When the Sun was a Cat

Once upon the beginning of all things the sun was a cat. It would mewl in the morning, then set to hunting across the sky, chasing the stars away and playing hide and seek amongst the clouds. Sometimes the moon would join in the fun, but it was slower and paler than the sun. The moon was a great silver river carp in those days, too big for the cat that was the sun to even think about eating.

And so, the days went on, with the cat running up the sky in the morning and then down again in the evening. On warm days the people could hear the cat purring as it rested from its games in the middle of the day, when it was warmest.

But as we know these days, from time to time at our cost, cats are curious creatures, and the cat that was the sun was no different. After many days and weeks and years of playing with the same clouds, chasing the same stars, and hunting in the same sky it became bored and began exploring the further edges of the sky and the places that only the great silver river carp swam.

After a little while the people saw that the cat that was the sun was spending less and less time running in their sky. The purring had almost stopped, and it seemed as if no sooner had it run to the top of the sky, that it wanted to run back down again.

The warm rains that had fed the ground and made the crops grow had become cold, and before too long the raindrops turned to snow, and the harvest began to fail. The sky grew dark, and the people began to shiver in their homes. They burned wood to keep warm while they waited for the cat to return.

The purring and mewling of the cat was replaced by the song of the wolf. In the sky the great silver river carp swam and swam, but its light was not enough to warm the earth, and the rains could not thaw the frozen river.

When at last the whole earth was covered in a deep white blanket, and the sky was thick and heavy with cloud, and the darkness lay everywhere the people despaired. Surely the cat that was the sun had died and the end of the world was here.

The fields had turned to stone and there was so little to eat that the people and their animals had become thin as grass.

Then one morning the people awoke to sunlight once again. The cat that was the sun had returned. It was weak from all its adventuring to other worlds and so it climbed slowly to the top of the sky, where it sat and purred for a little while before climbing back down again.

Every day after that, the cat spent a little more time at the top of the sky until it had regained all of its strength. It chased away the stars and it played hide and seek with the clouds once more, just as it had done before. The great silver river carp joined in the fun from time to time, but it faded as the cat that was the sun claimed more and more of the sky.

Weeks passed by and the crops grew again in the warm rain and the people were not hungry anymore. Their animals recovered, became fat and increased in number, and all was well for a time, until one day when the rain stopped falling and the rivers thinned.

The cat that was the sun lay across the sky from early morning until late at night, its purring becoming a deafening buzz. The air was so warm that the people hid from the sky and so they lay still, waiting for the cat to climb back down at last.

When after a little while, the rivers had dried up completely and the fields were once again turned to stone the people noticed that the cat had not awoken as early as the day before, and every day after that it became later and later.

The rains returned and the fields softened. The cops grew again, but now the people remembered how the cat that was the sun had abandoned them before and so they stored some of their harvest. They were right, as the cat became curious again, and again it went to roam across other worlds while the great silver river carp swam in circles.

After many years the cat that was the sun continued in the same way for so long that the people forgot that the sun was a cat. Their talking and song became so loud that they no longer heard the purring in the sky. But our cats on earth never forgot, which is why you will see them today on sun filled windowsills, wherever you are in the world, and they will be purring.

First published in Sapphire Sky Scribe Magazine

About 14thcenturypoet

Author of The Legend of Zonza, an historical fantasy based on traditional Italian folk tales...
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