It was the size of a small town. Clouds didn't hover above it as much as veer round it and it was at my dish eating my meal. Fortunately when I sank my teeth and claws in it's back leg to explain the obvious error the jaws couldn't reach me.
"Oscaaar, play nice" I heard.
"You really should control your animal Lady Julia" she was told by the angry owner.
Well no actually Madam. You should instruct your pet it is manners to wait to be invited to eat before ploughing into someone else's dishes. And furthermore, if it does so uninvited perhaps you should be exercising a little control. Lady Julia who you know is My 'The Her' is a lot more polite than I though and said nothing.
It's strange how many visitors bring their pets with them when they come to call. No-one would dream of taking a cat on a visit, not that we're pets of course, and not that we could actually be taken anywhere anyway.
It was this train of thought that led me to contemplate the differences between the races while I lay here avoiding the skywater this light. We cats, though once considered as Gods are the most easygoing of the races despite our demotion in the eyes of the world. Longlegs appear to be able to think, though they need a lot of feline guidance, while the rest are usually just pets or wild animals waiting to be made into pets by someone with more money than sense. We cats are superior in every way and yet we don't actually rule. That's probably because, and I hate to admit this, we're a little lazy sometimes. Don't misunderstand me though, the sight of us lying about with whiskers quivering isn't a sign of inactivity, just of our languid method of thinking.
Longlegs on the other hand seem to rule most everything else and spend an inordinate amount of time fighting each other to do so. Yet even as they fight each other there are still manners of a sort. Sometimes they allow time for each other to change their minds about actions before declaring open warfare on each other, whereas we cats act there and then to what happens instead of wasting valuable time, like in allowing our dishes to be emptied. Longlegs say " Stop eating from my dish or we are at war." Cats say "Stop eating out of my dish, grommmph."
On the boxes they keep in the corner of their rooms the Longlegs are currently at war again. I see it all the time at the Holimpics that people chase each other and try to outshine each other. Whereas the occasional "Would you like to go first" or "no, I don't mind if you jump into the water before me" might go a long way to stopping these situations getting out of control. It all boils down to manners and it's my thought that all young should be taught these. Cats don't really need them of course but it's good to set an example.
Now if you'll forgive me, I understand the Fursty Ferret has chicken today and I want to see if I can borrow some. That's manners see.
You could say I've had my up's and down's recently. Possibly you could say Pride Goeth before a Fall, though I really wouldn't recommend it since saying it could prove painful..
Faithful Old Ginger had stood on the gate to catch my attention, Gizmo lying at his feet until he did so. Since My 'The Her' was asking My 'The Him' why he couldn't stop the caterwauling he finally did and I was able to hear Ginger. Why My 'The Him' tries singing I don't know since everyone says the arrow of tunefulness missed it's mark by a mile when aimed at him.
I went out through the open clearway. The skywater had stopped and the light was just warming everything up. As I approached the gate Ginger jumped down on the other side next to Gizmo who now stirred himself and in an excited mew told me to hurry up and see what they'd found. Temporarily firgetting that I don't hurry for anyone, I jumped up onto the gate and over to join my friends. "So what have you found"? I asked.
"A big hole" Gizmo replied. "A well" said Ginger, "and we've not seen this one before".
I followed my friends through the village, letting them set a brisk pace so no-one else got there before us. Not that it really mattered to me if they did since wells aren't something I especially claim an interest in. We reached the Church and all in turn jumped over the stile and headed for the path. Ginger and Gizmo walked on the grass beside the path on either side of me who sauntered gently along it. At least I did at first because you will remember the Church path is very steep and it had been collecting a lot of skywater . Though most of it had run away along the sides , some had remained in the soil. My feet were becoming quite muddy and I was starting to slip and slide.
Eventually we reached a point where the slip and slide couldn't be stopped and my body picked up speed. "Hey, wait for us" called Ginger rushing along beside me.
"Sorry Ginger, I'm just so interested in seeing your well" I said rather than admit I had no choice since even putting my front paws down hadn't slowed me. On I went gathering speed and leaving my companions behind until my forward motion was checked suddenly and my feet felt nothing. I was just congratulating myself when my motion took a different turn, downwards. Judging by the bricks I could see before me I guessed I had now found the well.
The journey downwards took a long time it seemed and when the landing finally came, fortunately for me in water, the light seemed a long way away. I heard Gizmo call "Are you alright Oscar?" to which I replied as nonchalantly as possible, having just lost at least one more of my nine lives "Yes, thanks Gizmo. Just wanted to see if there's anything interesting down here. There isn't so you can help me out as soon as you like."
There was a lot of muttering from above until Ginger finally leaned over and said " We have no way of helping Oscar. Gizmo will have to go and find a Longlegs to help." I told him "Not one of my Longlegs please" but Gizmo had already gone.
Time passed with Ginger asking me what I could see down there until I finally convinced him that he had the light up there and down here it was still dark time. Soon enough I heard voices.
"Sorry Vicar" said one I recognised as My 'The Him' this damned cat seemed to be wanting me to follow so I did. I was just going to show Mellor's where to plant my rhubarb too."
"Interesting "said the Vicar, "I thought he'd be the one to know the right spot since I gather he did a lot of planting with Lady C."
Hello, I thought, I'm down here waiting..........
The Vicar stuck his head over the edge of the well. "My word, there's a cat stuck down the My Lord, and I think it's yours."
Joining the Vicar in blocking out what little light there was came My 'The Him' and stating the obvious said "Yes, that's Oscar, in trouble again I see."
The heads disappeared for a moment then I heard the Vicar call out to his verger "Hoskins, be a good chap and bring me a rope and a bucket." then turning to My 'The Him' said "They only found this well yesterday, I think it dates from before the civil war and I wanted to see if there were any marking on the wall to date it. Maybe it could be brought back into service, even as a wishing well for the children."
"Interesting Vicar " said My 'The Him' "but I don't think it's that old since there were no buildings here then. I'd say Victorian."
I let out a mew to remind then I was there and they shut up. Just at that moment Hoskins returned with the rope and bucket. In short order they had the bucket on it's way down to me and I was able to stop pedalling water long enough to climb in. In less than a minute I was back on dry land and able to say thank you to my saviour. "Well done Gizmo" I said "I'm very grateful. I entwined myself round the ankles of the Vicar and of My 'The Him' as a small thank you for the part they'd played but My 'The Him' jumped back saying "Oh no Oscar. You're not sending me down there.Back away."
I did so reluctantly.
Later on, back at home safely I cringed when My 'The Her' saw me and started singing, "Ding, Dong, Dell, pussy's in the well."
I tried to tell 'The Him' that he was right as coming up in the bucket I'd seen scrawled on one brick in the well, Joe Bloggs woz ere 1839, but as usual he didn't understand me.
First of all I want to get things clear. If I'm to tell you my story you have to promise not to repeat it. It's not that I really did anything wrong, it just that there may be some misunderstandings and though the Longlegs are here to serve, I'm well aware they do provide some food. Not that I can't get my own you understand, but perhaps not the same variety. Mouse gets a bit boring after a time and frogs taste awful.
So, I was around at early light time enjoying a snack after a hard dark time getting comfortable. My 'The Him' and My 'The Her' came through to where I was and told me to behave today ! I know, it was really cheeky but sometimes you have to let some things pass. They told me they were going out and would be back later. Since I let them come and go as they like ( not like some owners who follow their Longlegs everywhere), I raised an eyebrow in goodbye. Well, I was busy eating wasn't I. After they left I finished eating and went to have a short nap. That's always fun since I can pick and choose where I go. This time I settled on going to My 'The Him's' sleeping place and napping on his nightskin. The smell is sometimes strangely comforting.
Rousing myself from the nap later I found myself still alone. Being fearless I decided to make sure the property was safe by checking each room. Most of them seemed OK and with just two left to do I went into their sitting place. On the arm of her seat I spied a bag of the odd colourful things she likes to eat. They're very small and round and very very light. I haven't tried one but they did look interesting and I wanted to make sue no-one had touched them while she was out. There may be peace between those rodents and I for now, but I don't trust them. Anyway, as I pulled at the top of the bag to open it the bag tore a bit and quite a few fell out. They were all over the floor. I picked one up with my teeth and they felt strange and tasted a little funny. I think she'll be grateful I threw some way when she gets back.
The last room was the food/eating room. I glanced round but it looked like there was no food left open. I couldn't smell anything anyway. They had probably put it in the white box that blows cold over food. Shame as I would have checked that there was nothing gone off for them. My glance round the room told me something wasn't quite as usual but I couldn't place it at first. I decided to look a second time more carefully and there it was. The box that has the fish in it was open at the top. Well part of it anyway. Whoever had given them their food ( fancy eating flake) had left it open. I thought that might prove dangerous so I decided there and then to close it. Up I jumped with the balletic poise with which I'm gifted. On to the side of the sink, across the place the water drains off their cups and a quick jump up onto the box. I know you can see through all sides of the box but it was strange to see them from up top. I decided to watch them for a minute and leave the top open. here we're quite a few fish in there and they came in all shapes and colours. One in particular was quite big and a very bright colour was swimming very near the surface. You don't get a clear idea of the fin from above so I just put my hand down to try and turn it over for a small time. I suppose I moved quite fast because I know the fish are fast. My paw missed but the water splashed and it was funny seeing the fish all dart away. As the big fish edged back towards me I repeated the move but this time my paw caught it. Instead of turning it over I must have jerked my arm back in shock and the fish came out at great speed, left my paw and flew across the room to land on the floor at the far side. It flopped for a small time then lay still.
It was at this stage I knew I'd never be able to get it back up here to the box. Being a thinker I decided to leave it alone until My 'The Her' arrived back and she could do it for me. I decided to get back down from the box and head off to take a quick nap. Before I did so I remembered why I'd got up in the first place and shut the lid with my paw.
It was a short time later they returned and I heard as My 'The Him' entered that room,
"Julia, one of your fish has learned to fly. I'm afraid it's dead. How strange, I've known fish jump out of an open tank before though never so far, but this is very strange since the tank is closed."
"That is strange David" she replied. "you fed them this morning, it must have jumped out while you had the lid open."
" That's all I can think of too darling. Don't worry, I'll buy you a new one to replace it."
So a lesson has been learned today. If someone tells me to behave when I don't need to be told, they end up getting paid back for it. And they're so silly as to think there are flying fish like birds. Sometimes I despair of Longlegs.
For once I have to admit what happened was my own fault. I'd been catnapping most of the bright time and only realised I hadn't been out to take my exercise until the dark time had almost come. I roused myself, stretched and wandered through to see what I'd been given to eat. It was beef, and though I normally enjoy beef it just wasn' t what I wanted today. So I wandered in to say hello to my 'The Him' and My 'The Her' and perhaps show him a little of my displeasure that the meal I wanted wasn't there. As it happened hey were in the eating room and doing just that. It was chicken and I could smell the aroma as it tickled my nose.
My 'The Her' held a piece of chicken below the table for me to take. I did and it was delicious. She is very kind like that.My 'The Him' hadn't noticed so I sat beside him looking up to see what he'd do. After telling me to stop staring which I ignored, he finally passed a small piece of chicken down. I forgave him for the beef and wishing them both well decided to go out for a stroll. My usual clearway was open and I hopped up to the sill and out into the garden.
Everywhere seemed quiet and none of the usual gang seemed to be around. I decided to visit the village and see what was going on. I'd gone as far as the Fursty Ferret before I spotted signs of life. I knew there were Longlegs inside as I could hear them but had no way of getting in since the clearways were all closed. But, round near the back there was a hole in the ground. Close by stood a wagon with two great big horses to pull it. A Longlegs was taking large barrels from it and rolling them down a slope in the hole. It looked interesting. While he was looking away I decided to investigate. There were four barrels lying in a row at the bottom of the hole and I nearly lost my tail as another one came clattering down behind me. Then all of a sudden the hole was no more. It was closed.
As I moved to look around the room I was in I saw other barrels and crates of bottles stacked up. One of the barrels was dripping brown water and as I was a little thirsty I lapped at it. What a strange taste. Still, I lapped until my thirst was gone. I carried on looking around but all of a sudden my legs did not work properly. Knowing I'd been poisoned I made myself be sick then lay down to rest. I must have nodded off because I was suddenly awoken by the sound of a door squeaking. Feet appeared at the top of some steps I hadn't noticed and started descending. At the bottom one stood in my sickness and slipped, "What the....." I heard as a female Longlegs landed on her bottom beside me. I jumped up in case she landed on me and she screamed. Realising I was not a monster she said "Why you......." which I didn't stop to hear her finish. Up the steps I ran and through into a room full of the Longlegs I'd heard earlier. They all turned their heads in my direction. Not wishing to be rude I greeted them and as one stood up to leave and opened the clearway I bolted through the gap between his legs. I think I was lucky not to bounce off him as my legs were still not working perfectly.
I went home. That was enough exercise for me today. I slept and woke up to find my head hurt but my legs were working fine again. From now on I decided, I'll only drink water that is clear.
I'm not quite sure what Ginger means when he says of me "Would you buy a used chariot from this cat". Everyone knows I'm the very definition of probity. I confess there are times it pays to bend the hard angles of truth a little or exaggerate slightly but that's about it. I do after all have a reputation to uphold. To prove it I'm going to share a little secret but if it should get back to Ginger or one of the others I'll know where it came from. I've been a bit down in the dumps . Only three of the rodents came out to be fed yesterday morning. My 'The Him' does it religiously every morning AFTER he's fed me of course. He issues them cornflakes and then toast. It's actually quite funny to see them trying to pinch the cornflakes off each other or drag his fingers into the cage as their next course. I noticed just three of them on the cornflakes and thought it odd but expected number four out when the toast arrived as they love the butter.It just didn't seem right that he's cut four pieces of crust and yet only three of them were there to eat.
What's most odd about this situation is that the missing one is Penny, the one who causes me most trouble. I even went to the trouble of trying to wake My 'The Her' though if an oaf like HIM can't do it how could I? Anyway, eventually he got her up and she came through. Always following their food My'The Her' has them out to play two at a time which is usually the time for me to show discretion and retire to doze or perhaps eat. Penny is always first out and out longest. It wasn't looking good. But, she put her hand in the cage and picked up Penny's house and brought it out then went back for Amy who is their chief negotiator of the current truce. Penny came out of her house when Amy was placed on the long seat they run about on. She was definitely sluggish and seemed to be coughing as though she wanted to be sick. ( Rats can't be sick. Just thought I'd impart a little knowledge). That lasted a few minutes until finally she jumped up and ran up the back of the seat and buried herself in the throw that's kept there. Since she didn't seem to want to move she was put back in her house and the house placed back in the cage.
I was out all day with the gang. We were in the woods since it was water from the sky time again. This is the time the Longlegs laughingly call Summer so perhaps the water was expected as it's done little else for ages. When I came back home to eat, the rodents were back in their cage ( where they belong to my mind) so I thought no more of Penny until dark time. That's the time they rouse a little again and sometimes come out to play again. There was no Penny coming out and I remembered she seemed ill. Again My 'The Her' put her hand in and brought Penny out. She just lay there being stroked and things just don't seem right. She had to go back in early and everyone seemed subdued taking the whole sparkle out of the day.
Today it's too early for their breakfast and playtime so I'm worried about what will happen when the cornflakes arrive. Two days without trading insults is just too much.
So now you know a secret and that I've shared a truth. But, don't misunderstand me, if you tell anyone I'll say you're lying and my record of probity will stand me in good stead. After all, you've never heard me tell fibs on my blog yet..........Have you ?