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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

a true (?) tale of a brave war kitten

From The Ladies' Repository: A Religious and Literary Monthly for the Home, July 1861, article "Zouaves and their Pets," p. 99. Zouaves were a certain group of French infantry soliders in the 19th century; more on them here. The battle at Sebastapol was one of the savage battles of the Crimean War.

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A very touching incident. . . is related by Mons. B. P. Dumas, the French soldier and writer, in one of his touching letters from the camp of Sebastopol, and it furnished one of the few pleasant episodes in that fearful war of the Orient.

"Do you wish," he inquires, "that I should amuse you for a moment, by relating the story of a little animal, worthy to figure among the celebrities of its species ? A Zouave had a kitten of which he was extremely fond. He had brought it from Africa, perhaps from France, perhaps from the paternal hearthstone. Be it as it may, the kitten had become the inseparable companion of the joyous soldier. In his hours of repose, the kitten slept by the side of its master. At his meal-times, the kitten received exactly its rations, subtracted from his own dish; and during marches it rode upon the knapsack of the trooper, whose patient and unwearied submission to the burden, it repaid by a thousand playful frolics when they came to a halt.

"There came for the master a day of battle. Hia regiment was to face the Russians at Alma. The bugle sounded, the Zouave ran to arms and placed himself in the line: the kitten was at its post. The cannons poured their grape-shot into the Zouave ranks, but the kitten was not dismayed. The melee commenced; the soldier precipitated himself upon the enemy; he ran, he leaped, he threw himself upon the ground to avoid the bursting of a shell; he sprang again to his feet; he stooped, he performed all the evolutions of his drill, loading and firing and fighting like a lion; and still the little creature held bravely on.
At last a bullet struck the Zouave and he fell bathed in his own blood. In an instant the kitten ran, to the wounded spot, looked at it a minute, and then, tearing away the garment, which partly covered it, began gently to lick the wound. It staunched the blood, and by its peculiar manipulations, prevented the wound from becoming inflamed, until the surgeons had time to examine and dress it. The incident soon became known, and when the master was transported to the hospital at Constantinople, they made an exception to the invariable rule of the hospital, and admitted the little companion with its master. Both are now there, the young soldier, fast recovering, and the brave kitten, quite the lion of the institution."

1 comment:

Everycat said...

I believe every word of it. Brave war kittens should abound in every walk of life.

Major W. Wuudler