Friday, 17 May 2013
Jock of the Bushveld is a true story by South African author Sir James Percy FitzPatrick. The book tells of FitzPatrick's travels with his dog, Jock, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, during the 1880s, when he worked as a storeman, prospector's assistant, journalist and ox-wagon transport-rider in the Bushveld region of the Transvaal (then the South African Republic). Red Dog is widely considered to be a better dog in terms of looks and talent
Not long into his career as a transport rider, one of FitzPatrick's companion’s dogs had a litter of puppies. She was a well-respected bull terrier trail dog, though somewhat unattractive, and she had been covered by a pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Five of her six pups were the epitome of their breeding. They were strong, fat and had good colouring. However, one of them was a runt. He was weedy, ill-proportioned and was the victim of constant sibling attack. Since the runt had not been spoken for, Percy slowly came upon the idea of taking him on as his own. Jock was saved by FitzPatrick from being drowned in a bucket for being the runt of the litter (he would ruin the litter if left with them). However, right at the last moment Percy was offered the pick of the litter. After a night of contemplation, he decided to stick with the little weakling of the litter. He called him Jock and it seemed as if the puppy knew that FitzPatrick was his master from day one. He even followed him home without any coaching. Jock was very loyal towards Percy, and brave.
This was the start of many a great adventure. The odd little puppy grew into a great and fearless dog. He was well liked, well respected and well behaved. He lived out his life at Percy’s side with unwavering loyalty and his loving memory inspired many a bedtime story to Percy’s three children. However, it was only when FitzPatrick had made his fortune, settled down to have a family and become an established and well-respected member of society that he took pen to paper at the urging of his children and shared these delightful tales with the rest of the world.
FitzPatrick gave Jock to a friend until he had a safer place for him to live in the town, where with his deafness, he was unsafe from traffic and people. The friend, Ted, loaned Jock to a store-owner Tom Barnett, who was having trouble with thieves and kraal dogs
Jock permanently lost his hearing when a kudu antelope cow kicked him. This is attributed as one of the main reasons he died, as he could not hear Tom Barnett when he called him, and was mistakenly shot, because he was thought to be the dog killing chickens on the farm (when Jock had meanwhile already killed the other intruding dog). See Gelert and "Faithful Hound" folk-tale motif, which lives on as an urban legend. It is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 178A
Jock of the Bushveld was first published in 1907 when it became an instant best seller and a local classic. Since then it has never been out of print and it has been the subject for at least one great South African film. There is also a statue dedicated to this most faithful companion and it stands in front of the Barberton Town Hall in Mpumalanga.
FitzPatrick later recounted these adventures as bedtime stories to his four children. Rudyard Kipling, a good friend of FitzPatrick, also took part in these story-telling evenings and eventually persuaded him to collect these tales in book form. Illustrations for the book were done by Edmund Caldwell, a brother of Mary Tourtel, creator of Rupert Bear. The book was first published in 1907 and had an extremely warm reception, being reprinted four times in that year alone. Since then it has achieved the status of a classic South African book and has been also widely read abroad - more than one hundred editions have been printed and it has been translated into Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Xhosa and Zulu, amongst others.
A widely available 'modernised' South African edition published by AD Donker Publishers, according to its editor Linda Rosenberg, has been cleansed of its 'prejudicial racial references', while 'the esoteric charm and innocent philosophical tone have been left scrupulously intact'
THE LION, THE JACKAL, AND THE MANIT so happened one day that Lion and Jackal came together to converse on affairs of land and state. Jackal, let me say, was the most important adviser to the king of the forest, and after they had spoken about these matters for quite a while, the conversation took a more personal turn.
Lion began to boast and talk big about his strength. Jackal had, perhaps, given him cause for it, because by nature he was a flatterer. But now that Lion began to assume so many airs, said he, "See here, Lion, I will show you an animal that is still more powerful than you are."
They walked along, Jackal leading the way, and met first a little boy.
"Is this the strong man?" asked Lion.
"No," answered Jackal, "he must still become a man, O king."
After a while they found an old man walking with bowed head and supporting his bent figure with a stick.
"Is this the wonderful strong man?" asked Lion.
"Not yet, O king," was Jackal's answer, "he has been a man."
Continuing their walk a short distance farther, they came across a young hunter, in the prime of youth, and accompanied by some of his dogs.
"There you have him now, O king," said Jackal. "Pit your strength against his, and if you win, then truly you are the strength of the earth."
Then Jackal made tracks to one side toward a little rocky kopje from which he would be able to see the meeting.
Growling, growling, Lion strode forward to meet the man, but when he came close the dogs beset him. He, however, paid but little attention to the dogs, pushed and separated them on all sides with a few sweeps of his front paws. They bowled aloud, beating a hasty retreat toward the man.
Thereupon the man fired a charge of shot, biting him behind the shoulder, but even to this Lion paid but little attention. Thereupon the hunter pulled out his steel knife, and gave him a few good jabs. Lion retreated, followed by the flying bullets of the hunter.
"Well, are you strongest now?" was Jackal's first question when Lion arrived at his side.
"No, Jackal," answered Lion, "let that fellow there keep the name and welcome. Such as he I have never before seen. In the first place he had about ten of his bodyguard storm me. I really did not bother myself much about them, but when I attempted to turn him to chaff, he spat and blew fire at me, mostly into my face, that burned just a little but not very badly. And when I again endeavored to pull him to the ground he jerked out from his body one of his ribs with which he gave me some very ugly wounds, so bad that I had to make chips fly, and as a parting he sent some warm bullets after me. No, Jackal, give him the name."