal spurs would let me, while the L & M filled me in on the details. He he heard the sound of splashing when he left me to walk down the stairs. Where has Luci found water, he wondered, when it hit him with force: the well!!! He ran and when he reached the well, he actually did not see Luci. She was underwater. Then her head bounced up, out of the water. On seeing her Dad, she renewed her efforts to keep herself afloat. He simply bent down, took hold of the front paw he could see and yanked her out.
What do you think she did?
With all the muck and water dripping off her, her only thought was to find me. Momma. She raced up the stairs. But the L & M caught up with her and put her in the ‘dog house’, which by the way we NEVER use.
When she saw me, she made strange noises in between barks. I bet she was telling me ‘Momma it was so scary Momma. The water was cold, Momma. Where were you Momma? I called you for help. You didn’t hear me Momma. Why didn’t you hear me the first time, Momma? I don’t like the well, Momma. I won’t jump in again Momma. I thought I’d die Momma. I am sorry Momma. I wil be a good girl, Momma. The fish bit me Momma. It was scary Momma. It was dirty as hell Momma. I want to come out of this dog-house, Momma. Let me out Momma. Let me out Momma. LET ME OUT MOMMA!!!!!!”
Her Momma of course pacified her, said everything was gonna be fine, and then, she, the Momma that is, did a strange thing. She walked away from Luci and went back inside the house while her baby barked. Well, I have never hidden the fact that I am a meanie-Mom at times. This was one of those times. Where are you going, asked the L & M who was getting the hose ready so we could (yeah it needs two people to do that) to give Luci a wash. Wait, was my answer.
In no time I returned with my camera. Ok, I heard that. Not just the unkind remark. There was a whizzing sound and I am sure it was a bullet that whooshed past my ear just now. Sigh, the nameless blogger has just expressed his disapproval. But be fair folks, how else would you all have seen how Luci looked just then? Gotcha there didn’t I, though I almost lost my life trying to get the pictures to you.
Once I was done with the pictures, we hosed Luci down, toweled her dry and took her in to pamper her silly, which we anyways do day in and day out. The L & M soon found something to cover the well mouth with. And then we began living happily ever after, the three of us….
Look what I caught our heroine doing the other day, after all that had happened, and all the promises she made? Trying to be canine Jhansi ki Rani, what else can I say? Who is afraid of the well, seems to be her stance, as she peers at the water below. What do you think I caught her doing the other day? I was aghast to find her peeing into the well, as if she had no other place to do her job. I guess that was her way of getting back at the well. Oh well….
Pssst… Now that you all know the true facts, can I come out minus my armor?