Antedating of "Shaggy Dog Story"

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Wed Mar 5 00:29:23 UTC 2003

On Mon, 3 Mar 2003, Bob Fitzke wrote:

#I remember reading what was supposed to be the "original" shaggy dog story
#many, many, years ago. It went:
#A man advertised that he'd lost his dog and described it as being light
#brown, about 55 pounds, shaggy, and answered to the name of Duke. A couple
#days later a knock came on the man's door and when he opened it he saw a boy
#about 12 who had a dog on a leash.
#The boy said, "You advertised a lost dog?"
#The man said , "Yes".
#The boy said, "About 55 pounds?"
#The man said "Yes".
#"Answers to the name of Duke"
#The boy said "Light brown and shaggy?"
#The man looked the dog over and answered, "Not THAT shaggy."

As I heard it, it involved a tramp, a years-old newspaper from a distant
city with an ad mentioning a large reward, and considerable buildup as
the tramp got himself respectable, got a job, and earned enough to
travel to the address. When he presented himself and the dog, the answer
was, as above, "It wasn't THAT shaggy."

To me, this version is more satisfactory as a joke and as a s-d s. It
has the absurdity of the tramp putting in all this effort for what
clearly is a long-expired announcement, incorporated by the long buildup
in as much detail as the teller wants to supply, and capped by the
simultaneous double reversal: Yes, the ad IS still current, but no, the
owner refuses the claim because the dog is shaggier than it was x years

-- Mark A. Mandel

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