Mkaaah Jeechonee, the Boy Hunter
Sultan Maaj′noon had seven sons and a big cat, of all of whom he was very proud.
Everything went well until one day the cat went and caught a calf. When they told the sultan he said, “Well, the cat is mine, and the calf is mine.” So they said, “Oh, all right, master,” and let the matter drop.
A few days later the cat caught a goat; and when they told the sultan he said, “The cat is mine, and the goat is mine;” and so that settled it again.
Two days more passed, and the cat caught a cow. They told the sultan, and he shut them up with “My cat, and my cow.”
After another two days the cat caught a donkey; same result.
Next it caught a horse; same result.
The next victim was a camel; and when they told the sultan he said: “What’s the matter with you folks? It was my cat, and my camel. I believe you don’t like my cat, and want it killed, bringing me tales about it every day. Let it eat whatever it wants to.”
In a very short time it caught a child, and then a full-grown man; but each time the sultan remarked that both the cat and its victim were his, and thought no more of it.
Meantime the cat grew bolder, and hung around a low, open place near the town, pouncing on people going for water, or animals out at pasture, and eating them.
At last some of the people plucked up courage; and, going to the sultan, said: “How is this, master? As you are our sultan you are our protector,—or ought to be,—yet you have allowed this cat to do as it pleases, and now it lives just out of town there, and kills everything living that goes that way, while at night it comes into town and does the same thing. Now, what on earth are we to do?”
But Maajnoon only replied: “I really believe you hate my cat. I suppose you want me to kill it; but I shall do no such thing. Everything it eats is mine.”
Of course the folks were astonished at this result of the interview, and, as no one dared to kill the cat, they all had to remove from the vicinity where it lived. But this did not mend matters, because, when it found no one came that way, it shifted its quarters likewise.