Friends

The Cat in the Fireplace

Once upon a time there lived a man and his wife in an old cottage. The couple rarely had enough money for comforts and sometimes not even enough money for bread or for wood for the fire. Their only companion was a black tomcat with great golden eyes.

One evening, in the cold winter, the couple watched their small fire burn out. They had no more wood to put on the fire as the weather was too bad for them to venture out to collect fallen branches. So they sat huddled in blankets, lamenting their bad luck and poor station in life, by the ashes until the ashes had grown cold and the couple had fallen into despair.

Then the woman noticed two embers still glowing and flickering at the back of the fire. Though they had no wood with which to kindle a fire, the cheerily glowing embers made them feel warmer and less sad and they began to talk of happier things. Late into the night they talked of happier times and began to be more optimistic about the future. But eventually, even the two glowing coals seemed to be burning out.

“I’ll blow them into life,” said the man and he blew gently into the fireplace.

With a great screech, their black tomcat shot up out of the fireplace and up the chimney. The glowing, flickering embers had not been embers after all, but had been the cat’s eyes glowing and blinking back at the couple as they talked. As the cat had begun to fall asleep the embers had seemed to die.

The man and his wife had been kept warm through the night by their own optimism and realized that their greatest possessions were not wealth and objects, but each other and their cat.

Found at: Moggycats Cat Pages

Androcles and the Lion

This is the story of Androclus according to Apion. Apion was a 1st century AD. Greek grammarian and commentator who claimed to be an eyewitness to events. The tale has also been told as “Andy Rockles and the Lion.”

One day in Rome the people were being entertained by the fighting of several strange beasts, and principally of lions of an unusual size. Amongst the lions, there was one who stood out from the rest through his furious deportment, his size and strength and his loud and dreadful roaring. Amongst the other slaves being made to fight the lions was one called Androclus of Dacia. Androclus, belonged to a Roman lord from the consulate.

On seeing Androclus, the huge lion suddenly stopped, as if wondering what to do. It then softly approached the slave in a gentle and peaceable manner, as if to greet him. The lion then began to wag his tail, like a friendly dog, and nuzzled and licked the hands and thighs of the poor slave who was almost dead with fear. Recovering his composure, Androclus appeared to recognize the lion and caressed it to great applause from the spectators. The emperor demanded to know the cause of so strange an event and called the slave to him.

Androclus explained that his master, the proconsul in Africa, was cruel and beat him daily. Androclus had run away and, afraid to take refuge in towns, had hidden in a sandy, uninhabited area, resolving to kill himself if he could not support himself. During the heat of noon, he sheltered in an almost inaccessible cave.

Soon afterwards, a lion entered the cave with one foot wounded and bloody, complaining and groaning with pain. Androclus had been terrified, but the lion had spotted him and approached gently, displaying its wounded paw as if asking for help. Androclus drew out a great splinter and, growing a little more familiar with the lion, squeezed dirt and gravel out of the wound then wiped and cleansed it.

Now much more comfortable, the lion fell asleep with its paw still in Androclus’ hand. From then on, the slave and the lion lived together in the cave for three whole years, eating the flesh of the beast that the lion killed. The lion allowed Androclus the best pieces, which the slave roasted in the sun.

Androclus eventually grew tired of his wild and brutish life. While the lion was hunting, Androclus escapred from the cave and, three days later, was taken by Roman soldiers. The soldiers returned him to the proconsul who condemned me to die in combat with wild beasts. It seemed that the lion was also captured and had recognised and greeted Androclus in the arena.

That was the story that Androclus told the emperor and which was retold to the people. Androclus was absolved from his sentence and set free. The lion was, by order of the people, presented to him. The people later saw Androclus leading this lion, in nothing but a small leash, from tavern to tavern at Rome, and receiving what money everybody would give him, the lion being so gentle, as to allow itself to be covered with the flowers that the people threw on it.

How Cats Came To Live With The Hopi

A long time ago a Hopi boy went out to hunt. It was winter and the snow lay on the ground in the valley where he searched for game. To his surprise he found some tracks in it that were like no tracks he had ever seen before, and he followed them. The tracks led out of the valley and ended at a large rock.

The boy put his hand into the opening under the rock and pulled out a strange animal by its leg. He tied its legs together and started back with it to his village. When he reached home, he asked his father what the animal was. The boy’s father replied that it was a cat and that it ate mice, rats and rabbits.

On hearing this, the boy went back into the valley and caught a rabbit which he brought back to the cat. He kept the cat confined in a niche in the wall of his home and continued to feed it for four days. In this way the cat became tame and cats have lived in Hopi houses ever since.

Found at: Moggycats Cat Pages

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