The legend of the Littlest Basenji
Human history did not record the pawprints made by a faithful little Basenji that followed the Three Wise Men out of Egypt on their quest for the Christ Child. But Basenjis have not forgotten, and the story has passed from mother to pup for two thousand years. Here is the story they tell.
Long ago, as humans reckon time, a new star appeared in the sky. Looking up, we were curious and listened intently in the council chambers of the mighty, for we were an ancient breed even then, companions to the great lords of Egypt. The philosophers and priests told of a prophecy they believed had come to pass: A glorious soul had come to teach love and peace to all living beings. It was decided that three wise and learned men would seek out this beautiful soul and bring him gifts of precious ointments and gold.
Now at this time in Egypt, there lived in the royal household a young Basenji girl who had always sought out the company of learned men. She was gentle, refined and small, and her name was Candle because she brought a glow into everyone's hearts.
The bond between Candle and the man she called master went deep, and when she learned he was to be a member of the expedition, she would not be denied her place at his side. Faithfully she traveled, and the journey was not always easy. They went to a far country, where they finally found the child.
The Wise Men knelt down to give their gifts, but little Candle was suddenly very shy. She could see the glory around the child and the angels about him that the humans seemed not to notice.
But the angels saw Candle and one gently asked, "What is it you want, little one?"
"I, too, would like to bring a gift to the young king," she said, "but I have nothing to offer but love."
"Love is the greatest gift one being can give another,"said the angel.
"In honor of your devotion, we declare your breed shall always wear white to commemorate the pure light in your heart. Through the ages, Basenjis will remember this moment when you bowed down before the child, and will be quick to bow, both in work and play.
"Basenji eyes will be far-seeing and will never lose sight of the stars, just as you never lost sight of the great star in the sky this night. Basenjis will go quietly through the world, just as you came quietly to this place.
"And, little Candle, Basenjis will have a flame of love in their hearts that will never go out, and they will watch over their humans and become guardians of their spirits."
So saying, the angel bent down to pet the littlest Basenji,but Candle was suddenly overwhelmed by the majesty of the angel, and she covered her eyes with her paws. So that is where the angel's touch fell, and that is why all true Basenjis have white on their feet.
-Sally Ann Smith