Study Guide

As Birds Bring Forth the Sun

by Alistair MacLeod

As Birds Bring Forth the Sun Summary

Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“As Birds Bring Forth the Sun” begins as the story of a man whose family name, which is never revealed, indicates a Scottish Highland heritage. He lives by the ocean and has a large family whom he supports by fishing and farming. The man has a huge gray dog, that is devoted to him. He adopted her when she was just a small puppy that someone had left on his doorstep. Later, he saved her life again by nursing her back to health after she was run over by a cart. Though he has never given the dog a name but simply calls her cù mòr glas, or “the big gray dog” in Gaelic, he is very much attached to her. When she comes into heat, he searches out a male large enough for her and helps them breed. However, shortly before her pups are to be born, the big gray dog disappears. The whole family worries about her, her master most of all, but she never returns.

More than a year later, while the man and two of his sons are out in their boat fishing, a sudden storm blows up, forcing them to take refuge on a nearby island. Suddenly they see the missing dog, standing on a hilltop. Her master is so overjoyed that he jumps out of the boat and wades toward shore; spying him, she rushes headlong down the hill, jumps up on him, and in her enthusiasm knocks him down. Suddenly six more gray dogs rush down to join in what they assume is an attack on this strange man. Before their mother can drive them off, they have killed her former master. The next day, when the...

(The entire section is 583 words.)