by Katie Frosty Sherbert as told to Clondike Kintsfather
Forward: This story was told by my Pyr mom back in Kansas when I was only 6 weeks old. I may not have gotten it all exactly right, but since Penny mentioned it in her column, Pyrs and people have been bugging me to write it down, so here it is. Any similarity to any real Pyrs is entirely unintended.
Once upon a time long ago on a large farm in Kansas there was a handsome Great Pyrenees named Claude who guarded the livestock and kept wolves, coyotes and other nasty types away from the fields. He was assisted by his wife and their beautiful daughter, Clonderella. The whole family used to have great fun running the fences, warning the entire state of Kansas that this farm was protected by Great Pyrenees.
Then one day his wife died suddenly, and Claude was very sad. He and his daughter continued to patrol the fences, but his bark had become half-hearted and he worried about Clonderella growing up without a mother.
The farmer noticed the change in Claude, and thought he needed some help and companionship, so he went out and bought a champion Great Pyrenees bitch and her two daughters, Lucretia and Morgana. At first Claude thought this was a wonderful addition to the family and was especially glad that Clonderella would now have some young bitches to play with. Unfortunately their lovely coats hid evil hearts, but before their true natures became evident, Claude died.
Clonderella had initially tried to make friends with her new stepmother and siblings, but they had been cold and remote. After Claude's death, it was made clear to Clonderella that she was no longer welcome in the dog house, and she was expected to bed down with the sheep, or find a corner of the stable when it rained.
As for guarding the livestock, this involved WORK and the possibility of getting dirty, so this duty was left entirely to Clonderella. The farm was very large, and it took Clonderella most of the night to patrol the fences and make sure all was well with the sheep and goats, leaving her exhausted. The evil stepbitches spent all their time watching old Westminster videos, munching Tartar Control Milk Bones® and grooming each other for shows.
The field mice had always liked Clonderella, and as they saw her get more and more frazzled from overwork they decided to help her. Although the farm was very large, there were thousands of field mice with an efficient grapevine, so they could warn Clonderella within minutes of a threat at any point on the fenceline. This helped a great deal, but Clonderella still had to work very hard to protect her flocks. Her coat became more caked with mud and her beautiful pads became worn and rough.
One day when she was passing the dog house, Clonderella heard the evil stepbitches babbling excitedly about an important Great Pyrenees Specialty which would be followed by the Pyrenees Ball hosted by Ch. Pierre Le Roi, the most handsome Pyrenees in the Midwest. The ball was to be in honor of Pierre's son, Prince, and rumor had it that all eligible Pyrenean bitches in the area were being invited in an attempt to find him a suitable mate. Clonderella asked if she could go, and her step- mother told her she hadn't been invited.
Now this was not true. In his earlier years Claude had been a show dog with an excellent record, and his daughter would definitely have been on Pierre's list. Clonderella did not trust her stepmother, but found that the premium list and invitation had already been burned in the fireplace before she could check it.
That night, while the evil stepbitches discussed conditioners and grooming techniques to make themselves stand out and catch Prince's notice, Clonderella sat out in the field with the sheep and dreamed about attending the Pyrenees Ball. "How I wish I could go," she sighed. "And so you shall!" said a voice behind her. Turning quickly, Clonderella saw a huge St. Bernard bitch with a twinkle in her eye materialize out of the clear Kansas sky. "I'm your Fairy Godmother," said the Saint, "and I've come to grant your wish."
She led Clonderella over to the pumpkin patch, and with a wave of her magic wand transformed a large pumpkin into a beautiful Dog Works® wagon. Another wave of the wand, and two of the watching field mice were transformed into magnificent Newfoundlands in gleaming harness, ready to whisk Clonderella away to the ball.
"This is wonderful," gasped Clonderella. "But Fairy Godmother, I can't go to the ball with my coat all muddy and matted." The Saint smiled, and waved her wand once more. Clonderella looked down and found that her coat had been instantly raked, brushed, conditioned, and fluffed, so that she was a glowing white. Around her dainty neck now reposed a beautiful gold collar studded with diamonds. Three field mice who had just struggled out of the barn with a bottle of Mane and Tail Conditioner® and an undercoat rake, dropped them and whistled at the magical transformation in their friend. They had never seen a more beautiful Pyr!
"Thank you, Fairy Godmother!" Clonderella cried.
"You must leave the ball before midnight!" the fairy warned. "The magic will last only until then!" Clonderella promised she would, and off she went to the ball.
Prince, who had just been stepping up to ask Lucretia to dance when Clonderella shyly stepped into the room, caught one glimpse of her and could not take his eyes off of her. He immediately crossed to her, took her paw, and asked her to dance. They danced and danced, and Clonderella, her head spinning, totally lost track of the time. Suddenly the clock struck twelve, and Clonderella jumped, and said "I must go!"
She ran from the ballroom as fast as she could, which was very fast indeed because she was in excellent shape from chasing from field to field. Prince followed as fast as he could, but being caught off guard (and a little bit more pampered than Clonderella), she disappeared into the night before he could catch up to her. As Clonderella ran past the old oak tree in front of the hotel where the ball was held, she caught her collar on a low hanging branch, and in her haste to untangle herself, one of the diamonds was torn from the golden collar.
As Prince returned to the ball, having given up the chase, he chanced to answer the call of nature under the old oak tree and imagine his surprise to discover the diamond lying on the ground! Clutching the gem is his mighty paw, he said, "If I must search the entire state of Kansas ten times over, I will find the beautiful bitch whose collar is missing this diamond, and I will settle down with her and we will raise beautiful champions!"
The next day Prince summoned a hundred bloodhounds and sent them out to all corners of the land in search of a Pyrenean bitch with a golden collar and a missing gem. As word spread, many crafty bitches got out the gold paint and cubic zirconia, but the bloodhounds were not fooled. After viewing Morgana's sloppy attempt (the paint was still wet), they were leaving the farm when one of the hounds spotted a dusty white dog out in the sheep field, with just a glint of gold in the matted fur on her neck. When they asked to see her collar, they were amazed to find the mounting for the missing jewel.
Over the protests of the evil stepbitches, the bloodhounds escorted Clonderella away to the most magnificent kennel in Kansas, and the arms of her Prince. Needless to say, they lived happily ever after and produced many generations of OFA excellent champions.
P.S. Years later when Pierre died, Prince formally assumed the title,
Pierre II, but was commonly called "the Pyr formerly known as
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