A trainer of German Shepherd puppies once told us that the German Shepherd is such an intelligent dog that it likes to have something to think about if you leave it alone for any length of time. So, on the assumption that you’re at least as intelligent as a German Shepherd puppy (in fact, we have a lot of German Shepherd followers in spite of, or perhaps because of, our cattish tendencies), here’s something from our favourite Flann O’Brien, in his other incarnation as Myles na Gopaleen, to think about over New Year:
I was watching a hen walking about a garden recently. Occasionally it picked up dirt and ate it, but otherwise spent an hour of complete idleness. I fell to wondering why hens have two legs and later tried to reason out the pretext for giving a horse four of these useful jointed props. Why has a horse eight knees and a hen no knees at all? As to the legs, I decided that a horse has four because he is a draught animal and the beast of burden; his four legs give him more drawing power than two, just as four driving wheels enhance the utility of a locomotive. But why then has a rat four? Why not two-legged rats – ( I seen them meself the day the new City Hall was opened in Cork)? Two-legged rats would probably roost like fowls and would perch on the rails of a bed rather than merely chew the wainscotting as they do every night at present. On the other hand, four-legged hens would present a problem as their roosting perches would have to be made to measure individually according to the length of each fowl….
Any answers to this existential question?
The Best of Myles (Picador, 1077) p. 105
photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/allie_k/15174976090/