Afew months ago, the morning before my eldest brother was to return home to Norway after a long visit, I dreamed that I had just awakened in the early light of dawn to find my dog Roland sitting at the end of my bed, a bar of softly glaucous shadow—cast by the central casement frame of my double window—draped over his shoulders like a prophet’s mantle. Roland is of middling size, with a shorthaired coat of mottled white, brown, and black, and a handsome face with a coal-black nose and deep brown eyes. I recognized at once the profound melancholy in both his posture and his expression. “What’s wrong?” I said, after a moment of uneasy silence.

He slowly shook his head, and then—in a voice plangent with sadness—replied, “I have to leave you. I have to go to Norway with your brother.”

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