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Oh. Erm, I know. Sing!
Oh, hello. I'm Lee.
I was just trying to teach my dog some new tricks.
Mind you, I don't think I've ever seen a dog tap-dance or sing.
But the dog in tonight's story can do lots of things.
The story is by GN Hargreaves, and it's called Douglas.
Now, this is a story about a dog,
not just any old run-of-the-mill, everyday, ordinary dog,
but an extraordinary dog, a dog in a billion,
a dog called Douglas.
When other dogs chased balls,
Douglas would sit inside and sort through his stamp collection.
When other dogs lapped up water and chewed on a bone,
Douglas would have tea and cucumber sandwiches.
He didn't go for walkies. He would sooner go out
in his shiny red car.
And that's not all.
Douglas could play the tuba. He could cycle up the tallest mountain.
And he could ski down the steepest slope.
Douglas could do anything. What a dog!
But I'll let you into a secret. There was one thing he couldn't do,
one thing he desperately wanted to do.
He couldn't wag his tail.
You see, to wag your tail, you need to know how to have fun.
But Douglas didn't know how to have fun. Not at all. Not one bit.
Wherever he went, people would jeer.
"What a bore! What a drag! He's no fun! His tail won't wag!"
Poor Douglas. This made him feel very glum. Very glum indeed.
One day, he began to cry.
Two big tears rolled down his cheeks and splashed on the ground.
"Oh, I wish I knew how to wag my tail," he sobbed.
Suddenly, he heard a voice,
a peculiar, squeaky sort of voice.
"Cheer up, fella!" said a bird in a tree.
"I'm Basil. Who are you?"
"Douglas," the gloomy dog sniffed.
"Here, borrow my hanky," said Basil,
"and tell me why you're so down in the dumps."
Douglas told Basil all about his problem.
"That's serious," said Basil.
"A dog who can't wag his tail? We'll have to do something."
"But what?" asked Douglas.
"You could try having some fun," suggested Basil.
"Proper tail-wagging, ball-chasing, tummy-tickling,
So Basil tried to persuade Douglas to chase a bouncy ball.
"Fetch," cried Basil.
"I'd rather have a game of golf," replied Douglas.
Next, Basil tried to take him for a walk. "Walkies!"
"Fiddlesticks. Where's the fun in that? I've never walked anywhere."
"How about chasing cats?" asked Basil.
"Boring!" said Douglas. "Let's play chess."
"You just don't know how to have fun," said Basil.
"But I can do everything else," boasted Douglas.
"I can read, I can swim, I can ski.
"Why, I'm sure I could even fly if I put my mind to it."
"A flying dog?!" spluttered Basil.
"That's as ridiculous as a barking bird."
"I don't see why," said Douglas.
"Look, I can even beat you at chess. Checkmate."
Basil thought about it for a moment, and then he smiled.
With a twinkle in his eye, he said, "Do you really think you could fly?"
"Of course," replied Douglas.
"Well, that might be fun. Certainly funny,
"in which case, we'll have to find you a tree, somewhere high."
So they searched for a tree - not just any tree,
but the tallest tree in the wood.
"Now, that is what I call a whopper!" said Basil,
pointing to a huge tree
that appeared to soar into the sky and touch the clouds.
Douglas began to climb up it.
He climbed and climbed, up and up and up,
higher and higher and higher.
And then he climbed some more, until he reached the top.
Douglas crept along the branch
and looked down at the tiny houses below.
The fur on the back of his neck stood up.
His heart went thump-thump-thump.
Douglas drew a deep breath, closed his eyes
and took one giant step forward.
He flapped his paws up and down.
But nothing happened.
And then Douglas fell.
And he fell. And then he fell some more.
Douglas landed on a sheep and bounced - boing! - into a bush.
"Are you all right?" cried Basil.
"No!" snapped Douglas, picking a twig from his fur.
"Your paws were flapping all over the place!" chuckled the bird.
"Well, I suppose it was rather silly," said Douglas.
"Silly?!" hooted Basil. "I thought it was ridiculously preposterous."
And then the most amazing thing happened.
And then the smile became a grin.
And the grin became a chuckle, and the chuckle became a laugh,
a big, booming, hilarious ha-ha-ha-hee!
And can you guess what happened next?
That's right. His tail began to wag.
"My, oh, my!" cheeped Basil. "Your tail! It's wagging!"
"Gosh!" Douglas laughed. "Oh-ho, it does look funny."
That wasn't all.
Douglas's tail started to wag faster and faster and faster still.
It was going so fast, it looked just like a speeding, whirling propeller.
And then, suddenly, incredibly,
Douglas began to lift up into the air.
Up and up he went, higher and higher.
And higher still!
"Look! Look!" squawked Basil. "You're flying! A flying dog!
"Whoever heard of such a thing? This is as ridiculous as...as..."
"A barking bird?" suggested Douglas.
"Woof! Woof!" said Basil.
And that story was called Douglas.
Who would have thought, a flying dog?
-I'm certain my dog can't fly.
But he says he can bark and wag his tail.
And he's very good at walkies. Speaking of which,
it's time for me to take him for a walk before he goes to bed.
Are you ready to go to bed?
Well, sweet dreams. And maybe you'll dream about flying dogs.
I'll see you soon for another story.
Now, where did I put that lead?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd