Once upon a time, in the spirit world to which we all return, a little dog named Riddles was bragging in front of his friends. "I'm faster than any other dog in the whole Summerland. Why, I can even outrun the rabbits here. And I love to chase the butterflies, too. They can't get away from me!"
A little girl dog standing next to him said "He really is the fastest dog of all! I've seen him, he's like the wind!"
Another dog said "I suppose you'll be a greyhound this time, Riddles. That way your speed will be useful."
Riddles the Fastest Dog of All said "Oh no, I don't think so. Speed is fun, but I just want a young master who will love me and pat me on the head, and say "Good Dog!" But it will certainly be exciting showing him, or perhaps her, how fast I can run!"
Another dog said "I'm going to be a Beagle this time. They're going to fit me with a Beagle Cloak, and I'll be conceived in a house a few blocks from my master, a little boy called Timmy. The families know each other well, and he already has his heart set on a Beagle.
Another dog said "I'm choosing the cloak of a Dachshund this time. I'm to be born at a kennel of a breeder who will love me, and use me to win championships. What cloak are you going to choose, Riddles?"
"Um, I don't know", said Riddles.
"You don't know?" said the little girl dog next to him. "But tomorrow is Choose Day. You don't have much time left to make up your mind!"
"Um, well, being the Fastest Dog of All, I think I should have the best cloak of all. But I don't know which type of cloak that is."
"They've got lots of information about each type of dog at the Library of Tales. Perhaps if you read about the different types of dog, it will help you make up your mind."
"Oh, really? Yes, perhaps I should go there, to the Library of Tales. I do want to get the best cloak of all. I don't want to miss out!"
The next day, bright and early, Riddles the Fastest Dog of All set off towards the Library of Tales, to look up all the different types of dog he could be. "I'll be back in plenty of time" he thought. "They'll be fitting cloaks all day, and sending dogs to the Pause for Training hall, to prepare them for Earth."
Just then a butterfly flew past his nose. Then another. "Oh what fun!" said Riddles. I'll just chase these butterflies for a little while, then continue on my journey."
Throughout the morning Riddles was chasing butterflies through meadows, along the creek, and even into the forest. Then he set off again towards the Library of Tales.
After another mile, a rabbit ran across his path. He watched it go, and saw it run into a field with several other rabbits. "What fun!" thought Riddles. I'll just chase these rabbits for a little while, then continue on my journey."
Riddles chased and chased the rabbits down paths, over hills, and into bushes. As soon as he almost caught one, he would turn and chase another. The rabbits loved being chased, and were very happy and excited.
"Well, I'd best be off to the Library" thought Riddles. So he trotted down the path towards the Library of Tales.
But when he turned the final corner, and the library came into view, he saw the librarian locking up the front door! Oh no!
Riddles the Fastest Dog of All zoomed up the steps, and barked "Oh dear me, are you just closing up for the day? I was hoping to look up all the different types of dogs there are."
The Librarian said "That's a very interesting subject to look up, but what purpose did you have in mind, Riddles?"
"Oh, I can't make up my mind which type of spirit cloak I wanted to wear, to enter the earth plane" explained Riddles. "I was hoping that if I looked up all the types of dogs, one type would stand out as the best cloak of all."
"Oh Riddles!" exclaimed the Librarian, affectionately. "You don't need to know every type of cloak! If you have any trouble making up your mind, the Guide Dogs look into your heart, and can tell you what is written there. Now you'd better hurry back, before the helpers run out of cloaks!"
Then the librarian shut her eyes for a moment, then opened them and said "Oh, it's alright. They're keeping a very special cloak for the Fastest Dog of All. That's you, isn't it? But just the same, you'd better hurry. You don't want to keep them waiting!"
Riddles zoomed back, faster than the wind, to the Hall of Choosing, where one of the helpers was holding the last cloak. "Ah! Here's Riddles, the Fastest Dog of all. We kept a beautiful Golden Cloak for you, Riddles, to ensure that you will have a very happy visit to the Earth plane. They're very rare! It's the best cloak of all!"
Riddles was about to step into it, when another dog came running up. Riddles knew her well, for she had been his sister many times on Earth, and she was still his sister now. He woofed a friendly greeting.
But the helper said to Riddle's sister "Oh my dear, you're too late, I'm afraid. We have no more cloaks left!"
Riddles' sister gasped, and then burst into tears. She began to walk away in tears. "Oh no!" she whined. "I need a mother so badly! Oh Mummy, I can't come! Boo hoo hoo! Owooo! Arooo!"
Riddles immediately whispered to the helper "Could you give her my cloak?"
"What?" cried the helper. "Oh my goodness! What a suggestion! I've never heard of anyone giving away his own cloak before! Oh dear me."
"Oh please, sir" said Riddles. "Couldn't you do it just this once? My sister is so upset and she does need her mother so badly."
"B-b-but Riddles, this is the best cloak of all!"
"That's why I want her to have it! It would make her so happy" said Riddles.
"But Riddles, you'll miss out on an entire visit to Earth. No loving master to pat you, no-one to take you for walkies in the park, no-one to throw a ball for you!"
"I know. But my sister shouldn't miss out on those things, either."
"Well... Oh I guess... Oh well.. Maybe just this once. It's the first time this has ever happened, though! I'll never do it again. Giving your cloak to someone else! The very idea!"
"Just don't let her know it's mine, will you? I don't want her to feel guilty for depriving me!" said Riddles.
"Oh yes! Of course not, Riddles. It will be our secret" the helper said.
The helper ran after Riddles' sister and said "It's alright! It's alright! I've got just one more!" and Riddles sister bounded for joy! Then she stepped into the best cloak of all, and bounded off happily in the direction of the Pause for Training hall, barking "Mummy! Mummy! I'm coming!"
Riddles went outside the hall of Choosing and lay on his back in the sun. "Oh dear, what have I done?" he thought. "I really wanted a visit to Earth myself. It's beautiful up here, but I'll be lonely. I wonder if my master will miss me?"
Just then a delivery van came speeding across the field. It stopped outside the Hall of Choosing. The driver got out and ran to the door of the hall of Choosing. "Quick! I've got an emergency! I need the Most Loving Dog of All. Can you tell me which room he went to in the Pause for Training hall? He hasn't gone to the Earth plane yet, has he?"
The helper looked at him, puzzled. The driver said "A very loving little boy on Earth needs the most Loving Dog of All. He's going to go through a big emergency in a few years time, and the Most Loving Dog of All is the only one who can help him through it. Look, I've even got a special Golden Cloak here, just for him!"
"You're in luck!" said the helper. "Riddles became the Most Loving Dog of All just a few minutes ago, and there he is over there" he said, pointing to Riddles.
So Riddles stepped into the Golden Cloak, went off to the Pause for Training hall, was conceived into the womb of a very loving mother, and was given to a very loving little boy. They ran together and played together, and when the little boy's mother wasn't looking he even slept on the little boy's bed, with the little boy's arm around him. The most loving little boy often patted him, gave him treats, washed and brushed his fur, cuddled him, and often said "Good dog!"
Then years later, when the big emergency happened, the love of Riddles, the Most Loving Dog of All helped the little boy through it. And they had many, many, happy times together, year after year.
Then one day, when the loving little boy had become a loving teenager, they sat together on the back step, looking at the sunset. The loving teenager put his arm around Riddles, and Riddles thought to himself "I did get the best cloak after all!"