A Ukrainian folktale retold, with slight embellishments, by Miss Cuddlywumps
Many centuries ago, a king issued a decree that made it a crime for people to bother dogs. He presented this decree to the dogs themselves, which was a big mistake because, being dogs, they were not very bright and didn’t know what they should do with it.
Fortunately for them, there were some cats around who selflessly volunteered to store the decree in a safe place. The dogs handed the precious document over, and the cats went to great trouble to secret it away in one of those hidden little nooks that only cats can find or get into.
Everyone was happy until one spring day when some dogcatchers came along and started capturing supposedly innocent dogs and taking them away. The dogs protested and reminded the dogcatchers of their special decree. Wisely not taking the dogs at their word, the dogcatchers demanded to see the decree, and so the dogs ran to the cats and, without even saying please, told the cats to bring the paper out of hiding.
So the kind, helpful cats went off to find the cleverly hidden decree, but when they got to the hiding place, they discovered that some treacherous mice had chewed it all to bits. When they reported this sad fact to the dogs, the dogs lost their heads (metaphorically) and chased the cats, whereupon the cats turned and chased the treacherous, sniveling little mice.
All this chasing continues to this very day.
Also to this very day, a wise cat will never
(a) do a favor for a dog, or
This story is adapted from a tale found in The Folktale Cat, edited by Frank de Caro (Little Rock, AR: 1992).
Image © Pavoukamoucha | Dreamstime.com - SeamlessPattern Made Of Dogs, Cats And Mice In Four Shades. Photo