by Sr. Miriam (Mairead) O’Quigley MMM (1917 – 2003) Ireland/Tanzania 29.12.2023
A long time ago, cats did not live in our houses as they do now. They lived in the forest or in the bush. Then…
Once upon a time, a cat, a wise one, became the friend of a rabbit. They walked together and the cat was astonished at the cleverness of his friend. But one day a duiker antelope fought with the rabbit and killed it with his horn.
Now that his friend had died, the cat followed this duiker. Presently the duiker was killed by the leopard. The cat then thought he had better follow the latter. Not many days afterwards, they met a lion. The lion fought with the leopard and killed him. Now the poor cat made friends with the lion and they journeyed on together until one day they met a troop of elephants. A big male elephant fought with the lion until he killed him.
The cat thought in his heart, “I will make friends with a big animal like this one, for there is none that can conquer him.” But his trouble was not over yet. One day came a hunter who shot the elephant with poisoned arrows. The elephant died.
Now, this time the cat did not know what to do, never having seen an animal walking on two legs like this one, and he thought and thought, “If this fellow is able to kill a great big animal like an elephant, it is best to be friends with him that I may live in safety.”
So, he followed this hunter to his home and lay outside in a lean-to shed.
It was not long before he saw his brave man running away, routed by his wife, who was beating him with a pot-stick. And the cat said, “Now I know who surpasses and is the greatest of all – it is the woman.”
Since then, the cat has stayed at home with the woman, for it is she who rules.
Editor’s comment: This story is a little too violent for my liking but ended well. It also explains why my cat used to put its nose in the air and wandered off with distain. Basically he, too, didn’t like violence…)