Sunday, March 18, 2007




One of my favorite fairy tales is "The Tinder-Box" by Hans Christian Andersen.

From Wikipedia:

"A soldier returning home met a witch. She told him that if he went down in a hollow tree, he could have as much money as he wished. There would be three rooms, with a dog with eyes as large as saucers guarding copper, a dog with eyes as large as millstones guarding silver, and a dog with eyes as large as the Round Tower at Copenhagen guarding gold, but if he put the dogs on her apron, they would be harmless. She would pull him back up when he had as much money as he wished, and all she asked was that he bring her a tinder-box from the rooms. He came back with the gold and, after a second venture, with the tinder-box. When the witch asked for it, he demanded to know why, and when she would not tell him, he cut off her head."

There's more to the story, but the reason I bring it up is an experience my husband and I had while walking a park trail this evening.

We had chosen to take our dogs out to explore a neighborhood park not far from our house.
It was beautiful; nice winding trails through the woods, a creek running alongside, daffodils and wildlife.
We were on a trail that ran along the back end of the park when three gigantic rottweilers emerged from the brush and onto the path. It was one of those paralyzing "oh shit" moments as we sized up the situation.

Just like the fairy tale, each dog was bigger than the next, with the largest of the three positioned in the front, leading the pack toward us.
If it had only been one dog, we could've taken him, no problem. But three big menacing dogs and just us and our two wimpy dogs on a remote trail with no one else in the park was a whole different scenario.

I shortened the leash on my dog and started half jogging forward down the trail. My husband had our sheltie and not being able to find anything to throw, yelled at the dogs basically "git" (the hell out of here).

The dogs contined to approach us, but not very aggressively and we just kept walking and yelling until we rounded a bend and could no longer see them.

I don't think I've been that terrified in a long time.

It really pisses me off that someone has those dogs running loose right along a public park trail where kids play and people walk their dogs.
There was a house bordering the trail that I suspect was where they lived. I still have no way of knowing if the dogs were actually dangerous, but who in their right mind would've been willing to stick around and find out.
The fact is, they were absolutely enormous, they were rottweilers, and they were not supposed to be there.

In the real world, there are no protective witch's aprons or magic tinder-boxes to employ when threatened. I am so so glad that the worst that happened is that we were scared silly.

3 comments:

jonathan hickman said...

Wait, so you did or didn't have to cut a witch's head off?

firstimpressionist said...

Did not. We didn't get any gold either.

jon said...

Maybe it's because you ran away. Maybe to get the gold you have to stick around to cut the witch's head off.

Just a thought.