CHRISTOPHER CAT-LUMBUS, A GREAT EXPLORER

Once upon a time there was a great cat sailor, navigator and explorer named Christopher Catlumbus. Christopher had sailed to many lands and learned just about all there was to know about getting around on the world's oceans.

When he heard of a distant land where catnip grew abundantly, mice were slow and fat, and fish jumped from streams into your mouth, he determined to go there.

Of course he first had to find some funds to fit out ships for the journey. He went to King Furr-dinand and Queen Grizabella, saying "I will discover a land that will make your country rich, with catnip, mice and fish."

"Indeed," yawned King Furr-dinand, who didn't believe a word of it.

"Really?" said Queen Grizabella, who had a more open mind. She eventually pawned her jewelled collar to finance Catlumbus's trip and buy the three ships he needed. Soon the three ships -- the Fluffy, the Muffy and the Santa Purr-ia --were bought, filled with supplies and crewed with mariners. The sailors were all Wei-mariners -- strong, stubborn and canine.

Admiral Catlumbus called, "Westward ho!" and the three ships set off, sailing west to get to the lands of the Mystical East where the best catnip, mice and fish grew.

The Wei-mariners grumbled among themselves from the beginning. "Our captain is crazy," said one. "You don't get east by sailing west."

"Give him a chance," said one. "Maybe he knows what he's doing."

The others laughed loud, barking Wei-mariner laughs. "Are you kidding?" one snarled. "Knows what he's doing? He's a cat!"

Night and day they sailed onward, ever westward. "We shall fall off the edge of the world," howled the Wei-mariners. "We want to go home!"

"Never," shouted the dauntless Catlumbus. "We sail westward!"

"YOU sail westward," said the Wei-mariners as they mutinied and threw Catlumbus overboard. "We're going home."

Catlumbus treaded water gloomily as he watched the Fluffy, the Muffy and the Santa Purr-ia sail away. "Perhaps I was mistaken," he reflected, thoughtfully.

However, having no other plans at the moment, he cat-paddled, ever westward. He was helped by friendly dolphins who bumped him along with their bottle noses and even let him ride on their backs. He was careful not to use his claws to hold on.

"Do you guys know anything about the land of catnip, mice and fish?" he asked one.

"Sure, it's right over there, in the direction we're going," said the dolphin he was riding. "Hang on, I'll have you there in a moment."

The next thing Catlumbus knew, the dolphin dumped him on a beautiful, white sandy beach. He was not really too much the worse for the wear despite his time in the water. While he was wringing out his tail, Catlumbus notice some stirrings in the nearby shrubbery. Suddenly he was surrounded by a crowd of big, strong-looking wild cats.

"Hi, guys," said Catlumbus, in what he hoped was a friendly and non-threatening way.

"Rrrrrooowwwwwrrrrr!" yelled the wildcats in unison, grabbing Catlumbus and dragging him to their village. There, a huge wildcat, apparently their chief, stalked forward.The wildcats seemed to call this chief PowCattan.

"Oh, great Chief PowCattan," Catlumbus cried, "I come in peace for all cat-kind..."

PowCattan, looking bored and uninterested, gave the universally recognized claws-down sign. CatLumbus sighed. It had been a good life while it lasted. He had hoped it would last a bit longer, but...

The wild cats dragged him to a large stone nearby and placed his head on it. Chief PowCattan followed and picked up what looked like a very serious stone-bladed axe. CatLumbus could guess what would happen next. He squinched his eyes shut, as he hated the sight of blood, especially his own. But instead of an axe bashing down on his head, CatLumbus felt something soft, warm and sweet- smelling flopping down rather gently on his head. Indeed, it was someone, soft, warm and sweet-smelling. Opening his eyes, CatLumbus could make out a beautiful young girl wildcat. She addressed the angry-looking PowCattan in what CatLumbus later learned were these words:

"Oh, Daddy, please do not smash the head of this harmless, soggy, dripping, beautifully handsome cat. He is obviously an educated cat of the world, just what I have been looking for in husband material as compared to our local dopes. Think of the fine grandkittens you will have some day. I will teach him our ways, and I promise he will be good. Okay?"

Chief PowCattan, who could never say no to his dear daughter PoCatHuntas, sighed and looked at the sky. "Oh, all right," he said, tossing the axe away.

A great wedding feast was held, and next thing CatLumbus knew he was the spouse and partner of the most beautiful and lovable wildcat girl who had ever haunted his dreams. And yes, the land was rich with catnip, mice and fish. When he had learned the language, one day he and PoCatHuntas were sitting on a hill overlooking the ocean when she said to him, "I supposed you will get a message to your people now, so that they can come here and enjoy our land?"

"Are you kidding?" said Catlumbus. "They'd only ruin it."

The two cats curled up together, happily, in their beautiful, unspoiled land.

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This story is taken from a book, "Cats Rule the World...?" available HERE

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