Why The Cat Always Falls Upon Her Feet





Some magicians are cruel, but others are gentle and good to all the

creatures of the earth. One of these good magicians was one day

traveling in a great forest. The sun rose high in the heavens, and he

lay down at the foot of a tree. Soft, green moss grew all about him. The

sun shining through the leaves made flecks of light and shadow upon the

earth. He heard the song of the bird and the lazy buzz of the wasp. The

wind rustled the leafy boughs above him. All the music of the forest

lulled him to slumber, and he closed his eyes.



As the magician lay asleep, a great serpent came softly from the

thicket. It lifted high its shining crest and saw the man at the foot of

the tree. "I will kill him!" it hissed. "I could have eaten that cat

last night if he had not called, 'Watch, little cat, watch!' I will kill

him, I will kill him!"



Closer and closer the deadly serpent moved. The magician stirred in his

sleep. "Watch, little cat, watch!" he said softly. The serpent drew

back, but the magician's eyes were shut, and it went closer. It hissed

its war-cry. The sleeping magician did not move. The serpent was upon

him--no, far up in the high branches of the tree above his head the

little cat lay hidden. She had seen the serpent when it came from the

thicket.



She watched it as it went closer and closer to the sleeping man, and she

heard it hiss its war-cry. The little cat's body quivered with anger and

with fear, for she was so little and the serpent was so big. "The

magician was very good to me," she thought, and she leaped down upon the

serpent.



Oh, how angry the serpent was! It hissed, and the flames shot from its

eyes. It struck wildly at the brave little cat, but now the cat had no

fear. Again and again she leaped upon the serpent's head, and at last

the creature lay dead beside the sleeping man whom it had wished to

kill.



When the magician awoke, the little cat lay on the earth, and not far

away was the dead serpent. He knew at once what the cat had done, and he

said, "Little cat, what can I do to show you honor for your brave fight?

Your eyes are quick to see, and your ears are quick to hear. You can run

very swiftly. I know what I can do for you. You shall be known over the

earth as the friend of man, and you shall always have a home in the

home of man. And one thing more, little cat: you leaped from the high

tree to kill the deadly serpent, and now as long as you live, you shall

leap where you will, and you shall always fall upon your feet."





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