“Once for joy, twice for sorrow, three times for sure death.”

Hello and welcome again to a story of days long past—though this story, I warn you dear readers, does not reside simply in the past, but does also reach into the present…and perhaps the future, which may be to our great delight, or great sadness. It is the story of Hugo and the Black Dog.

Now, the Black Dog is a rather unique entity in that scarcely a grandson or granddaughter has not heard a firsthand account of a run-in with it from elder generations—here in the Great Below and on the Surface. I’ve chosen a track titled, “Black Dog Traditions” from a UK (Surface) based project, called Folklore Tapes, to accompany this story for what are rather obvious reasons.

Black Dog

And now I take you to a night thick with cold; a night when the magical influences of the Deep Down reached up higher; a night we all well know to be a very bad night for a stroll. But stroll Hugo did.

I might say that Hugo did stroll quite happily indeed—for a time. Quite a curious situation chanced poor Hugo: a path ahead split and he found himself following the left path…and the right. Yes, Hugo then found himself as two wispish versions of himself seeking reconstitution in a quite confused state.

But lo! A small black dog, not half the height of his knee, came to him—one of him, though we do not remember if it was the left or right—and that small dog did lead his two halves together.
But the story does not end there, for Hugo was a fool. Some weeks later he took another stroll on an evening similarly unadvisable for travel. Again, he saw a fork in the road, but this time stood a black dog squarely at the center of it. This dog, however, was not the spunky, helpful creature of before. It stood over three feet tall at the shoulder and its eyes burned brightly yellow.

Hugo then made what may have been the wisest decision of his life and fled home. But what might have happened to him? Well, that question found its answer one terrible night only a few weeks later—when Hugo took yet another stroll.

Once more, he found himself at a fork and considered his direction. Behind him came a faint glow. He turned to find the dog again, the glow emanating from scorching red eyes.

Hugo found himself torn in two again that night—not by the forces of magic, but by the jaws of the Black Dog.
So when you go to take a stroll, keep your good sense about you. And until then, let the story continue.