A Dog's Tooth

The following article is from the Winter, 1998 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

by W.W. Rowe
illustrations by Chris Banigan


32 pp., 31 color illustrations, 8x11 #DOTO
$12.95 cloth, for children ages 5-13, Feb.

In this adventurous retelling of a classic Tibetan tale of the power of faith, a young man is asked by his dying mother to obtain a sacred relic to help her. He fails to do this and instead deceivingly brings her a tooth from the skeleton of a dog. He tells her it is the Buddha's tooth.

This version humorously recreates the wily son's schemes. It movingly conveys how the mother's strong faith has the power to fulfill her dreams in spite of the son's deceit. The result is a suspenseful story that captivates and inspires readers of all ages. The illustrations, which transport the reader to Tibet and India, are a miracle of lively imagination in themselves.

W. W. Rowe was born in New York City. He received a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard University and an Ph.D in Russian Literature from N.Y. University. W.W. Rowe is the author of 15 books. He lives in Cincinnati, OH with his author-artist wife Eleanor. One of their sons is a Tibetan Buddhist monk; the other has an M.A. in Eastern Religions from the University of Virginia. His books include: Amy & Gully in Rainbowland, The Buddha's Question, and The Rabbit and the Ti.gerdile.

Here is an excerpt from the story:

The next morning, Osel gathered up a lot of old grain sacks. Using a sharp knife, he cut each sack in half, pausing only to laugh at his own cleverness.

He loaded the rough cloth on his five mules and journeyed to India once again. Smirking slyly, he reached the trading post. At one end, a pretty woman was selling fine silks and cotton cloth.

Osel led his mules up to the woman and bowed respectfully, Good day, he said. I wonder if you'd be interested in a special bargain?

The woman regarded him skeptically. And just what bargain might that be?

Osel took a piece of grain sack from the nearest mule. He held it carefully in both hands, like a precious item of great value.


The famous Doctor Fizzadred has treated this rough cloth, he said, with special herbs to heal and beautify the skin. You wear it, and they all sink in.

Does it get rid of wrinkles? the woman asked. Will it make me look younger?

Well...yes, said Osel. As a matter of fact, it does that too. Just rub it on your face three times a day.

The woman leaned forward excitedly. I'll trade you even, she said. One piece of silk for each cloth.

Why not? Osel's eyes sparkled brightly. Sometimes, it even works on scars and warts. But, to tell the truth, not always.

Why, you honest young man! the woman exclaimed. You can have this cotton too. Soon Osel's mules were loaded with fine silk and beautiful cotton cloth. Humming happily, he began the long journey home. When he was almost there, he thought: My mother will be proud of me. I traded so successfully.

But then he stopped and slapped his head. Oh, curses! I forgot again! he said. ä_æ

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