HM Books cover of Jimi The Dog by Meja Mwangi
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copyright 2008 by HM Entertainment Inc.
Jimi the Dog

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One day, my brother Hari brought home a puppy. I was sitting in the yard, between my
lesson at school.
     “Here!” said Hari putting the puppy at my feet. “I have brought you a dog.”
     “For me?” I asked.
     “For me,” Hari said. “He is my dog, but if you look after him well I will give him to you.”
     It was a small puppy with a small body and long and thin legs. It had a big head, with
long, hanging ears and begging eyes. It did not look like a dog.
     I always wanted a dog of my own. Every boy I knew had a dog. Hari had five dogs
that lived around the village and only came home to eat.
     I picked him up and saw the fleas. I put him down quickly.
     “He is full of fleas,” I said.
     “Wash him,” said Hari.
     "Where did you get him?” I asked.
     “In Majengo,” he said. “I bought him.”
     “How much?”
     “Do you want him or not?”
     Fleas or no fleas, I wanted a dog of my own.
     “You must promise to take care of him,” said Hari.
     “I will take the best care of him,” I promised.
     “You’d better,” Hari warned. “Otherwise I’ll take him away and give him to someone
else.”
     Hari was strict with me. If I did something wrong, he would slap me hard. I had to do
what he said. The puppy crawled under my stool and fell asleep. He  was tired from the
long journey from Nanyuki.
     “What is his name?” I asked Hari.
     “Ask him,” he said.
     “He talks?” I was so excited.
     “Don’t be foolish,” Hari said. “If the dog could talk he would be in your school,
wouldn’t he?”
     Hari always made fun of me. I reached under the chair and took out the puppy.
     “He is ugly,” I said.
     “He is a dog,” said Hari.
     He was a mongrel, he explained. The puppy was a mixture of different types of dogs.
     “Shall I call him, Jack?” I asked.
     “Like Bwana Ruin?” Hari asked. “Don’t be foolish.”
     Jack Ruin was the white man who owned the farm where we lived. My father worked
for him. Hari worked for him. Every grown man on the farm worked for  Bwana Ruin.
That was why we lived on the farm.
     “Call your dog anything you like,” Hari said, “but don’t call him Jack. Bwana  Ruin
would be very unhappy.”
     “May I call him Simba then?”
     “Lion?” Hari said, “No, he is not that big.”
     "What about Chui?”
     “Leopard?” said Hari. “He is not a cat! Must he have a name?”
     “Yes,” I said.
     “Call him Dog.”
     Half the village dogs were called Dog. The other half was Jimi. I wanted my dog to
be different. But I had no name for him.
     “Call him Jimi?” Hari said.
     “There are too many Jimis,” I said.
     “Call him Puppy then,” said Hari.
     That was sillier than ‘dog.’
     “I’ll think of something,” I said.
     “But not Jack,” he warned.
     It took me the whole day to admit I didn’t know any other names for dogs than Jimi
and Dog. I named my puppy Jimi.
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