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001 - Very Apropos Series: The Best of Friends

Jack:                “You know, Manny, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship.”

Manny:             “How come?”

Jack:                “Well, to tell you the truth, it’s nice to think about friends.” 

Manny:             “Yes, of course; I also have good friends.”

Jack:                “I do too, but I can’t forget the old Spanish saying that states that: ‘If a friend does not help you, he’s like a knife that can’t cut, if you lose it, it matters not.’”

Manny:             “I guess, but let me ask you something, what’s a friend according to you?”

Jack:                “There are several types of friends. Friends are more than acquaintances. The fact that you know an individual does not imply that he or she is your friend. Closer, of course, are our neighbors, which are sort of acquaintances with the possibility of becoming our friends. We ought to be good neighbors. However, I think a friend is someone closer to us.”

Manny:             “I agree, but what do you have to say, for example, of the friendship between a man and a dog?”

Jack:                “That’s a good question. You remind me of the story of the old hound. One day a man went hunting with a group of friends and, the night before, they stayed at a manor. The owners of the house offered them all sorts of amenities during their stay. Well, it just so happened that among the family’s animals, there was an old hound that, due to his age, would no longer go hunting. The good old dog got close to this man who, by the way, was a novice in the sport of hunting, and befriended him. The dog lay at this man’s feet and allowed him to caress his ears and back. The following morning, all got up early to prepare for the hunt. To the amazement of the family, the old dog came close to his new friend and began walking alongside him. Normally, the dog would accompany the hunting party only to the main gate but, this time he continued to walk next to his friend.”

Manny:             “Was the dog really old?”

Jack:                “To tell you the truth, I don’t know, but they say that the hounds barked with the joyful sound of youth, while the old dog barked with a low, hoarse voice. And so, between barks and trumpet callings the party went hunting for hares. An hour or so later, they arrived at a place where, most probably, they could hunt a few. And that old, very experienced hound managed, in spite of his age, to chase a hare and make it pass right in front of his friend. As we say, ‘at point-blank range,’ he put the hare ‘on a silver platter.’ The man fired his shotgun and incredibly, he missed! The dog stood there for some time, the hunter had been lying down on the grass when he pulled the trigger and he remained there keeping his head low. The dog approached him, gasping for air; he was tired due to his age and the enormous effort he had made. He then lay down next to the hunter and, in that position, he raised his hind leg and urinated on the man. That signaled the end of their friendship.”

Manny:             “Yeah, unfortunately even the most noble of friendships can come to an end.”

Jack:                “I read that the ancients classified their friends. There was the ‘first friend,’ which corresponds to what we call a good friend; they also had an ‘honorable friend,’ more or less what we refer to as a close friend; there was also a ‘first and honorable friend,’ which would be what we now consider an intimate childhood friend; finally, they also had ‘first and most honorable friends,’ what we now refer to as our favorite or closest of friends. That is, our very best buddies or mates.”

Manny:             “And for you, Jack, who is your ‘greatest, most honorable, favorite, first friend?”

Jack:                “The one that picks up the tab, of course!”

Text and Illustrations © Jacob A. J. Taylor 2013

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