Superstitions: When a Dog Howls, Death is Near
In a village in Siberia lived an old man and his wife. His wife crocheted ponchos for the visiting mountaineers and the old man raised dogs, Huskies to be precise. The couple was distant and rarely had time to share with one another but the goods of their trades kept them warm. The woman crocheted all their clothing and linens and the old man would hunt foxes and beavers with the help of his Huskies pulling his sleigh.
The old man always had a favorite dog, the one he called “Pet” and when one Pet died he always replaced it with another young one. He chose the most playful and friendly and would let this chosen Pet sleep indoors with him. In the fifty years of his marriage, he had opened his home to three Pets, but never his bed.
The old man’s wife, despite all the benefits of having the huskies, never opened her heart to them. “They’re dirty,” she cried. “They eat like animals. They got fleas.” So, when the old man invited Pet 3 into bed with him on an evening when the temperature dropped below -30, the old woman drew the line.
“Old man,” she said, “It’s either me or that damn dog.”
“Honey, please, it’s freezing. It would do us both some good to have the added warmth of Pet 3.”
“Then you’ve made you’re decision,” and the old woman gathered up her crocheted afghans and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?” the old man cried between shivering.
“If you’d rather sleep with the dog, then I’ll sleep in the kennel. Obviously, in your eyes, I’m no better than a filthy bag of fleas, and thus, I should be no better off.”
“Don’t be silly old woman. Come back to bed.”
“Never!” she barked and opened the front door to the blizzardy madness.
“Then at least take the beaver pelts.”
“Like hell I will. I will have no part in your affair with those dogs, or their beaver pelts,” she scoffed and flung herself out into the wild frenzy of flurries.
That night the old man hardly slept a wink. The old woman’s moaning kept the dogs awake and instead of sleeping in the bed with the old man, Pet 3 stood at the front door and howled incessantly.
The next morning when the old man went to the kennel to feed the dogs, he found the old woman rigid and blue. The dogs surrounded her and licked her like a giant Popsicle.
The old man told every villager and visitor about the news and each responded in turn, “That dog you got there was trying to tell you something.” From that day forward, when a dog howled, the village prepared for a funeral.