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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 458

"As Birds Bring Forth the Sun" is a short story from a collection by Alistair Macleod. The setting is about a hundred years in the past, by the sea. A highland father rescues and raises a puppy. When the young dog gets run over by a horse-drawn cart, family members advise him to put the dog out of her misery. Instead, he nurses her back to health:

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he fashioned a small box . . . He placed her within the box and placed the box behind the stove and . . . he held open her small and trembling jaws with his left hand while spooning in the sweetened milk with his right, ignoring the needle-like sharpness of her small teeth.

The details about her teeth, and the rough way she shows the owner affection, foreshadow her dangerous nature. The first paragraph describes how she interacts with him:

if she jumped up to lick his face, which she loved to do, her paws would jolt against his shoulders with such force that she would come close to knocking him down and he would be forced to take two or three backward steps before he could regain his balance.

She grows into a beast of a dog that he nicknames "cù mòr glas," which means “the big gray dog” in Gaelic. After she gets pregnant, she runs off. A year later, the owner and two of his sons take shelter from a storm and find the dog. Unfortunately, the mother dog knocks over their father during their reunion. This is interpreted as an attack by her offspring, and the owner is killed.

They had never seen him before, and seeing him stretched prone beneath their mother, they misunderstood, like so many armies,...

(The entire section contains 458 words.)

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