Greyfriars Bobby


The story of this famous dog found life in our family at bedtime.

There’s a statue of Greyfriars Bobby in Edinborough, but a weathered picture I found long ago still hangs on my office wall after migrating through the years from bedroom to bedroom as my three daughters grew up.

The picture is of a boy standing before a judge, pleading his case. His sister is behind him. They are charged with letting a dog into the cemetery.

The cemetery is managed by a grouchy old keeper who hated dogs.

The children lived in a house right outside the cemetery wall, their bedroom on the second floor. They had found the dog at the cemetery gate the day after the master died, and had taken him home.

They waited until late at night, then let the dog jump over the wall into the cemetery where he found his master’s grave and slept on the mound. They did that every night.

The cemetery keeper saw the dog jump down from the window once.

Next day he went to investigate and had the children brought to court.

That’s my own spin on the story of Greyfriars Bobby. I repeated it often at bedtime while putting my daughters to bed, I would ask them what story they wanted to hear.

“Tell the story about the dog,” one of them would say.

We had a bearded collie at the time, a breed from the Highlands of Scotland, so the story had its own special meaning for my daughters.

I would turn out the lights, but shadows would still reveal the picture.

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