illustrated outline of a large, ferocious-looking dog with red eyes

The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Explain the hound's existence in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

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The "hound" is a large dog that has been brought to the area by Stapleton, a distant relative of the new Sir Henry, the current owner of the Baskerville estate.  Stapleton is determined to kill off the members of the Baskerville family, as he is next to inherit the estate.  He sets upon the old family legend of the curse of the hound as a way to commit those murders without getting caught.

In order to make the story seem more realistic, Stapleton uses phosphorous on the dog's face so that it will glow in the dark.  This way, when neighbors see the dog, they can back up the story of a ghostly and seemingly "otherworldy" specter dog prowling the moors.  Using Sir Henry as bait, Holmes is able to draw out the dog.  Stapleton releases the viscous animal on the moors, and it is caught.  As Stapleton tries to flee the scene, he ends up drowing in the marsh. 

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