24th April, 1185
You may be surprised to hear from me, but my name is Gryffed and, for a very glamorous wolfhound at Hartslove Castle, I don’t get nearly enough attention. Why does everyone go wild about the Hartslove horses? We Hartslove dogs are just as brave, particularly me and my great friend Courant, the best running-hound I have ever had the privilege to meet. We can do things just as useful as any horse except that you can’t ride us, of course. Why horses allow people to do that, I’ll never know.
Anyhow, I want to tell you that Sir Thomas, Gavin and Will just take us dogs for granted. They toss us the odd bone and think we’re happy. Well, of course Courant and I like bones as much as the next dog, but they aren’t the ONLY things we like. I, for example, like having my ears scratched and Courant likes somebody to pick out her fleas. And if I tell you a secret, will you promise to keep it to yourself? Well, both Courant and I are partial to having our tummies tickled although this must clearly be done privately because it makes us look silly and I, for one, definitely don’t like that. Ellie’s good at tickling, though. Sometimes I think she’s the only one who takes any proper notice of us at all even though, as a rule, I don’t like girls. That Old Nurse (was she ever a girl?) is always pushing me out of the way when I’m helping clear the table. I reckon my tongue is a much better cleaner than her dirty old skirt.
I shall now list the things in my special hole, the one I have dug by the fireplace in the great hall, where the rushes are never changed.
1 mouse (dead), 3 acorns, a stick I mistook for a lamb chop, 4 mutton bones (2 very well chewed, one less well chewed, one practically perfect), a bird’s nest (can’t remember where I found that), Sir Thomas’s missing glove, Constable de Scabious’s best dog whip, a dried stag dropping and the remains of a custard tart – oh, and a little leather bottle Old Nurse dropped. When I bit into it, some strange-smelling liquid trickled out. It tasted like fire and made me feel very peculiar.