Villager J’s cat skipped after me today while I made my way to the tank in the middle of the village, to do the washing.
I like J’s cat, Charlie, he is a Siamese cross. He’s useless at catching mice. He doesn’t land on his feet. Fearless or stupid, I can’t quite make up my mind. Cute, sure.
I call him Charles the 4th, as an ode to his predecessors who all died untimely deaths. Charles the 1st was a lovely ginger cat who followed J’s wife everywhere she went, and often spend time in villager S’s shed, catching mice. One day he disappeared and never returned. I mentioned to villager J’s wife that people ought to stop putting poison down for the mice, that cats often died in that process too. She since blames villager S for killing Charles the 1st.
Charles the 2nd was brought in as a replacement shortly after Charles the 1st’s disappearance. It was a kitten. I took one look at it and said it would die. In a way this made me feel terrible, as if with those words I condemned it to death, but it had those eyes. Kittens with those eyes tend to die. When the next day I was informed that indeed Charles the 2nd had passed away they looked at me with slight suspicion, or maybe I merely imagined that.
I wasn’t going to pass my opinion on Charles the 3rd, but I looked at him long enough to conclude with some relief that at least he had healthy eyes.
Charles the 3rd made it into a young cat. He followed Villager J’s wife everywhere just as Charles the 1st used to do and was an excellent mice catcher.
He died more or less in my arms, while I screamed at the dog whose attentions now had been turned to villager S’s chickens. I had arrived too late for Charles the 3rd, but just in time to see him dragging himself into villager S’s shed with his broken back. I had been alerted by villager S’s hysterical yelling.
He was purring and his eyes had already misted over when I brought him to Villager J’s wife. It was one of those days where I hated the village and all the villagers with it.
Villager J’s wife told me it was no use to fall out with the dog’s owners over the death of her cat. I let it known anyway to anyone who wanted to listen that if it had been my cat it would have been an eye for an eye, a cat for a dog kind of situation. I didn’t mean that in the slightest. I liked the dog who killed Charles the 3rd, Toby, it wasn’t his fault, but I thought it was a suitable village reply. It seems to have worked. They’ve kept the dog tied up most of the time ever since.
Charles the 4th came from the petshop. They let it out of its box, and this gorgeous Siamese fluff ball clawed villager J’s granddaughter before disappearing into the pine forest.
I thought that it was probably a record. It wouldn’t stand a change. I told villager J and his wife I’d go and find it. The birds were indicating there was a cat around but it remained hidden under the undergrowth. I gave up when it was too dark. The day after I spotted it and stalked it, every time getting a bit closer, but he kept running off, undomesticated and unwilling. When I had finally managed to get within catching distance he clambered into the tree next to him.
I knew he’d survive with that skill. He went back to villager J’s house once his empty belly had gotten the better of him later that evening.
He’s grown into a lovely young cat and regularly comes to visit me. He’s the overenthusiastic toddler type who comes running up to you to tell you lots of stories and will always say hello to you.
I was just in time to chase the dog off last week.
I can only hope there won’t be a Charles the 5th anytime soon.