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Main > Arabic folktales > Fairy tale "The Two Cats"

The Two Cats

The old dame’s cat requested to know what rich meat was, and what taste wheat-cakes had? “As for me,” she added, in a melancholy tone, “during my life I have neither eaten nor seen anything but the old woman’s gruel and the flesh of mice.” The other, smiling, said, “This accounts for the difficulty I find in distinguishing you from a spider. Your shape and stature is such as must make the whole generation of cats blush; and we must ever feel ashamed while you carry so miserable an appearance abroad.

You certainly have the ears and tail of a cat, But in other respects you are a complete spider.

Were you to see the Sultan’s palace, and to smell his delicious viands, most undoubtedly those withered bones would be restored; you would receive new life; you would come from behind the curtain of invisibility into the plane of observation—

When the perfume of his beloved passes over the tomb of a lover, Is it wonderful that his putrid bones should be re-animated?”

The old woman’s cat addressed the other in the most supplicating manner: “O my sister!” she exclaimed, “have I not the sacred claims of a neighbour upon you? are we not linked in the ties of kindred? What prevents your giving a proof of friendship, by taking me with you when next you visit the palace? Perhaps from your favour plenty may flow to me, and from your patronage I may attain dignity and honour.

Withdraw not from the friendship of the honourable; Abandon not the support of the elect.”

The heart of the Sultan’s crumb-eater was melted by this pathetic address; she promised her new friend should accompany her on the next visit to the palace. The latter, overjoyed, went down immediately from the terrace, and communicated every particular to the old woman, who addressed her with the following counsel:—

“Be not deceived, my dearest friend, with the worldly language you have listened to; abandon not your corner of content, for the cup of the covetous is only to be filled by the dust of the grave, and the eye of cupidity and hope can only be closed by the needle of mortality and the thread of fate.

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