The cat’s wisdom

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The Cat's Wisdom

Story by Robert Shaw | Illustrations by Deborah Blencowe

Drawing of MillieIn 2008, Library writers group member Robert decided to write a story as a Christmas present for Millie, his oldest niece. He chose to make it the start of an open ended series, so that for any future stories he wouldn’t be faced with the hurdle of starting from scratch, often the hardest part. Robert decided to play it safe, and use some of the classic plot devices, such as the mysterious stranger. Here is the introduction scene, in which Millie is not quite three:

The wise catLate one night, when everyone was sleeping, the Cat woke Millie up.

The Cat was not Millie’s cat; she did not have a cat. Her mum did not have a cat; her dad did not have a cat. Nobody in the house had a cat, and yet the Cat was there.

“You are my cat,” Millie said. “I will hug you, and stroke you and feed you.”

“No,” the Cat said. “I am not a tame cat.”

Millie was surprised, but she was a clever girl, so she knew what to do.

“Hello, Mr Cat,” Millie said, because that is how you talk to cats.

“Little Millie,” the Cat said, “How many billy goats gruff were there?” “One, two, three, Mr Cat,” Millie said, because she was a clever girl, and she remembered the stories her mum told.

Three billie goats gruff

“Little Millie,” the Cat said, “How many bears did Goldilocks see?” “One, two, three, Mr Cat,” Millie said, because she was a clever girl, and she remembered the stories her mum told.

Goldilocks and the three bears

“Little Millie,” the Cat said, “How many pigs built a house?” “One, two, three, Mr Cat,” Millie said, because she was a clever girl, and she remembered the stories her mum told.

Three little pigs“What I tell you three times is true,” the Cat said, because that is the way cats talk. “Three is special. Three times you may ask each question. Three times I will answer, and the third answer will be the truest of them all.”

“I don’t know what half that meant, Mr Cat.” Millie said, “but my dad will. He knows everything.”

“Your dad is as wise as a owl, Little Millie,” the Cat said, “but I am wiser.  Ask me a question.”

“Who are you, Mr Cat?” Millie asked.

“That is a good question but it is not the right question,” the Cat said.  “Ask me that again.”

“Who are you, Mr Cat?” Millie asked.

“I am the Cat,” the Cat said. “Ask me that again.”

“Who are you, Mr Cat?” Millie asked.

“I am silence and song and the raging of the storm. I am merriment and magic and mystery most profound. I am the gate and the key and the way beyond.” the Cat said, because that is the way cats talk.

“That was the third answer, and it was the truest of them all. Do not ask me again.”

“I don’t know what half that meant, Mr Cat,” Millie said, “but my dad will. He knows everything.” “Your dad is as wise as a owl, Little Millie,” the Cat said, “but I am wiser.  Look at the door.”

The open doorMillie looked at her bedroom door.

“Not that door, Little Millie,” the Cat said. “The other door.”

“My bedroom only has one door, Mr Cat,” Millie said.

“Look behind you, Little Millie,” the Cat said.

Millie looked behind her, and gasped in surprise.

“There is a door there now, Mr Cat,” Millie said. “It was not there before.”

“If I want a door, a door there will be,” the Cat said, because that is the way cats talk.

The Cat looked at the door and the door opened wide.

On the other side of the door, there was green grass under a bright blue sky, which was very strange because Millie’s bedroom was upstairs, and it was the middle of the night.

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