Why Dogs cannot Speak
Formerly dogs could speak. Now they cannot. The reason is that a dog, belonging to a certain man a long time ago, inveigled his master into the forest under the pretext of showing him game, and there caused him to be devoured by a bear. Then the dog went home to his master’s widow, and lied to her, saying: “My master has been killed by a bear. But when he was dying he commanded me to tell you to marry me in his stead.” The widow knew that the dog was lying. But he kept on urging her to marry him. So at last, in her grief and rage, she threw a handful of dust into his open mouth. This made him unable to speak any more, and therefore no dogs can speak even to this very day.
Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 29th November, 1886.
From Aino Folk-tales by Basil Hall Chamberlain. The Folk-lore Society, 1888.