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A Dog's Tale

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  670 ratings  ·  94 reviews
This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare's finesse to Oscar Wilde's wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and in ...more
Paperback, 52 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Minerva Group Inc (first published 1904)
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Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank BaumThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Call of the Wild by Jack LondonPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Best Books of the Decade: 1900's
153rd out of 242 books — 464 voters
Peter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe Cherry Orchard by Anton ChekhovThe Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank BaumThe Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix PotterThe Sea Wolf by Jack London
Best of 1904
19th out of 22 books — 25 voters

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Community Reviews

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Part of a good author's job is to make the reader think. Having read the other reviews of "A Dog's Tale" (and of "A Horse's Tale" as well) I think some of the reviews may be missing the point.

I agree wholeheartedly that in all, it is an upsetting story. I also agree that it is probably not suitable for young children. Speaking as someone who loves her dog, one reading was certainly enough for me. However, there are deeper things at work here, and they should be looked into.

Consider that "A Dog's
Jul 19, 2013 Book'd rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Book'd by: The Cover Page
"My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. " and starts the tale of Aileen Mauvourneen.

How often does one come across tales that leave you asking for more, as though the book had never ended? And imagine if it had to be mere 50 odd pages? No matter how unexpected but this was that book which left me feeling rather incomplete and what do they say, speechless?

Being the kind of animal-lover that I am; especially dog-lover, I am always on the look-out for books o
At first the story was engaging, funny and full of life. The ending was that like a heavy hammer hitting one on the head. I cried and cried and cried at the cruelty to such innocence. And struck by the turn of events in the writing.

I felt rage and anger over this book and the author, but decided I would reserve my opinion until I researched Mark Twain's opinion on animals. I was relieved that he was an advocate for animals and supported anti-vivisection. (See Note below.)

If you are a dog lover,
ARGH! NO!! Mark Twain!?!? What are you doing to me!?!

I have had this short story by this well loved author on my kindle for ages, and last night was looking for something for a quick read and thought, "What could be nicer that a short dog story by Mr. Mark Twain?"

Well, the answer is "Anything would have been better!"

It is not the language I have the problem with either, as Mr. Twain writes as well as ever, it is the story itself, the horror, the pain, the abuse that the dog suffers! The beatin
Well, I scratched my dog's belly for a full night after this one.
I took to reading this book first thing in the morning. Instantly, I was taken into the life of Aileen, the people she loved, her extremely beautiful description of her mother, the classy subtlety with which Mark Twain has described her pup's father, indirectly portraying the scenario of women in those times where they could only grieve and do little else, fear, happiness, respect and undying love Aileen could feel even more than a warm-hearted human being. I did not want it to end the way it en ...more
Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain
A brilliant piece of writing! Twain in his comical tone describes the cruelties practised upon the animals in his time. The reader is being put in the position of a female pet dog and is experienced a 'dogly' journey with her masters. A depressing story that builds up anger inside you while reading. Sarcasms are very often, scattered here and there (the usual Twain) and it begins with a curious opening line "My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian". A deservi ...more
A Dog's Tale is a short story that begins with Twain's usual flair for wit and humor and ends most surprisingly with a tragic bow. Written to express his views on animal experimentation, Twain leaves us in no doubt of his disgust and disapproval as he tells us of a bright, but niave female doggie who saves her family's baby from a fire only to be ultimately rewarded be having her own pup the subject of her scientificly bent owner's experimentation - by which the pup quickly perishes. Its a sad t ...more
Twain strikes just at the right place with this short story of a dog, covering right from the time when it was a puppy in care of its mother to the time when it had a new life with new owners and its own young one.

The story is tragic and I don't know what to make of it by the end.
If he wanted to tell us how heartless human, science, rationality and objectivity could be, there couldn't be a better example than this one right here!
Valerie Kite
Feb 20, 2012 Valerie Kite rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone with a heart
Recommended to Valerie by: no one
Short story is moving with powerful message. Heartwarming and proof dog is better than man. One wishes the planted pup WOULD sprout somehow.
Joseph Sverker
A wonderful little tale indeed, and also heartbreaking. Twain is able to weave in an impressive amount of topics to be discussed in this book and with considerable wit (as usual). One thing that bothers me though and that I can't get my head around is why he talks about religion and of the dog as presbyterian. In the beginning I thought that this would be a short story mocking that somehow. Maybe it is, but then I must have missed it. Does religion (prebytarianism?) actually play any part in thi ...more
Knar   Avetisian
The book is told from the standpoint of a loyal household pet, a dog self described by the first sentence of the story; "My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian." The story begins with a description of the dog's life as a puppy and her separation from her mother, which to her was inexplicable. Her puppy and her owner's new child were soon added to her new home. When a fire breaks out in the nursery, the dog risks her life to drag the baby to safety. In the pr ...more
Kristian Rigdon
This short story is written through the eyes of a dog, his life starts of wonderful and safe and then it turns tragic. His master was an evil scientist who killed his puppy, by experimenting on the puppy. Which left the dog broken hearted, I think the dog sadly and slowly died.
I think the short story was a good look at how dogs see the world, and there loyalty to their owners.
It was a good book, it made me love my dog even more.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Jacquie
Anyone who reads this and isn't affected / didn't find it sad - I don't want to know you.

Neither does my dog. But... I'll take him to your yard so he can leave a nice big turd on it.
This book caught my attention from the very first line:

"My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian."

I hate stories told from animal perspectives. I've long outgrown that since my childhood days of Charlotte's Web, but I decided to give the book a try anyway because it was, after all, the work of the great Mark Twain.

I was not disappointed.

There is so much more to the book than a mere dog's tale. It tells of sacrifice and dilligence and selflessness, and how th
I did cry after reading this :-(
This short story is 30 pages long and yet is some sort of rollercoaster of emotions. It's brilliant!
This is, for the record, the most depressing and miserable short story I have had for years. Aileen Mavourneen and her sudden misfortune (all triggered by fire and bravery) in the hands of a heartless-boor-scumbag master is unbearable. For she almost sacrifice her life for his goddamn child. There is certainly nothing to be proud of upon murdering such fine creatures for the sake of some stupid lab experiment.

We, humans, often label them as "beasts" but in a manner of committing vicious ideas tu
Lector Inspector
Effective and affecting. Well written and written later (1904), as a semi-expose of the wrongs of animal testing, than I imagined. This story will get to the guts of any sentimentalist (and rip and R.I.P. them out)
- so be warned - it is unrelenting. Some may accuse it of plagiarism/recycling (the "Dog" of the tale who is actually a "Bitch"
is punished when her attempts to a rescue a baby are misinterpreted as an attack as in the fable of the bloodied (and RE-bloodied) wolf) and mawkishness but it
Hardly 50 pages, a story told from a dog's perspective and written/published in 1904 - I cannot believe this is the one that touched me the most. It choked me up and left my eyes watery.
Either, I have a lot to catch up on other writings or he is as good as they say he is.
Kate Bystrova
Oct 07, 2014 Kate Bystrova rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like to think
Well-written story that steals into the reader's heart even in its brevity. Food for thought, certainly – treatment of animals, taking advantage of people (and beings) who know or understand less than you, learning without understanding, people who can make one feel inferior through their confidence despite not actually knowing much themselves. Arrogance. Not taking even a moment to consider the impact of one's actions. Viewing beings as inferior to oneself because they don't measure up to what ...more
I don't think I've ever been so moved by a story written with so few words. If this story does not affect you in some way then you have no soul. The master says his dog can "reason" but shows no reasoning of his own.
Madelyn Neal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
All of Mark Twain's writings are good but I didn't like the ending of this one no matter what point he was trying to get across. I don't like sad endings.
Luan Morina
The book indeed has a disturbing, but much needed story.
More than a century after what Twain wrote, people are still treating animals in bizarre ways.
But, prior to the disturbing point, the book offers an interesting viewpoint from dog's life. It tries to challenge the known 'facts' like there's no heaven for dogs, that dog must serve their owners, etc. The book also provides feelings of animals toward each-others, feelings that do not surpass those toward mankind. And yet what we do for them i
Feb 18, 2015 Janet rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Janet by: AMS Professor
This book was part of my AMS syllabus. Here is the review I gave.
I found “A Dog’s Tale”, by Mark Twain, hard to read. Whether it is a movie or a book, I cannot bear the thought of harm coming to an animal. I will not watch a movie if it involves animal cruelty.
Mark Twain writes this short story as told by, Aileen Mavourneen, a Presbyterian. Her mother was a Collie and her father a St. Bernard. As I read the story, I could picture Aileen as a little girl, explaining how she admires her mother’s k
Totally broke my heart and I was not expecting that.
Emotionally I would give this book a 1, since I don't like feeling sad. But in terms of the message and the overall story I think it deserves a 5.
I think in a time where animal cruelty was not a concept, Mark Twain was trying to show the evil behind the callous treatment of animals. And that a large part of this pain comes from animals' inability to understand why humans act the way they do. Aileen Mauvourneen does not understand what is happe
Ajim Bagwan
A wonderful piece of writing, a short story- imaginative, captivating and beautiful; with a heart-wrenching end. You will love your dog more and would possibly imagine things from their point of view after reading this evocative story. Mark Twain certainly knows how to do it.
This Novella, A Dog's Tale, written by Mark Twain is a story told from the point of view of a dog. The story begins, "My father was a St.Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian. This is what my mother told me." From this beginning we follow the adventures Aileen Mavourneen from the time of her birth to her death. One of my favorite lines from the book comes after Aileen is given to her new family, she states, "And I was the same as a member of the family; and they loved me, and ...more
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
More about Mark Twain...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, #2) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, #1) The Prince and the Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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