THE WARRIOR RAT written by me.
Years ago, my uncle owned a bird dog. I don't rightly remember the dog’s name. Birdbrain would have been fairly appropriate.
My uncle figured to turn this bit of bad breeding into a fine bird dog. The dog had a different idea about what degree of refinement it ought to attain.
When we hunted pheasants, this dog would chase anything from rabbits to deer. Pheasants were pretty much ignored as an uninteresting species. It might stay in sight for a little while but as soon as something of interest turned up, the dog disappeared. No amount of hollering or whistling could call the dog back.
We spent more time hunting the dog than we did hunting birds.
My uncle got one of his brilliant ideas. He thought we could use the dog to fetch ducks for us when we hunted from our lake blind. He had figured that if the dog was in the blind with us, then it could hardly run off on its own.
One morning in the early part of the duck season, he showed up with his dog.
It was one of those warm bluebird days when ducks do not fly, or when they do fly, they are so high up that you can barely see them. On this particular day, the ducks invoked the no flight option. As the day warmed up, it was hard to stay interested in duck hunting. Although, it must be noted that seeing no ducks and getting the occasional snooze in a duck blind is lots better than house painting, leaf raking, yard mowing or even gutter cleaning.
Birdbrain had actually shown no sign of misbehaving and seemed rather dumbfounded by the sight of all that water. He showed no interest in actually entering the water.
Out of the cattails came this big buck muskrat swimming slowly along. This got old Birdbrain’s attention. I noticed right off that he was a little curious about the varmint.
Since the dog was not tied or impeded in any way, it jumped right into the lake and began swimming toward the rat.
Since we were not rat hunting and had actually never given such notion a thought, we started in hollering and screaming for that hardheaded hound to come back. Of course, at the outset, we knew it was a waste of effort. Old Birdbrain had never obeyed such a command in its entire existence. True to form, it paid us no mind.
The rat noticed the dog swimming towards it.
It occurred to me that the rat would fear for its life in the face of such a large adversary. It could easily dive to elude the slow swimming dog.
I was about to gain insight into the mental workings of a muskrat.
That rat turned to face the dog and just waited. As the dog got closer, the rat rolled over on its back. Just when the dog knew it had a cute little plaything to torment, the rat pulled one sweet maneuver coming out of the water on top of the dog’s head!
That was the only time in my life I have ever seen a muskrat grin! It was a large toothy grin!
This event surprised the old dog and it vocalized that surprise by emitting a sound that I have never heard any other canine make. He had the wide eyed look of impending disaster!
There was good reason to worry too!
It was Birdbrains bad luck to have chanced upon an infamous and most dreaded warrior rat! This rat was not looking for quarter or about to give it either! It had the high ground (top of the dog’s head) advantage and was positioned to exact a terrible and painful lesson on its offender.
That rat’s teeth went up and down old Birdbrains head like a BUZZ SAW! There was a rhythmic clicking of flashing teeth punctuated by the dog’s frantic yips and piercing cries.
He thrashed the water trying to throw off his assailant. The rat dug its claws into the top of the dog’s head and hung on while inflicting all the damage it could manage.
The warrior rat left few exposed areas untouched. This was a very thorough and efficient muskrat. It was taking the time to do its appointed job correctly and with great attention to detail.
Birdbrain was sucking water and the lake was reddening with his blood!
My uncle was outraged over the situation but at a loss as to what to do.
Remembering back on all those great days afield with old Birdbrain, I gently suggested that at this exact moment he could whack them both with only the waste of 1 shotgun shell even though I thought it shameful to destroy a valuable muskrat skin.
The warrior rat lost its grip. Its high ground (top of the dog’s head) location had been its only real advantage. In the end, the dog got hold of the warrior rat and sent it to the rat equivalent of Valhalla where it probably enjoyed much fame for inflicting grievous injuries to another critter that had a 70/1 pound weight advantage.
The dog finally made it back into the blind. There were some pretty good chunks missing off his noggin. His ears were shredded. He wasn't near as good looking as he was just a few minutes before.
After that, Birdbrain somehow found the ability to resist annoying muskrats. When one would swim close by the blind, he would grumble and growl but that was all guff. He kept both eyes on the rat and invariably, his carcass stayed in the blind!
Last edited by squacks; 11/27/19 09:00 PM.