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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 !

Sunday, October 06, 2013

never leave a kitten to do a cat's job: a persian story

From a 14th-century Persian collection of stories known as the Tutinama,or "Tales of A Parrot."
* * *
The old Lion and the Cat, who having killed the Mice, was turned out of office.

. . . In a desert dwelt a Lion, who was very old and decrepit, so that from his age his teeth were decayed; whenever he ate, shreds of meat stuck in them: and there being many mice in that desert, when the lion went to sleep, the mice picked the shreds of meat out of his teeth, whereby his rest was disturbed. The lion consulted other animals, who were his courtiers, in what manner to drive away the mice. A fox said, "There is a cat, who is your subject; order her to keep watch here all night. The lion approved of the fox's advice, and sent for the cat; and when she came, he appointed her to the office of cutwal (chief police officer - curator). The cat performed the duty of centinel (sic). When the mice saw the cat, they decamped. The lion slept at his ease, nothing happening to disturb his repose. The lion shewed great kindness to the cat, and increased her rank. The cat frightened the mice, but never killed any of them, thinking to herself, "If I should destroy the mice, the lion, having no further occasion for me, will deprive me of my office." 
One day she brought her kitten to the lion, and said, I want to go today to a place on business; if you will permit it, I will go and bring my kitten in my stead, and return to-morrow to wait on you. The lion granted his assent. The cat, having left the kitten there, went herself to another place.-—The kitten killed all the mice she saw, and in one day and night they were all destroyed. The next day the cat arrived and saw the mice lying dead. She reprimanded her kitten, "What have you done? why have you killed the mice?" The kitten said, "Why did not you speak to me at the time of your departure, and forbid me to kill the mice?" In short they both repented. After some days the lion dismissed the cat, and deprived her of the office of cutwal.

The Tooti Nameh: or tales of a parrot in the Persian language: with an English translation, Diya ad-Din Nahsabi (London:  reprinted for J. Debrett, Piccadilly, 1801), pp. 76-8

1 comment:

parlance said...

Just goes to show you can never trust these young go-getters. Always too ambitious and you never know whether they'll take your job.