Hemingway’s ‘Black Dog’ Killed by the Batista Regime - Cuba

“ I miss Black Dog as much as any friend I ever lost.” Ernest Hemingway

Hem and Old Black Dog. Source: ragazine.c.c

After returning from his bullfighting trip to Spain, late in 1959, Hemingway settled down to write The Dangerous Summer, which, by May of 1960 had run to 120,000 words, with Life magazine wanting 10,000. What to do?

He asked Aaron Hotchner, who was staying with him.

His suggestion was to take what he had to New York, and discuss his options with the magazine.

“ My deal with Life is binding, and what they’re going to pay me won’t even cover my taxes, and I need to go back to Spain to finish the thing off.”

The truth is Hemingway wanted to turn what he’d written into a book as well as a magazine series. What to do?

He was also worried about staying in Cuba. He knew, in the end, he’d have to give up the Finca, and move back to the States and live in the new house he’d recently had built in Ketchum. He was also an American, and with America cutting ties with Cuba he might just find his American citizenship withdrawn if he stayed. And with the death of ‘Black Dog’ the place just wasn’t the same, never could be again.

As he told Hotchner, before Castro came to power a bunch of Batista’s soldiers, looking for guns…

“…barrelled in here in the middle of the night and poor Black Dog, old and half blind, tried to stand guard at the door of the Finca, but a soldier clubbed him to death with the butt of his rifle. Poor old Black Dog. I miss him. In the early morning when I work, he’s not here on the kudu skin beside the typewriter; and in the afternoon when I swim, he’s not hunting lizards beside the pool; and in the evenings when I sit in my chair to read, his chin isn’t resting on my foot. I miss Black Dog as much as I miss any friend I ever lost.”

Source: A.E. Hotchner’s Papa Hemingway

Written by

Playwright, Historian, Biographer & Freelance Writer Living and Working in Shakespeare’s Stratford

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