A Christmas Tail

Once upon a time there was a small striped cat. When she was first adopted she was so small that the family that adopted her called her “Mini-cat”.

Mini-cat was not a good or well-behaved cat. She rarely liked to be petted and would scratch and hiss at anyone who tried. She refused to learn to use a litter box and she would fight with the other cats of the house whenever they came near her. Because the family was good and kind, they only banished her to the basement where her habits could not damage much. She was still petted (when she would allow it) fed and kept warm and dry and comfortable.

One Christmas this family was given a turkey far too big for the small number of people they had. After they had all eaten as much as they reasonably could… and pressed as much as they were able on friends and neighbours… and taken quite a lot of meat off the bones to have as left-overs… there was still quite a lot of turkey, including both drumsticks. So the decision was reached that the cats of the house should share in the Christmas bounty and they were given the rest of the carcass… on newspaper, of course.

Now Mini-cat could not share in this because of her exile so, before it was set down for the cats, one of the drumsticks was taken off and taken down to her so that she would not be left out.

She loved it. She purred at it and chewed on it and growled at it. She would proudly display it to anyone who went down to the basement (it was quite as big as she was) and then growl to warn everyone to keep their hands off her turkey leg.

Time passed, as it does. The children grew up and had children of their own. Mini-cat died as even bad little cats eventually will and the family was sadder over it than perhaps she deserved. But every year, at some point during Christmas dinner, someone will say “Do you remember Mini-cat and her turkey leg?” and there is laughter and warm feeling all around the table. And, if there are any new children or new friends who have not heard the story, it is trotted out and retold. So even a mad bad little cat can be fondly remembered, even by those who never knew her, because she was loved.

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