Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/306

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248
ORIENTAL FABLES

to climb to the roof of her home, she was surprised to see another Cat, fat and sleek, walking along the wall of another house:

"Good morning, neighbour," she called out, "who are you, and how do you keep yourself so fine and sleek?"

The other Cat replied: "I am the Crumb-eater from the tray of the Sultan. Every day I attend the Sultan's banquet, and dine on morsels of rich meat and crumbs from the finest of white bread."

The old woman's Cat begged her new friend to take her to the Palace; and the neighbour-Cat, pitying her miserable condition, agreed to do so. The old woman, upon hearing of this arrangement, warned her Cat not to be deceived by outward appearances, but to be contented with what little she already had. But the Greedy Cat, already dreaming of the Sultan's rich meats and fine white bread, would not take the advice.

Now it happened that the Palace Cats, of which there were a great many, had lately begun to grow too bold and troublesome; and only the day before they had made a raid on the dining tables, with such a spitting and scratching and miauling as had greatly angered the Sultan, and disturbed his guests. So the Sultan directed that a company of archers with their bows and sharp arrows should be placed in hiding, with orders to shoot down every Cat that entered the dining-room. The old woman's Cat, knowing nothing of this, dashed into the hall as soon as it smelled the enticing odour of the rich meat and freshly baked bread. She dashed forward like a swooping Hawk, when a sharp arrow from an archer's bow was driven through her heart.

(From the Anvar-i Suhaili. or The Lights of Canopus.)