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THE POODLE

    Once a poodle took up ballroom dancing.
    The poodle had just the right temperament for it and advanced rapidly to the highest rank in international competitions. After repeating as world champion a number of times, it retired and went on tour, giving demonstration performances to packed arenas.
    The audiences at these performances would always murmur with appreciation at the poodle’s signature lilt in the waltz and sigh together at its signature sneers in the tango. Bouquets of flowers rained down on the floor every time it took a bow.
    Then one evening, in full rumba, the poodle happened to notice a heavy-set man in the front row of the audience with a condescending expression on his face. As it passed close to the man in a particularly evocative move that drew a gasp from the crowd, the poodle thought it heard him comment to his companion about the sight of a dog dancing: “It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.”
    The poodle, being a seasoned veteran, never missed a step and completed the rumba with such verve that nobody in the audience suspected a thing. As it was taking its customary bows amid the shower of bouquets, it noticed out of the corner of its eye that the heavy-set man had apparently dropped something, his glasses perhaps, and with considerable difficulty and labored breath, was searching the edge of the dance floor on his hands and knees.
    The poodle watched the man moving about on all fours for a few moments and then turned to its partner, observing with a smile, “It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.”