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Je veux un chien

I want a dog, any dog

キティ・クローザー

Kitty Crowther

Kitty Crowther is a Belgian author of children's books. Born in Brussels in 1970 to a Swedish mother and an English father, she grew up reading Scandinavian and English children's literature. In 2010 she was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Prize, one of the world's most prestigious prizes for children's literature.

I want a dog, any dog

Kitty Crowther
English text translated/interpreted
by Kitty Crowther & Sam McCullen

“Millie!!!” calls a voice from downstairs.
Here is Miss Millie in the morning, before heading off
to her most exclusiveprivate school, The Three Crowns.
Millie hates: One: early mornings. Two: school.

“I’m comiiiing, Mummy!”
Millie is finally ready for the most important thing
of the day: breakfast.

And every morning, it’s the same old story. Day after day.
“Mummy?” asks Millie.
“Hmmmm?” Mummy answers, her nose stuck in her newspaper.
“Could I have a DOG?”

“A BIG dog! Strong like Daddy to protect me.
His name would be Albert, just like Daddy!”
“No.”

“A dog with long hair, just like yours.
He would be as sweet and as adorable
as you are. We’d call him Dior.”
“You’re silly,” laughs Mummy.

“An extremely funny dog. His name would be Chico.
He would be almost as hilarious as me!” Millie explains.
“Oh no, absolutely not!” says Mummy, and sips her coffee.

“A very strange dog that nobody could possibly understand,
except me.”
“PFFffffff.” Mummy turns the page of her newspaper.

“A dog as ridiculous as Cordelia’s and Georgina’s dogs,” says Millie,
making a ridiculous face.

Mummy makes a face too. “NO and NO.”

“Or a teeny-tiny little dog, so cute that you would never be able to say no.”
“No.” Mummy closes her newspaper.

“Chop-chop! Off to school you go!” says Mummy, tugging Millie along.
“You’re my little Millie dog! Come on, follow me!”
“Hilarious,” mumbles Millie.

At school, Cordelia, Lucinda, Georgina, Lydia, Mildred,
Prudence and Gladice are talking about their dogs, my dogs, your dogs,
my dogs, her dogs, my dogs, and their dogs.
“Yes, it’s this Sunday at 4pm. There will be cake and cranberry juice.
Bring your favourite dog to the DOGS CLUB.”

“I HATE THIS SCHOOL!”

But when evening comes, anger turns into sadness.
“I want a dog! Any dog!” cries Millie, just before the light goes off.
Heavy tears roll down her cheeks.

Next morning, in a small voice, Millie asks,
“Mummy, could I have a dog?”

“YES!!!”
But we’re going to get one from the dog shelter!

“Yes, Millie, I think this is the right place,” says Mummy.

“Have they all been abandoned?” asks Mummy.
“Unfortunately, yes,” sighs the man from the shelter.

There were SO many dogs! Tall ones, small ones, weird ones,
short-haired ones, and ones with hair as long as Mummy’s.
Which one to choose?

“Oh! I want this one!”

“So, may we know the breed of this old dog?” asks Mummy.
“Probably a nice mix and, in my humble opinion,
only the god of the dogs would know.” says the man from the shelter.

When they get home, Mummy takes two pills for her headache.
Millie eats her dinner, puts on her pyjamas, brushes her teeth,
and then gets down to the very serious business of finding her dog a NAME.
Bibi? Kiss? Rocky? Yoda? Pluk? Bandit? Toby? Kiki? André?

PRINCE?

First night with Prince.

The next day.
“And WHO is going to be the most handsome prince in the region?”

Prince doesn’t like some things at all, and other things
he likes very much, like listening to stories in the evening.

“Bedtime, my darling Millie,” sings Mummy.
“This dog isn’t so bad after all,” she thinks.

The big day finally arrives.

“What is this horror?” gasps Cordelia.

“It’s not even a purebred!”
“He’s a mutt,” sniggers Prudence.

“It’s a miniature sheep!” Lucinda laughs.
Hahaha!

“And may we know his name?” asks Georgina.
“Prince,” says Millie, in a tiny voice.
Everyone bursts out laughing.
Even the dogs seem to be mocking them.

“Go away, Prince! You’re not even a real dog!” explodes Millie.
“You’ve ruined EVERYTHING!”
Prince removes his long blue ribbon and slowly walks away.

Millie heads home.
To make things even worse, it starts pouring with rain.
“Oh no! What have I done?”

Millie rushes to the porch. She throws on her wellies
and Mummy’s biggest raincoat.

“Prince!”
“PRINCE!”
“Prince! PRINCE!” yells Millie.
“I’m so terribly sorry!”

“Let’s go home.”

Millie dries Prince.
Mummy makes their favourite dishes.
Millie and Prince go to bed.
The light goes off.
Mummy quietly leaves the room.

The sun has returned. Prince and Millie are having a walk.
An old man greets them.

“This is an extremely rare dog you have here. They can only be found
on a very small island in Japan. Only emperors are allowed to own them.
This dog is a Shima Ouji. They’re worth a fortune. You are very lucky.”
The old man bends over a little more, he looks left and right,
and he whispers the most serious thing in the world.
“Does this dog talk to you?”
He bows down to Prince, then to Millie, and he strolls off down the path.



“Can you talk?”
“Yep.”
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“I wanted to be sure I could trust you.”
“Wow! I have a talking dog!”

“Are you going to tell the girls at the Dogs Club?”
“What club?”

“They’re so snobby and ridiculous.”
“I can’t believe I wanted to please them so badly.”

“So, what else can you do?” asks Millie.
“I can read and write,” replies Prince.
“Brilliant! You can do my homework!”
“Oh no-no-no,” says Prince, shaking his little dog head.
“Ah, that’s too bad,” laughs Millie.
“But if you’d like, I can read some stories to you?” says Prince.
“Yes please!” cries Millie.
The End