Here we are, in the midst of the summer
dog days and I am going to take this opportunity to honor a dog who gets much
less credit and respect than he deserves. This dog was so wonderful that his owner
gave him rich dainties whenever she fed him and she erected a monument to him
when he died, for good, the second time. This dog, of course, is that antic creature
who belonged to Old Mother Hubbard.
This little book was unlike anything that had been hitherto produced for the young. It was a composition with no apparent meaning. Take the last verse, for instance: The dame made a curtsey, the dog made a bow; the dame said your servant, the dog said bow-wow. What does that mean anyway? Of course, that is the point. It has no meaning and it is delightful in its meaninglessness. There is not a thing to be learned from it, is there? It was morning, indeed, in the land of children's literature, thanks to the foolish antics of Mother Hubbard's wonderful dog, Tray. Oh, yes, that was the dog's name, revealed only once that I found -- in an edition published about 1820 by James Kendrew of York. Old Mother Hubbard's dog's name was Tray.3
1Darton, F.J. Harvey, Children's Books In England, p. 202. 2Mother Hubbard, p.
3The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog, p.
Darton, F.J. Harvey, Children's Books In England: Five Centuries of Social Life. Third revised ed. Published by the British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 1999.
The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog. Colliergate, Eng.:
James Kendrew, ca. 1820. Mother Hubbard. New York, London: Raphael Tuck &
Copyright © 2002, Rita Smith
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Monday, 28-Oct-2002 21:04:15 EST