ap wriggled, yawning, and gave a small excited whimper. His littermates were a jumble of warmth against him, all paws and muzzles and small fast heartbeats. Clambering over him, Squeak stuck a paw in his eye; Yap shook his head and rolled over, making her fall off. She squeaked with indignation as always, so he licked her nose to show there were no hard feelings.
The Mother-Dog stood over them, nuzzling them into order and licking their faces clean, treading her ritual circle before curling around them, ready for sleep.
“Wake up, Yap! Mother’s going to tell us a story.” That was Squeak again, bossy and demanding as ever. Their Mother-Dog washed her affectionately with her tongue, muffling her yelps.
“Would you like to hear about the Storm of Dogs?”
A thrill of excitement ran down Yap’s spine, and he whimpered eagerly. “Yes!”
“Again?” whined Squeak.
But the others tumbled over her, drowning her protests. “Yes, Mother! The Storm of Dogs!”
The Mother-Dog settled around their small bodies, her tail thumping. Her voice grew low and solemn. “This is the story of Lightning, the swiftest of the dog warriors. The Sky-Dogs watched over him, and protected him … but the Earth-Dog was jealous of Lightning. She thought Lightning had lived too long, and that it was time for him to die so that she could take his life force. But Lightning’s speed was so great that he could outrun the Earth-Dog’s terrible Growls – he could outrun death itself!”
“I want to be like Lightning,” murmured Yowl sleepily. “I could run that fast, I bet I could.”
“Shush!” said Squeak, squashing his nose with a golden-furred paw. In spite of her protest, Yap knew that she was caught up in the story like the rest of them.
“Then came the first great battle,” the Mother-Dog went on, her voice hushed. “The terrible Storm of Dogs, when all the dogs of the world fought to see who would rule over the territories of the world. Many stories are told of those terrible days, and many heroes were made and lost in the battle.
At last, the Earth-Dog thought, Lightning’s life-force would be freed and she would take his body, as was her right. But
Sus compañeros de camada eran una mezcla de calor contra él, con todas sus patas y bozales y pequeños latidos rápidos del corazón, y al trepar sobre él, Squeak le clavó una pata en el ojo, Yap agitó la cabeza y se dio la vuelta, haciéndola caer, y como siempre, ella graznó indignada, por lo que le lamió la nariz para demostrar que no había resentimientos, y la Madre Perra se paró encima de ellos, acariciándolos y lamiéndoles la cara y limpiando sus rostros.