Dead dogs and dentists

Here’s a Sefardic tale, originally from Meam Loez, and included in Pascual Pascual Recuero’s Antología de cuentos sefardíes:

A holy man and his scholars are out walking when they pass a dead dog that smells terrible. His scholars say to him:
–Man, get a whiff of that!
He replies:
–Ah, but look how white its teeth are!

I think that’s a perfectly good ending, but there is a moral and it must be explained. So:

The scholars had a think about what they’d said about the dog and said to each other:
–If it’s bad to talk badly of a dead dog, then how much better not to talk badly of a living man. And if it’s good to praise a dead dog for the whiteness of his dentition, then how much greater is our obligation to laud a wise man.

That spoils it for me.

Once upon a time two squatters lived in a tower block in London with an Alsatian, which they loved very much in their own peculiar fashion. One morning they woke up, except for the dog, which didn’t. However, that day they were too busy doing squatter stuff to do anything about it, so they left it in the bath which, by the following morning, smelt terrible.

What are we going to do, they said to each other over a fumigative spliff. I know, let’s stuff it down the rubbish shaft. Damn, too big, they said, as the neighbour walked past. Let’s put it in a binliner, take it down to the Thames and give it a Viking funeral.

Oi, said the bus conductor, watchu got in that bag? Smells fucking terrible. Off my bus!

So they dropped it in the Regent’s Park Canal. Go West! they sang as it drifted off towards Paddington, its teeth glinting in the morning sun.

PPR’s transliteration:

Dizen ke uno de los ḥǎsîđîm ke pasó kon sus talmîđîm por onde aƀía un pero muerto i feÄ‘ía munĉo. Le dixeron sus talmîđîm:

–¡Kómo fieđe esta kalaƀrina!

Les respondyó el ḥǎsîđ:

–¡Ké blankos dientes ke tiene!

Soƀre esto se arepintieron los talmîđîm ke tal aƀlaron i ke aƀlaron mal de el pero, i dixeron entre sí:

–Si de un pero muerto es feo de aƀlar mal, tanto mižormente de non aƀlar mal de un ombre biƀo. I si ya es koza buena de alabar a un pero muerto en la blankura de los dientes, kuánto más i kuánto más ke es oƀligasyón de loar a un ombre saƀyo.

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