A Cat and Mouse Story
A cat once became such good friends with a mouse that she invited the mouse to live with her. The mouse agreed to move in and to share with the housekeeping. However they agreed not to leave the house each without the other unless by mutual agreement. “We must provide for the winter or else go hungry,” said the Cat, “but it is too dangerous for you to go looking for food in case you run into a mouse-trap.”
The cat’s advice was followed and they bought a little pot of fat, but they did not know where to put it. After a long discussion, the Cat said, “We can hide it safely in a corner of the church where no-one will disturb it. We won’t touch it until we need it.”
So they hid the little pot of fat in the church, but it wasn’t long before the cat had a great longing to lick some fat. She said to the Mouse, “My cousin has just had a little son, white with brown spots, and she wants me to be the godmother. I will go to the christening while you look after the house – it would be dangerous for you to come with me as the other cats would surely eat you!”
“Certainly,” replied the Mouse, “and when you eat anything good, think of me. If possible, I should very much like a drop of the red christening wine.”
But the Cat had no cousin, and had not been asked to be godmother. She went straight to the church and licked the top off the little pot of fat. Then went walking and sunning herself on the roofs of the town, licking her lips whenever she thought of the little pot of fat. When evening came, she returned home.
“Did you have an enjoyable day?” the mouse asked her.
“Indeed,” said the cat, “It all went very well.” And of course, that was the truth.
“What was the child’s name?” asked the mouse.
“Top Off,” replied the cat dryly.
“What a curious name!” exclaimed the mouse, “Is it a traditional name in you family?”
“What’s odd about the name?” the cat asked, blinking, “It’s no more curious than ‘Breadthief’ as your godchild is called.”
Soon after, the cat had another great longing for some fat and she once more asked the mouse to take care of the house, “I have been asked a second time to be a godmother, and of course I cannot refuse as the child has a white ring around its neck.”
The kind mouse agreed and the untruthful cat slunk under the town wall to the church where she ate up half of the pot of fat. “Nothing tastes better than what one eats by oneself,” she said, greatly pleased with her day’s work. Then she went sunning herself on the town roofs before returning home.
“What was this child named?” asked the mouse.
“Half Gone,” answered the cat.
“Halfgone?!” exclaimed the mouse, “What a name! Why I have never heard such a name in my life.”
Soon after, the cat once more had a great longing for some fat and she said to the mouse, “All good things come in threes and I have been asked to be godmother to my cousin’s third child as well. It is coal black and has snow white paws, but not a single white hair on its body. Such a thing only happens once in two years, so you will let me go out?”
“Topoff! Halfgone!” said the mouse, “Such curious names and they make me very thoughtful.”
“Oh, you sit here at home in your dark grey coat and your long tail,” said the cat, “and it makes you fanciful. That comes of not going out in the day!”
The mouse cleaned and swept the house while the cat was gone, but the untruthful cat ate up every last bit of the fat and said, “When it is all gone one can be at rest” before returning home sleek and satisfied.
“And what did they name this child?” asked the mouse, “Something as curious as the others?”
“It won’t please you any better,” the cat told her, “they called him Clean Gone.”
“Cleangone!” exclaimed the mouse, “Why don’t believe such a name exists! Cleangone indeed! What can it mean?”
The mouse shook her head and curled up to sleep. From that time one, no-one asked the cat to be godmother, but when the winter came and there was no food to be got outside, the mouse remembered their precious pot of fat safely hidden in the church and said, “Come, cat, let’s go to our pot of fat – it will taste very good.”
“Indeed,” answered the Cat, “it will taste as good to you as if you stretched your thin tongue out of the window,” meaning that empty air has no taste at all.
When they reached the church, they found the pot in its place, but quite empty and the mouse guessed what had been happening each time the cat had gone to a christening.
“Now I know what has happened, you false friend!” she cried, “First you ate the top off, then half of it gone and then …”
“be silent!” hissed the cat, “Another word and I will eat you up as well.”
But the word “Cleangone” was already on the poor mouse’s tongue, and scarcely was it out than the cat pounced on her and swallowed her whole.
“All gone,” said the cat to herself. You see that is the way of the world.
Found at: Moggy Cat