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The "Barkless Dog"

Paleontologists claim that the first domesticated dogs looked a lot like Basenjis. This breed of hunting dogs was already well established when brought up the Nile from the interior of Africa as gifts for the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Due to their unusually shaped larynx, which produces a yodel-like sound, these dogs have been nicknamed the “barkless dog.”

In The Deadliest Lie, the first book in the Miriam bat Isaac series, we learn about Miriam’s father’s pet Basenji:

Aunt Hannah and I would often meet in our courtyard on a late Shabbat afternoon to share a light lunch and stroll about the city. This afternoon I found her resting on her favorite chaise lounge, fanned by the date palms’ glossy fronds and serenaded by the fountain’s babble. The sun brushed her features with gold and spread a veil of warmth across her face.

“Your grandparents,” Aunt Hannah explains, “had given your father a Basenji puppy for his tenth birthday. He would spend hours taking care of his new playmate, feeding it, cuddling it, bathing it, and training it first to stand on its hind legs and then to jump high in the air. But one day, a gang of boys who’d been tormenting your father snatched the dog while he was walking it along our street. A week later they returned the dog in pieces so your father could recognize his beloved Basenji and see that they’d tortured it.”

No wonder Miriam’s father became a tyrannical control freak. And so, we can understand why Miriam became an expert liar, all for the good, of course. If your fibbing skills are getting rusty, then click here.


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