15 Classic Tales Wishbone Taught Better Than Your English Teacher

Because no one, not even Derrida, could deconstruct a dense text as well as this talking dog.

1. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

PBS / Via youtube.com

Reading an 1897 rhyming couplets play might be daunting, but Wishbone’s frequent allusions to his “dogface” remind us that it’s the story of a poet whose insecurities about his giant schnoz prevent him from declaring his love for his cousin. Wishbone was so good, we didn’t even think it was weird for a dog to be having a tragic love scene with a human female.

2. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

PBS

PBS

 

Saxons fighting the Normans, sinful passions and bloody betrayals, unfair trials for witchcraft. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in Ivanhoe, but Wishbone shows that honor and courage will always prevail!

3. “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

PBS

PBS/via youtube.com

 

Thanks to Wishbone, we’ll never forget Washington Irving’s story of a Dutchman who goes to the Catskills, bowls with giants, gets drunk, falls asleep, and awakes twenty years later to find out everyone’s suddenly American. Because the image of a dog in a beard playing pinball is paw-printed into our memories.

4. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

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Like a humble mutt, Wishbone knew when to take a backseat and let someone else be the center of the story, like when he recounted the tale of the 16-year old Joan of Arc burning at the stake for France.

5. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

PBS / Via youtube.com

Signing his name in indelible paw in front of super-creepy satan, Wishbone gave us the moral of Goethe’s epic 1808 poem in one simple sentence, “What’s the point of getting what you want if other people get hurt”? So much wisdom for such a little pup.

6. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

PBS / Via youtube.com

Jules Verne. Science Fiction. Three English dudes travel deep into a volcano. All you need to know. The moral of this story? Digging can be lots of fun. Dig more. Dig dig dig.

7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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The Count of Monte Cristo is framed by his friends and sets out on a bloodthirsty quest to seek revenge and regain the woman he loves. The takeaway here is don’t seek revenge. Just be chill.

8. One Thousand and One Arabian Nights

PBS / Via youtube.com

Ali Baba (portrayed here) opens a cave of treasure with the words “Open Sesame,” and then tells his brother the password, after which it all goes to the dogs. Meanwhile, Joe has a run-in with cyber hacks. The takeaway here: TRUST NO ONE. And memorize your passwords.

9. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Young squire Jim Hawkins befriends peg-legged and parrot-shouldered Long John Silver, discovers he’s a pirate planning on commandeering the ship, and lets him escape when he has the chance because moral ambiguity is super complex.

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

PBS / Via pinterest.com

That’s definitely Wishbone’s left paw, no doubt about it. It really conveys the fact that Robin Hood was an expert archer, as well as a resident socialist who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

11. “David and Goliath”

PBS / Via youtube.com

The ultimate underDOG story (get it? get it?). David, the Marsha Brady of his Israelite family, defeats a giant using a slingshot. Wishbone’s sling-shotting skills teach us to never underestimate anyone, least of all ourselves.

12. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

PBS / Via youtube.com

Is there a phantom at the opera? No, it’s just curmudgeonly mutant who’s bitter because he doesn’t have any friends. Wishbone taught us how to deal with these scenarios: “It’s amazing how much better you can make someone feel, just by showing them that you understand them.”

13. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

PBS / Via youtube.com

D’Artagnan becomes the fourth member of the Three Musketeers, and shows unspeakable valor in the face of all other temptations (greed, lust, etc.). Like when the King’s mistress offers to let him find solace in her lap, and he replies, “I’m sorry, m’lady, but this dog won’t hunt for you. You can trust my word.” Ouch, burn. Honor and loyalty above all else.

14. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

PBS

 

Henry Tilney lives in the lap of luxury. Catherine Morland is obsessed with Gothic horror fiction. She stays with him at Northanger Abbey and makes a lot of impertinent presumptions about his life, but then they get married anyway. Morals are a. don’t let your imagination run away with you, and b. lapping is the refined way to drink champagne.

15. The Aeneid by Virgil

PBS / Via youtube.com

The show paired the story of Aeneas traveling through the Afterworld with Joe and his friends preparing to go to high school. A fitting final episode for a show that always took us on epic journeys as kids and helped us convincingly discuss books we never got around to reading at literary cocktail parties as adults.

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