The Chasseurs

They were four dogs, and they were loyal to one another.


They were red, tan, brown and orange to strangers, but they were ranked according to how they had been trained while in the service of the French Army. The men had trained them for different jobs and put them in battalions and regiments, and the men had taken them across the continent. They had marched behind the men for months on end, seeing terrible things and feeling cold, wet, hungry and alone while in the company of tens of thousands of men who felt exactly the same way.


And so they learned to appreciate being warm, being full, and the quiet of an afternoon.


Long after the men in boots and the men on horses had gone home, some in shame, some in defeat, some in victory, they had found themselves with no masters, no battalions, no regiments, no one to hold their leash or tell them to do the things they had been trained to do.


And so they had done well. They had built themselves nice dens to sleep in, warm places to lay down, sunny spots in orchards where there was food and water nearby, and they knew how to avoid the men who lived in villages and did not go to war. They learned how to flatter old women and earn treats from happy children. They learned that when the sun was up, a dog felt better in the sun than in the shade. They learned that when all four of them had enough to eat, it was time to relax and nap and say nothing. They learned what it was to enjoy the quiet.

***

That's roughly the first part of The Chasseurs, and it is a raw piece of writing that hasn't been edited as yet. I suppose it helps to understand that I'm trying to imagine the simplicity of what dogs really need--food, water, companionship and little else. Dogs don't have philosophical yearnings for explanations for everything. Hey, have I eaten lately? That's pretty much what a dog prefers.

Anyway, The Chasseurs has been gestating for a while now, and I have to get after it.

On this blog, I will drop in narrative pieces like that and try to bend them to fit the history and the times. Whatever doesn't make sense, drop me a comment and I'll see if I can explain it better.