Animals: Intentionally Witty

Wagner's Kurwenal, a great, shaggy man, was Tristan's tutor and companion. Mathilde, Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven's Kurwenal was a short, smooth-haired dachshund, probably the most remarkable dog of the Western world. Last week's American Kennel Gazette gave the recently deceased dog Kurwenal a striking obituary.

He spoke by means of a number alphabet, one bark for a, two for b, three for c, as far as 16 for p; then backwards, ten for q, nine for r, to one for z. If there was doubt, Kurwenal was asked "Backwards?" or "Forward?" "Yes," he would...

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