Tuesday, 19 July 2011
They appear frequently in the literature: Josef Čapek was the creator of an immensely successful children's series about the adventures of a dog and a cat ('Pejsek a Kočička), and his brother Karel also discoursed on the animal, declaring 'If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people'. In a similar vein, Franz Kafka's 'Investigations of a Dog' ('Forschungen eines Hundes') invests its canine narrator with self-consciousness and the ability to consider some of the big human and philosophical questions. In the first part of Jaroslav Hašek's masterful 'The Good Soldier Švejk', the ever-willing recruit puts his dog collecting skills to great effect when he kidnaps a lady's pride and joy from a Vinohrady park and delivers it to Lieutenant Lukaš, only for the latter to walk his new prize straight into the path of madame's outraged husband, the Colonel.
Were I a dog-thief like Švejk, today's house-sign (from Vinohrady, Prague 10, close to the Čapeks' house) would certainly give me pause as I delved into my satchel for that tempting bit of liver.