A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Why the Cat Lived Inside and the Dog Lived Outside

A tale from Ireland, retold with some minor alterations by Miss Cuddlywumps

Stock photo of gray tabby cat lying near a fireplace
The cat had it made, spending her days
warming herself by the fire.
Stock image by wip-studio, via Adobe Stock.

Once there was a cat.  Once there was a dog. The cat lived in a man’s house, where she liked to warm herself by the fire and play with fun little toys the man brought for her. The dog lived outside the house, in all kinds of weather—though he could go huddle in the barn to stay dry, so the cat really didn’t see what the big deal was.

Anyway, the dog wanted to be inside where it was always warm and dry, and on one particularly wet and miserable day, he told the cat, “You think you’re so smart, being in there all the time, but I’m going to ask the man whether I can be inside instead. Then you’ll be out in the barn, and we’ll see who’s smart.”

Stock photo of a dog wearing a yellow rain coat in a muddy field
The dog, meanwhile, had to stay outside. We're
pretty sure he didn't actually have a rain coat,
but we thought this picture was kind of cute.
Stock image by Sabine Schönfeld, via Adobe Stock.
Now, the man overheard this conversation (this being back in the time when humans listened to their fellow earthlings—though why a man who could converse with a dog would then leave the poor dog outside in the cold and wet is beyond me). The man wanted to decide the question of which animal should have the privilege of lying in front of the fire, and he proposed a race: The next morning, the cat and dog would start out five miles from the house, and whichever of them made it home first would be allowed to live inside. (Why they couldn’t both live inside is, again, beyond me. Purrsonally, I’d rather live with a dog than with a man who leaves one of his pets out in all sorts of weather. But I digress.)

Morning came, and the cat and dog started out on their race. As they ran for home (the story is curiously silent on how, exactly, they got five miles from home so they could race back, but again I digress), the dog pulled ahead of the cat, owing to his longer legs. Then, the dog came upon a beggar who, seeing this great shaggy beast bearing down on him, thought he was being attacked. Quite smartly, the beggar raised his walking stick and gave the dog a good whack, whereupon the dog got totally distracted and started barking at the beggar and generally making a big fuss.

Meanwhile, the cat ran right past this rather disgraceful scene and reached home long before the dog. When the dog finally returned to the house, it was to find the cat installed in her usual comfortable place in front of the fire. “Now,” she said to the dog, “we see who is smart, and we see who will rest before the fire forever.”

And there the cat has been ever since.

The end

And in the end, the cat wound up right back in front of the fire.
Stock image by wip-studio, via Adobe Stock.

This story has been adapted from the story "The Cat and the Dog" as it appeared in Frank de Caro (ed.), The Folktale Cat (Little Rock: August House, 1992), 32-33.

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