Sixty years ago, my grandmother, Frida Wilson, interviewed J.R.R. Tolkien’s Saint Bernard, Rufus, in the Sunday edition of the London Times. I recently discovered the interview in a tattered journal buried under a stack of boxes in my mother’s attic. Below is a transcription of the interview.
Frida-I must confess that this is my first time interviewing a dog.
Rufus-I can only conclude that your life has been severely deficient up until now. However, we will soon remedy the situation.
Frida-Are there many talking dogs?
Rufus-Do you mean dogs that speak human?
Rufus-I’m the only one that I know of.
Frida-And you belong to the illustrious author, J.R.R. Tolkien?
Rufus-It’s not surprising, is it? Any man who could invent a hobbit would probably have a talking dog.
Frida-There are no Saint Bernards in The Lord Of The Rings. Are you offended?
Rufus-Not in the least. We Saint Bernards are so large it would be hard not to step on a hobbit. If I accidentally crushed Bilbo I’d never be able to live with myself.
Frida-I’ve noticed that many children’s authors have dogs. Why is that?
Rufus-That’s because children’s authors are highly intelligent.
Frida-Do you feel that the dogs who belong to children’s authors have had any influence on children’s literature?
Rufus-We’ve had a gigantic influence on children’s literature. The love that we have for our masters seeps into the ink, which drips onto the page, forming stories that touch the heart. The loyalty of dogs infuses our masters with devotion to their craft. There is no greater cure for writers block than a lick on an author’s face from a Saint Bernard. Believe me, I’ve done it hundreds of times. If I hadn’t, you never would’ve been introduced to Gandalf!