More evidence that spelling maters
So, what else to do, but to browse one's bookshelves for other potential animal classics ...?
'Mansfield Bark' - a novel set in 18th century England countryside in which the main characters are well brought up dogs who wear bonnets, bows and dresses. These dresses reveal a not-inconsiderable portion of their chests. They live in a manor house and hold a ball for all the local, lower-class dogs, during which there is a competition to see which of the dogs has the best bark. Of course, the Mansfield dogs win, as it would not be seemly for dogs of a lower status to do so. The dogs leave the ball, but do not dare complain about the injustice until they reach the end of the two mile long driveway. Then, they all leave their calling cards just inside the tall, iron gates, even though that usually only happens between 2 and 3 in the afternoons.
'Purrsuasion' - Same story, but with cats.
'Pride and Prejudice' - same story, but with lions.
'Northanger Rabbit' - same story, but with ........... oh, okay, then, I'll stop the Jane Horseten books there and try something else.
'Lice in Wonderland' - A fantastical but tragic tale in which, finding themselves homeless after successful application of a strong chemical to a child's head, a family of nits discover a door which leads them into a strange and wonderful land. They live on a rabbit for a while, but he is always rushing about and, as many of the family suffer from vertigo, they decide to move on. A chess board provides a temporary home, but they have to live on the black bits in order to avoid being spotted and this proves tedious. In the end, they are all attracted by a sweet and cloying smell one day, fall into a jam tart, are eaten by a Queen wearing lots of make-up, and die.
'The Big Sheep' - A sheep stands out among her peers as being unacceptably large and clumsy. After years of teasing from others in the flock, and cruel jibes thrown at her by visitors to the farm such as 'Blimey! You'd need a lot of mint sauce for that great lump!', she decides to throw in her career as a farm animal and try something else. A couple of evening courses later, she goes into detective work, taking the name of 'Baa-lowe'. She finds all the corpses unpleasant, and the staggering number of characters she meets makes her giddy at times - there has never been much need before to remember anyone's face. But she turns out to be surprisingly handy at following criminals around in the wintry season, when camouflage is not so much of a problem for her. She never works out who murdered the chauffeur, but she can cope with not knowing, because it's a damn sight better than being on a plate with roast potatoes.
'The Adventures of Huckleberry Fish' - Huckleberry Fish knows he should be in a school, but instead he prefers to wander around the sea, getting into scrapes and occasionally climbing onto a raft, although he soon finds that breathing is easier underwater and so that's only temporary. He loves the free life, but when another young fish comes along and says, 'I saw yer swimmin' along and wunnered whether you'd fancy a comin' along with me and meetin' my ole Aunt?' he goes along with it for a while. But when the Aunt starts trying to tidy up his fins and make him swim along in an ordered and civilised way he decides to go back to his old life.
'Pigmalion' - A young farm pig is taken on by an older one (Professor Piggins) who attempts to teach him to behave in a more socially acceptable way. After many, many sessions in which the young pig walks around the pen balancing books on his head (disconcertingly, a set of cookery books found in the farmyard kitchen, one entitled 'Ways with Pork') they embark on improving the way he pronounces his 'oink'. There is progress, but some unfortunate incidents at social events hold things back. Also, reciting 'The Rain in Spain falls Mainly on the Plain' doesn't seem to get them anywhere with making 'oink' sound more cultured. In the end, though, the young pig flowers, suddenly and very surprisingly, into a beautiful young woman with many social graces, and she goes off on her own, leaving Piggins to meet his fate as one of the recipes in the book.