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Mogul laid his head in Tóvó’s lap. He yawned deeply, and

when the boy began to pick the pus from his brown eyes, he

did not resist; he also swallowed the pusball that the boy

rolled between his fingers and placed on his long tongue.

Presumably, the dog realized that Tóvó was the reason he

was still alive. He was in his twelfth year, and as sometimes

happens with an old dog, he was liable to snap at people.

He did the same with other domestic animals, and one day

he mauled one of fru Løbner’s hens. Now, Martimann said,

his days were numbered.

Tóvó was uncertain what having numbered days actually

meant. He could count to nineteen, and he knew there was

such a thing as “counting the days of Christmas,”


but surely

that was not what his father was thinking of. However,

when Martimann tied up the dog and went for his

muzzleloader, it was clear to the boy that Mogul was going

to be shot. That is what it signified to have days numbered.

He burst into tears. He said it was the chicken who had

started it all. The bird had given Mogul loads of trouble. It


A Faroese dance tradition where a certain number of counting songs or rhymes

are sung during the last dance of Shrove Monday.