Tuesday, March 21, 2006

In which, Hot Dog dies and Rastus goes away...

Most pet stories end on a sad note, and some end in a mystery. This one ends in both.

Dogs ran free where I grew up, and those without street smarts usually didn't live long enough to reproduce because National Highway 62 ran right through our town -- and so did big 18-wheeling scofflaws who figured the lowered speed limit was intended for locals.

Often, they figured right.

Hot Dog, generally street smart and careful, didn't perish under the wheels of a semi-truck. He fell victim to the car of our high school counselor by rushing into the road on his short little legs in a vain attempt to catch up with my youngest brother and his friends.

The counselor felt bad. My brother felt worse. But our cat Rastus took it hardest of all.

All that Rastus knew was that Hot Dog didn't return one day. Or perhaps he smelled Hot Dog underground in the corner of our garden. Maybe he even thought that we had done away with his friend.

That could help explain his subsequent behavior.

Or was he simply mad with grief?

Whatever the cause, Rastus changed from a gentle, trusting cat who would curl up our our laps, or lounge out upon the rocking chair near the stove, to a hissing, suspicious feline that perched atop our refrigerator and scratched at us when we passed by.

That aggressive behavior went on for days, then weeks ... until, one morning, Rastus left the house and never returned.

We called for him and left milk and food ... but to no avail. He was forever gone.

I've often wondered what became of that cat.

Did he, like Hot Dog, fall under the wheel of a car? Or did an eagle pluck him from the ground as sometimes happened? Or did he instead wander off into the woods to die alone in his grief?

Or might he have lived on?

An old woman once told me about a cat of hers that lived to be 28, and I've read somewhere of a cat in China that has lived into its thirties. According to Wikipedia, the oldest known cat lived from 1903 to 1939, reaching the age of 36. Perhaps some few, unknown cats have lived even longer, reaching 40 or more years.

If Rastus be one of these few, then he could be out there somewhere still, almost anywhere by now, prowling the earth, watchful and remembering...

8 Comments:

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies for my below comments I saw your article/blog on Hagar Ishmael a few weeks ago and am replying in connection to that.

A Christian theologian told me that the age of Ishmael in the passage is 17 years so I have inserted the age in brackets. Read the passage and ask yourself does it make sense?

GENESIS:21:14 - 21
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the (17 YEAR OLD) child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the (17 YEAR OLD) child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the (17 YEAR OLD) child.” And as she sat over against him, the (17 YEAR OLD) child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad where he is. Arise, lift up the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the (17 YEAR OLD) lad a drink. And God was with the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Apologies for my poor grammar and English. For clarification what I trying to say is that if the Judeo-Christian view of if the Abrahamic covenant is correct than Ishmael has to be at least 16/17 years old.
However the description in the passage is that of an infant which clearly confirms the Islamic viewpoint.

Please see the account of ISHMAELS attempted sacrifice in the Quran below.

ISHMAEL IS THE FIRST BORN AND GOOD NEWS OF ISSAC DOES NOT APPEAR UNTIL AFTER THE SACRIFICE?????

Hence the assertion in Genesis 22 ISSAC being the “only son of Abraham” about to be sacrificed cannot be correct i.e. the scribes have substituted the name ISSAC for ISHMAEL. Only then does the assertion “only son of Abraham” is correct.
Hence tallying with the ISLAMIC and Quranic accounts.



HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 37 verses 101 - 122

101. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.

102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!"

103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),

104. We called out to him "O Abraham!

105. "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

106. For this was obviously a trial-

107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:

108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:

109. "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"

110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

111. For he was one of our believing Servants.

112. And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous.

113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.

114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,

115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;

116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);

117. And We gave them the Book which helps to make things clear;

118. And We guided them to the Straight Way.

119. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times:

120. "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!"

121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

122. For they were two of our believing Servants.


ISHMAEL IS THE FIRST BORN AND GOOD NEWS OF ISSAC DOES NOT APPEAR UNTIL AFTER THE SACRIFICE?????

 
At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at how closely animals bond with one another. They do feel the loss of loved ones just as we do. Great stories and thanks for sharing them.

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, your comment is irrelevant to the entry and does not belong here -- as you seem to acknowledge.

I'm trying to recall what post you are referring to.

I suggest that you locate the blog entry and post there so that I can see what you are reacting to.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:28 AM, Blogger Ian Myles Slater said...

This wouldn't have been very relevant to the original posting (I think), but I'll offer this as a reply to the comment, or for the curious.

Calculations of Ishmael's age in the Genesis narrative are usually based on the larger context; the conception of Isaac when Ishmael was thirteen, in chapter 17, which makes him about sixteen when Isaac was weaned.

To modern source-critics, this is not a problem, since the ages are assigned to P, and this story to E, which may take for granted that the two boys are much closer in age. The ordinary reader is unlikely to do the arithmetic, anyway.

From the Orthodox Jewish view, there is a Rabbinic teaching that "there is no before and after in Torah," so that such problems are more curiousities than dilemmas. They serve as occasions for homiletic interpretations (midrash).

The midrashic expansion in "Genesis Rabba" goes out of its way to emphasize the problem, and play on the reader's sympathies, making Ishmael all of twenty-seven. It explains that Sarah's anger had taken the form of the Evil Eye, making her rival's son too ill to walk. (Sarah is a prophet, and can work destructive miracles inadvertently, as is also told of certain irascible Rabbis.) Obviously, Hagar is regarded as pretty formidable herself!

This episode (the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael) is, by the way, counted as the ninth of the ten Trials imposed on Abraham; the last being the command to sacrifice Isaac in the following chapter.

Some read the unusually elaborate "Take your son, your only son, the one you love, Isaac..." as half of a dialogue, in which Abraham shows his continuing concern for Ishmael:
"Take your son" -- "Which one?"
"Your only one" -- "But I have two!"
"The one you love" -- "And I love both of them!"
"Isaac" -- "Oh, that one."

There is also a line of midrash much more hostile to Ishmael, in which he actively teases Isaac, whose rash replies ("I would let myself be killed if God asked it") provide the occasion for the "Binding" test -- as a measure of Isaac's sincerity, as well as his father's faith.

However, Hagar tends to a get a "better press," being identified with Abraham's third wife, Keturah, on the premise that he re-named her after Sarah's death (supposedly saying she was "mekuteret," "perfumed" with good deeds); which makes her six sons Ishmael's full brothers (Genesis 25:1-6, according to "Genesis Rabba").

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Ian Myles Slater said...

The reference is to the March 6 posting, about Paul's interpretation. (Which is why my comment wouldn't have been relevant there; I didn't have a real rabbinic parallel, just story-telling around the issues.)

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, if Ian is correct, that you're referring to my query about Paul's emphasis upon Abraham's unwavering faith, then I really see no significant connection and fail to see how your comment is a reply to my question.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian

So Hagar in Genesis 21:14 – 21 was carrying a 17 or 24 year old child on her one shoulder for maybe 1000's miles (Mrs. Schwarzenegger). I am confused.

GENESIS 16:16
And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.

GENESIS 21:5
Abraham was a 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

By doing some advanced mathematics

100 – 86 = 14 add 2 or 3 years for Isaac’s weaning = 16 or 17 years old.

Why is there no verbal interaction between mother and child? I.e. If Ishmael is not of talking age then he must be less than a year old.

GENESIS: 21:20
"And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow".

HE GREW UP? From 17 or 27 odd use of words in any language.

How can a godly woman give evil eye and show displeasure at two children playing.
Hagar and Sarah are witches able to inadvertently do magic? These are not quality’s found in godly or saintly women. The whole situation is a farce.

FROM ALL OF THE ABOVE IT CAN BE CONCLUDED THE ONLY TIME ISHMAEL AND ISAAC WERE EVER TOGETHER WAS AFTER THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM. HENCE THE TEASING OF ISAAC AND BANISHMENT BY SARAH AND THE DELETION OF ISHMAEL FROM THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT ARE A WORK OF FICTION. I AM SORRY TO SAY THIS IS CLEAR CUT CASE OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AND NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD/ALLAH.

THE COVENANT OF ABRAHAM WAS SIGNED AND SEALED AT CEREMONY OF CIRCUMSITION WHEN ISHMAEL WAS 13 YEARS OLD ONE YEAR BEFORE THE BIRTH OF ISAAC.


THE DESCRIPTION OF ISHMAEL IN genesis 21 TALLIES WITH THE ISLAMIC ACCOUNT THAT HE WAS AN INFANT WHEN THEY WERE LEFT IN THE REGION OF PARAN (Mecca) AND THE WATER THAT HAGAR GAVE ISHMAEL TO DRINK IS STILL COMING OUT OF THE GROUND TO THIS VERY DAY IT IS CALLED zam zam.


HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 2 verses 130 - 140

130. And who turns away from the religion of Abraham but such as debase their souls with folly? Him We chose and rendered pure in this world: And he will be in the Hereafter in the ranks of the Righteous.
131. Behold! his Lord said to him: "Bow (thy will to Me):" He said: "I bow (my will) to the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe."
132. And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob; "Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam."
133. Were ye witnesses when death appeared before Jacob? Behold, he said to his sons: "What will ye worship after me?" They said: "We shall worship Thy Allah and the Allah of thy fathers, of Abraham, Isma'il and Isaac,- the one (True) Allah. To Him we bow (in Islam)."
134. That was a people that hath passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and ye of what ye do! Of their merits there is no question in your case!
135. They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah."
136. Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)."
137. So if they believe as ye believe, they are indeed on the right path; but if they turn back, it is they who are in schism; but Allah will suffice thee as against them, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
138. (Our religion is) the Baptism of Allah. And who can baptize better than Allah. And it is He Whom we worship.
139. Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah, seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that We are sincere (in our faith) in Him?
140. Or do ye say that Abraham, Isma'il Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah. Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah. but Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!

 
At 4:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, I realize that you are responding to Ian's reply, but I request that you drop the issue.

Your comments about Hagar and Ishmael are irrelevant to my story of Hot Dog the dachshund and Rastus the cat, and I will delete further irrelevant comments as spam.

I also request that everyone else drop this irrelevant issue as well.

Jeffery Hodges

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