The Two Cats
It is content that makes men rich; Mark this, ye avaricious, who traverse the world: He neither knows nor pays adoration to his God Who is dissatisfied with his condition and fortune.”
But the expected feast had taken such possession of poor puss’s imagination, that the medicinal counsel of the old woman was thrown away.
“The good advice of all the world is like wind in a cage, Or water in a sieve, when bestowed on the headstrong.”
To conclude: next day, accompanied by her companion, the half-starved cat hobbled to the Sultan’s palace. Before this unfortunate wretch came, as it is decreed that the covetous shall be disappointed, an extraordinary event had occurred, and, owing to her evil destiny, the water of disappointment was poured on the flame of her immature ambition. The case was this: a whole legion of cats had the day before surrounded the feast, and made so much noise that they disturbed the guests; and in consequence the Sultan had ordered that some archers armed with bows from Tartary should, on this day, be concealed, and that whatever cat advanced into the field of valour, covered with the shield of audacity, should, on eating the first morsel, be overtaken with their arrows. The old dame’s puss was not aware of this order. The moment the flavour of the viands reached her, she flew like an eagle to the place of her prey.
Scarcely had the weight of a mouthful been placed in the scale to balance her hunger, when a heart-dividing arrow pierced her breast.
A stream of blood rushed from the wound. She fled, in dread of death, after having exclaimed, “Should I escape from this terrific archer, I will be satisfied with my mouse and the miserable hut of my old mistress. My soul rejects the honey if accompanied by the sting. Content, with the most frugal fare, is preferable.”
The Fish and the Leopard's Wife; or, Why the Fish lives in the Water
Category: Nigerian folktales
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