by Kattail Gomeow

The Cat and the Mouse had a Forbidden Love. How this came to be cannot be explained. There is no reason or logic to it, but one day Cat found himself nose to nose with Mouse and rather than hunger, he felt love. Mouse thought herself quite a practical girl, until she looked into Cat's eyes and knew she could love no other.

Understandably, this love was the source of much shame and derision in the Land of Cat. The other cats hounded him, mocked him, challenged him and many times Cat was only barely able to save his tiny bride from those who had once been his family.

"We must leave here, darling, for all my folk slaver to devour you and give me no rest by night or day."

So she crawled onto his back, snuggling deep into the ruff of his neck and they traveled to the Land of Mice.

The way was long and hard. When they arrived, Cat was famished. Unable to help himself, he fell upon the population until he was sated. The madness left him only after his belly was full.

"Those were my kin," Mouse wailed.

"Forgive me, dearest, but I am a Cat."

"Ah, well," she sighed, "we are a prolific breed and there will always be more of us."

They debated where they might go next. Where could they find a home where they might keep their Forbidden Love without danger or sorrow?

They set out again and eventually came to the Land of Men. They rested at a farm where Mouse noted that others of her kind raided the farmer's grain bin with impunity, for it seemed this farmer was lacking a cat.

It was she that hatched the clever plan. Cat was reluctant, fearing he might forget himself and do harm to his beloved, but Mouse showed such unwavering trust, that he agreed.

The next morning, as the Farmer and his Wife came outside for their chores, they were amazed to see Mouse scampering right across their toes. Quick on Mouse's heels came Cat, darting and turning until he pounced on Mouse and carried her off in his mouth.

As soon as they were alone, he set her down, inquiring anxiously. Mouse set about to groom herself.

"No harm done, my dear, except for needing a bath. Go see how you are received now."

The Farmer and his Wife praised Cat, gave him a bowl of milk and scratched him behind the ears.

From time to time, Cat made sure, after he caught the wild mice that inhabited the barn, to leave tidbits on the doorstep where the people would be sure to find them and heap more praise upon him. And if they witnessed Cat catching Mouse numerous times, they could not tell for all mice looked the same to them.

In this way, everyone (except the other mice) were content. Cat and Mouse played their games. Cat was revered, while Mouse grew fat on grain, and the people bragged their Cat was the greatest mouser in the land.

So they lived peacefully, if oddly, ever after.

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© Christy Marx
8 March 2002