Little Púisín (Children’s story)

 

          How do the cows now when to come home? How does a dog get the sheep to settle down? Because they can speak! Animals speak their own languages and just like any other language we could learn it. We think that they are thick and dumb animals. But its not tough to see the truth really – and I don’t really think that they are the thick ones!


          This is a story about a cat. Now cats are always sly creatures but this cat was clever as well. He was a small cat and a lazy cat. A cat with the name of Púisín. He lived in a bungalow with his small family – a little girl and two boys as well as the parents. This house was by the sea in a small town.


          Every morning when the kids were getting ready for school the small cat would wake up slowly. He’d go out from his room, the girl’s room, down to the kitchen and there he would eat his breakfast. But he only ate well every second morning, well in his own opinion anyway. One morning they would give him chicken; another fish. And it was the fish that he really couldn’t stand!


          This day when he went outside after his breakfast of fish he started to talk to his friends in the street – Ginger, Duibhín, Fish-Bone, White Stripe. White Stripe was a young cat who was always jumping about and skittering around the ground with a piece of twine or a little ball. Fish-bone and his muddy coat was always in the trash moseying about for a fish head or the like. Duibhín would be as often as not sleeping in the corner or falling asleep in the corner! It was Ginger that was the real leader of the little group and it was he that was the oldest and wisest of the group. Púisín always was jumping from idea to idea never settling. To be honest he always had too many ideas and energy to settle down on any one thing in his head. He spent too much time in his own thoughts, his own magics!


          Púisín was giving out this time.
          “It’s not right that I have to eat that rubbish. I don’t even like fish! It’s disgusting”
          “Well then give it to me,” Fish-Bone called out to him.


          But Púisín had a home and food and easily forgot that others may have needed or even been more glad of simple things then he would have been. So obviously he wasn’t very happy with that idea. It was the food that Fish-Bone preferred as well! Púisín merely grimaced and looked away in embarrassment.


          “There isn’t much you can in any case, so eat it and stop giving me a headache with your whinging,” Ginger said to him. “Exactly as h-”, Duibhín started but fell asleep in the middle of his sentence.


          Púisín left; he was eager to think of his problem. He hadno idea of caving in quite so easily. He spent the entire rest of his day thinking on a plan to save him from the dreaded fish but any and every scheme he could come up with was definitely impossible to carry out – he couldn’t reach the cans to throw them out and he was too greedy to just not eat the fish and go hungry.


          When the kids came home he listened to them to work on his problem, maybe find some inspiration from them. But then his mind lit up – he was on the right track! But instead of him listening they had to. He had to communicate with them. If the kids could be made to understand him they would give him the right food! Proper food for a proper cat.


          And so he spent a good while with them. He had decided to try and speak. He was familiar with our language but not to speak it. He ran round them trying out the word hello…


          “Mwheach.”
          “Mrella.”
          “Wrea.”

          After three hours of trying he stopped with a painful throat. The shape and size of his throat simply made it impossible for him to speak our language. He went to sleep depressed and upset that he had failed so badly. The following morning he woke up suddenly. He ran into the kitchen and started to push against the foot of the girl to make him breakfast – speaking was a hungry job he had found out – and maybe even a little drip of milk – his throat was still sore from the efforts the day before.


          However herself was still doing her homework – without Mam knowing. And because of that she whispered back to him, “Not now Púisín, I am too busy writing out my homework!” Upon hearing these words Púisín ran off – he had had an idea. He would write!


          When Róisín, the little girl, was called off by Mam Púis stole the pen and the copy she had been using from her. He ran off a little pieace and began to practice with the pen in his mouth. Pretty quickly with all the wet saliva running down the pen he ruined the copybook and all the work within it. He picked it up and ran outside with it, the wet drooling mess falling from his mouth, there was nothing left between the pages but a small pile of paper. He made sure to get out before Róisín came back.


          At that moment there was nothing else he could do in the house so after throwing the copy away he ran out to his friends and he practiced writing letters from the back of empty packets of sweets onto pieces of scrap cardboard with Róisín’s pen. After a while Stripe stopped looking at him – he was too boring, he was waiting in one place the entire time! After a while Ginger was finished with his own family and he walked out slowly into the yard with his friends and without any fuss he lay down on a piece of paper that had been left in a ball on the ground.


          By now Duibhín had been outside for a good while – but he was asleep! Or rather had been because also at this time, he moved; beneath the sheet of paper, beneath Ginger. Ginger started to splutter – his dignity was injured. Stripe jumped up onto a box and was skipping about behind Púis – Bone was playing about with a few cans as usual – eating!


          After an hour of Púisín practising his writing Ginger started to look at him, noticing how quiet the kitten was.


          “Púisín, my dear small cat, what in all mice’s name are you thinking of doing?”
          “Writing!”, he replied to Ginger, proud in his voice.
          “You are only a cat – you can’t!”, Ginger replied back to him in turn.
          “We will see! I am able to write this!” and he showed them his work.
          “Púis stop this – if your family find out what you can do… And think on this what will happen if something goes wrong?”
          “Nothing will!”, Púisín shouted angrily at him!
          “In God’s name don’t write…”, but Púisín wasn’t listening!

          Later on he grabbed a can from Bone and started to copy out the letters on it in the pattern they made. Bone had grabbed a bag of rubbish in the morning so he had his own choice in scraps – that was how Púisín thought – he had had a can in his mouth and, because it was Fish-Bone, it had to have been a can of fish. For the first time ever Bone did not argue with him! Púisín did not stop practising at all that day but spent his whole day writing.


          That evening when Mam came into the kitchen with his can of food Púisín came in with a scrap of card and a marker. He started to write in front of the entire family. When he was finished the family was exploding with happiness and pride. After that he drew a line carefully through the word – to show that he didn’t like what they were feeding him, And they definitely understood him because Mam on that very point came out with another, a different can; the one that Púisín had said he liked.


          Looking in the window sat Fish-Bone with a grin on his face and Púisín’s practice can in his mouth. He was eager to watch “Púisín’s” trick. The can fell from his mouth to the ground. Inside in the house Púisín stopped eating quickly; he wasn’t the only cat that could play a trick.


          Out in the garden the can rolled in the wind. “Chicken” was written on it!

 

Caoimhín

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