This is an Italian version of the 12th-century British folk tale, “Dick Whittington and His Cat”, with a somewhat different ending.
Among the ancient Romans there was a proverb that those who are greedy never have enough, and since the Romans were Italians, the proverb still holds true. In the golden city of Venice they tell a tale that proves this time-old saying.
There once lived in the city by the sea two merchants who were neighbors. Both were rich. Both had grand palaces on the green, shimmering canal, with proud gondolas tied to cinnabar-and-yellow-striped poles. And both had lovely young children who were friendly and played with one another. As for the merchants, one was as different from the other as a black pebble from a shining ruby. One was hard and sharp and greedy, wanting whatever he saw, whether he needed it or not, while the other was generous and good, working to help not only himself but others as well. The two merchants knew each other and spoke to each other, but when it came to business, Mr. Greedy-Wolf was wary and watchful, not trusting anyone, not even himself
So time went by, with these two buying and selling, working and growing. There came a day when Giovanni, the good merchant, set out on a far journey to trade for spices, which were much sought after in Europe then. He loaded his vessels with toys and corals and silks and beautiful glassware to exchange for pepper and cinnamon and vanilla and curries and other scented spices that grew on the islands far away.
Don Giovanni sailed for days and weeks and then came to the rich East, where he traded from island to island, with benefit to himself and satisfaction to the islanders. One sparkling morning he came to a harbor that was as still as a graveyard, with masts hanging like tombstones. The streets and the markets were quiet as the night.
The merchant and some of his men walked about, disturbed only by their own footsteps. Where were the hustling and bustling townspeople dressed in colorful clothes? Where were the smells of spices and the cries of vendors that usually filled the air of a busy city? Finally the traders from Venice met two men who took them before the King. The ruler sat on his throne with a sorrowful face and head bowed low. Courtiers stood around, no different from the King.
“Can we trade with your people, Your Majesty?” the Venetian merchant said. “We have rich goods from our land that we would gladly exchange for spices.”
“Master merchant,” said the ruler, “our spices are ravaged, our grain is destroyed, our food is ruined. It is a wonder we are alive, because of the terrible plague that has come over our land. Everything is slowly being destroyed – even our clothes.”
“And what is this terrible plague that has brought your land such unhappiness, Your Majesty?”
“Gnawing rats and scuttling mice! They are in our homes and clothes and in our fields and roads. We have set traps for them and we have strewn poison in the pantries, but that has done more harm to our animals than to our pests. There seems to be no remedy for this curse.”
“Have you no cats?” the merchant asked.
“Cats? What are cats?”
“Why, cats are furry little animals like small dogs, and they are the mortal enemies of mice and rats, destroying them wherever they find them!”
“Where can I find these cats?” the King cried. “I’ll pay anything for them!”
“Your Majesty,” Don Giovanni said, “you do not have to pay for cats. We have many of them on our ship, and I will gladly give you a present of some; I am certain your pests will soon be gone.”
The King thanked the merchant, almost with tears in his eyes, and within an hour the merchant brought two fine cats; one, a black Tom as fierce as he was big, and the other a lovely tiger-striped lady cat who was famous for having many kittens and catching even more mice. The King and the islanders looked with awe and wonder at the two animals, for they had never seen cats before, and when they saw them set to work at once on the mice and rats, they were so overjoyed that they wanted to sing and dance.
The King was grateful from the bottom of his heart and wanted to prove this to the merchant, so he showered him and his crew with bales of spices and gleaming jewels, with sweet-smelling sandalwood and carved ivory, beautiful as a song.
When the merchant and his crew sailed home, they were so happy and contented that even the wind and waves knew it and led their vessel swiftly back to Venice. And the joy of Don Giovanni’s family was great when he reached home, and great was the excitement of his fellow merchants of Venice when they saw his royal cargo.
Don Giovanni met Don Cesare, his neighbour, before the golden church of San Marco, that treasury of beauty in the world. They spoke of this and that, about the journey and the trading, and then Don Giovanni told Don Cesare how he had traded the richest merchandise of all for just a pair of common cats. Don Cesare’s tongue nearly hung out with greed and envy when they parted. Thereafter, day and night, Don Cesare could think only of how Don Giovanni had gained a treasure by giving away two worthless cats that any Venetian would pay to get rid of. He had no peace, and he was more restless than a horse with a thorn in his side. Green jealousy and greed ate into him like fire in dry grass, until he could stand it no longer. He had to go to that island and bring back as big, if not a bigger, treasure than had Don Giovanni.
He fitted out a splendid ship filled with the best of goods, golden vessels, brocades, carved corals. With such gifts the generous King should give him twice – no, three times – as many riches as he had given Don Giovanni. Soon Don Cesare reached the island. He told the King he was a friend of Don Giovanni. The King received him with open arms, only too happy to welcome a friend of the man who, by his generous gift, had rid the island of the terrible pests.
Don Cesare told the King he, too, had brought him gifts – gifts much more valuable than those of Don Giovanni. Then he presented his gifts of golden cups and carved corals, rich brocades and gilded embroideries – the richest Venice could show to prove his friendship. Truly the emperor was overwhelmed by this show of unselfish generosity. He was a simple and an honest man, and appreciative as well, and he thought hard how he could repay the friendship shown by Don Cesare. Try as he would, he could think of nothing rich enough and fine enough. In the end he called together his counsellors to decide what to give to Don Cesare in return for the lavish presents, which, the King thought, Don Cesare had given out of the kindness of his heart.
Each elder had his say. In the end, one rich in wisdom arose and said, “Oh, King, this man from Venice has given to you and to us things that will be a joy to look at for years to come. Truly, we in our little island have no gifts to equal his. We could give him spices and perfumes and woods, but these are simple things growing freely in our land. They come and go every year. But there is one thing we possess now that is of great value in this world. . . .”
The King set a day for the great royal audience to present the merchant with his reward. All the counsellors came, and as many people as the room could hold, and then the merchant appeared before the King. He came with light steps and greedy thought, thinking of the riches he would reap now – riches that would surely be greater than those Don Giovanni had received. There were blowing of trumpets and beating of drums and many fol-de-rol speeches of friendship on the part of the merchant.
In the end the royal master said, “Don Cesare, you came to our land and gave me kindly gifts freely from the goodness of your heart. That is a fine thing for a man to do. And, as the saying goes, from seeds of goodness grow rich purple plums of goodness. I and my counsellors thought for a long time how to reward you properly for such unselfish generosity, and finally we decided on the most valuable gift we have.
“When my people and my land were in their greatest distress, a countryman of yours saved us by giving us a gift. It was a gift more precious than gold or diamonds or spices. We have been unable to think of anything more wonderful than the same gift for you. We know it will bring you the same joy and peace it has brought to us. Soldiers, bring the golden cage with the royal gift for Don Cesare!”
Then two soldiers came in with the golden cage in which two little kittens were playing in a way that was a joy to behold. The soldiers stopped with the cage before the merchant. The King smiled happily, as did the courtiers and the people. The merchant looked at the kittens, but he could not say a word, and when he saw everyone beaming and smiling at him, he had to smile, too – a smile that stretched from ear to ear. . . . Soon after he sailed homeward.
‘Zombie Cat’ Hit By Car and Buried, Comes Back 5 Days Later!
Bart the cat was hit by a car in Tampa, Florida on January 17 and thought to be dead by his owner in Florida. He was found in the street in a pool of blood and buried.
Five days later, he showed up in their neighbor’s yard very much alive.
“I saw him with my own eyes. I know he was dead. He was cold and stiff,” the neighbor told ABC News.
They took him to the vet after his “resurrection” (maybe they should have done this before burying him?) where he was treated for a broken jaw, open facial wounds and a ruined eye.
“We have seen many amazing cases at our full-service veterinary clinic,” wrote the Humane Society of Tampa on its website. “But this situation may take the cake!”
A GoFundMe page was set up by the neighbor to raise money for Bart’s medical costs. The Humane Society posted an updated on his condition on Facebook.
Bart The Miracle Cat has successful surgery! He was a brave boy and is now resting comfortably. He is spending the night with our good friends at Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency Service so he can be monitored. He will return to us in the morning and need a week or so to recover before going back home!
Note: This is old news, happened back in 2015… but still interesting!
Via The Daily What
Even the most common household cat has a mystique about it and the potential for the supernatural powers that man has ascribed to cats for thousands of years.
At various times, and in different places, it has been regarded as a holy or a diabolical beast, as a bringer of good fortune or as an omen of evil. In antiquity it was sacred to more than one divinity.
Artemis / Diana, the Goddess of the Hunt was associated with the cat, also notorious for its hunting skills. The followers of Diana revered cats because they were under her special protection, and because she once assumed that form. So too, in pagan Scandinavia, Freya, the goddess of love and fertility, was associated with them, her chariot was drawn by them.
Typically, in Western civilizations, the cat (particularly if it is black) belongs to the witch; it is her familiar, her companion and her alter ego. As such, the cat shares magickal secrets and arcane knowledge which, of course, she cannot explain to mere mortals, since they don’t speak her language. There is an unspoken communication between the witch and her grimalkin that transcends any language used by other creatures.
In the Saga or Eric the Red, there is a very complete description of a witch or prophetess that was a mistress of rune-craft, the art of reading the runes. Part of the description of her costume includes a hood “lined with white cat skin” and “cat-skin mittens.”
When it sleeps, the cat curls itself into a circle with its head touching its tail, making a shape that is very similar to the ouroboros. Like this ancient mythical creature, the cat is a symbol of immortality.
The Ancient Egyptians regarded the cat so highly that they revered it as a deity. The Egyptian Bast, or Pasht, was cat-headed and attended by cats, and consequently every member of the cat family was loved and venerated in ancient Egypt. To kill one was sacrilege. When a household pet died, its owner shaved off his eyebrows as a token of mourning and performed funeral rites for it.
Bast was the cat goddess, and mortal cats whose fur was of three different colors, or who had eyes of different shades were honored in particular for their Bast-like appearance; it is not just the black cat that holds power. Bast is often depicted with a knife in her paw, having beheaded Apophis, the enemy of the Sun.
Egyptian priests believed that cats carried the magnetic forces of nature and so close proximity to the creatures enabled them to access these powers. If a cat died a natural death in the home, the Egyptians would shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning.
It was in ancient Egypyt that the belief began that a black cat crossing your path brings good luck. The opposite tradition began in the Middle Ages in Europe.
Cats fared badly during the dark times of the Middle Ages because of the association between witches and cats. Black cats were believed to be witches in disguise. An alternative belief was that after seven years of service to a witch, a black cat would turn into a witch. Consequently, a black cat crossing your path was an indication of bad luck, as the devil was watching you.
The cat does not an honorable reputation in the Buddhist tradition either. Because it was absent at the physical death and spiritual liberation of the Buddha, it is viewed with suspicion as a base, earthly creature, lacking respect, which really should have been present at such an auspicious occasion. The only other creature that was not there was the serpent.
The link between the cat and the serpent comes in the Kabbalah, too, and also in Christianity; in pictures where the cat appears at the feet of Christ it carries the same negative imagery as the snake.
In Islam, cats are regarded favorably unless they are black, in which case they are viewed with great suspicion since djinn can transform themselves into black cats. Additionally, the magical powers of the cat are ambivalent, used either for or against man, this refers to the indifference with which a cat treats its prey.
In the Western tradition of cat lore, the animal has nine lives, whereas its Eastern cousin has to manage with only seven.
A Persian belief about the cat echoes the idea of the witch with her familiar. Some people are born with a hemzad, a spirit that accompanies the person throughout his or her life and takes the form of a cat. That its blood is particularly powerful for writing charms further underlines the universally “magical” nature of the cat.
In Africa, too, the clairvoyant powers of the animal are renowned, and so medicine bags made of cat skin are imbued with supernatural powers.
Interestingly, the cat is not in the Chinese Zodiac. One folktale explanation is that heard Buddha saw Cat playing with mice for fun and did not allow that kind of sin into the zodiac.
Another folk story tells that Cat and Rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although they were poor swimmers, they were both quite intelligent. To get to the meeting called by the Jade Emperor, they had to cross a river to reach the meeting place. The Jade Emperor had also decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal as they arrived to the meeting.
Cat and Rat decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of Ox. Ox, being naive and good-natured, agreed to carry them both across. Midway across the river, Rat pushed Cat into the water. Then as Ox neared the other side of the river, Rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first. So he claimed first place in the competition and the zodiac.
Borrowed from: Sigils Symbols and Signs
Egyptian priests believed that cats carried the magnetic forces of nature and so close proximity to the creatures enabled them to access these powers.
- Ruler: Bastet and/or Freya
- Type: animal
- Magickal Form: alive, whiskers, hair
This animal is the most common of the witches’ familiars. They are very sensitive to occult workings and wise in the ways of the goddess. In order to make the cat a familiar, it must taste the blood of the witch.
The correct way to do this is to let the cat become your familiar in his or her own time. You will know when this occurs, as he or she will take a good hard bite out of your hand, cheek, or leg and draw blood. Voila! You are now bonded for eternal life.
When a cat drops a whisker, place it on the altar for good luck. It is very bad luck to cut or pluck a whisker from a cat. Cat hair may be obtained by rubbing the back against the grain. Add the hairs to gamblers’ luck potions to increase your chances of winning.
- Black cats are very lucky indeed and you will be blessed when one crosses your path.
- Red cats and calico cats bring money.
- A Gray cat will protect you.
- A Siamese cat will bring laughter into your life.
Borrowed from: Magickal Ingredients
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