Animals generally take a more active share in the developing story of the revival of English magic
than might be expected, dogs among them. For example a "large grey dog" brings a treasure map to Stephen Black
, having evidently been enchanted to do so by the gentleman with the thistle-down hair
. Once its task is done it returns home well-pleased with itself.
|Gentlemen have always been fond of hunting and coursing.
, as might be expected of such spontaneous and natural beings, have a very quick sympathy with animals, dogs as well as others. An instance of this occurs when Sir Walter Pole
buys a fine pair of greyhounds. His menservants take great delight in them, often neglecting their work to slip away to the stables and admire them; more surprisingly, Stephen Black
joins them there on one occasion. He is then witness to a striking alteration in the behaviour of the dogs when the gentleman with the thistle-down hair
suddenly appears. The Gentleman immediately addresses them in his own language and the greyhounds in response demonstrate the liveliest pleasure, fawning upon him most affectionately. He in return appears very taken with them, and admires them quite as much as any of the servants had done. He then however tells an anecdote of his earlier life in England which does him little credit as a person of sensibility. It relates to an occasion when, in response to a slight delivered to him by some courtiers, he was able to revenge himself next day when he came across them hunting. Quickly he transformed the men into hares and the hares they were pursuing into men. It amuses him greatly that not only do the dogs in the case then innocently destroy their own masters, but that the transformed hares are then able to inflict the greatest torments on their erstwhile canine persecutors. One is left to reflect that any notion of fair play is foreign to the minds of fairies.