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Back to Mongolian animal tales. It’s been way too long. And this one is an epespcially interesting one.

The Cat Who Pretended To Be A Lama

A long time ago there was a lama, a Buddhist monk, who spent his time in deep meditation. Next to him there lay a cat. One day the cat stole the lama’s snuff bottle and the lama went after the cat and got his snuff bottle back. Then another time the cat stole the lama’s rosary and hid in a hole. When the lama grabbed the cat by the tail, the tail suddenly got torn off.

not a Mongolian snuff-bottle but close enough

The cat went away and came upon a place where many mice lived. There she made herself comfortable and put the rosary around her neck. One day some mice came along the way and circled the cat warily. So the cat said: “Don’t be afraid of me! I’m one of those lama cats. Let me teach you the holy doctrine saying not to kill another living being. Come! Come here!”

So the mice went to the cat and let her teach them. After a few days had passed Khuchin tuct, the khaan of the mice, told them: “Oh, it seems as if our teacher is eating us. In her excrements there are traces of bone and hair. Go back home and get a bell.” He sent a few mice to carry out his request.

The mice went home and came back with a bell. They said to the cat: “Teacher, please accept this jewellery from us!” And they put the bell around her neck. Khuchin tuct told his mice: “After today’s lesson will be over, we will exit one after another. If the bell should ring, we’ll turn around and hurry back.” (more…)

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Again, I swear this is not an animal tale. It’s actually an ancient Irish fairy tale about the devil. It’s not my fault if he decided to come in cat-shape. Is it?

The Demon Cat

There was a woman in Connemara, the wife of a fisherman; as he had always good luck, she had plenty of fish at all times stored away in the house ready for market. But, to her great annoyance, she found that a great cat used to come in at night and devour all the best and finest fish. So she kept a big stick by her, and determined to watch.

another somewhat creepy cat though not the devil

One day, as she and a woman were spinning together, the house suddenly became quite dark; and the door was burst open as if by the blast of the tempest, when in walked a. huge black cat, who went straight up to the fire, then turned round and growled at them.

“Why, surely this is the devil,” said a young girl, who was by, sorting fish. (more…)

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Kafka, approx. 5 years old

tiny Kafka with neither mouse nor cat

Something a little different to start off the week. Instead of the usual folktale, we’ll have a Little Fable by Franz Kafka. I am not one of those obsessive Kafka-fans (I’m rather taken with his ancestor-in-spirit Kleist) but ever since I first came upon this tiny little gem of literature, I’ve loved it dearly. So let me share with you the experience of puzzled perplexity that comes from reading:

Little Fable
(by Franz Kafka)

“Alas,” said the mouse. “The world is growing closer every day. In the beginning it was so wide, that I was afraid. So I went on further and was happy when, in the distance, I saw walls to the left and to the right. But these walls race towards each other so quickly that I am already in the last room and there in the corner is the trap, into which I run.” – “You only need to change directions,” said the cat and ate her.

Copyright for translation: TaleTellerin
Copyright for image: Wiki Commons

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And because I by no means claim to be an experienced translator of modern literature, have the original German text as well. So you can compare/skip mine. 😉

Kleine Fabel
(von Franz Kafka)

»Ach«, sagte die Maus, »,die Welt wird enger mit jedem Tag. Zuerst war sie so breit, daß ich Angst hatte, ich lief weiter und war glücklich, daß ich endlich rechts und links in der Ferne Mauern sah, aber diese langen Mauern eilen so schnell aufeinander zu, daß ich schon im letzten Zimmer bin, und dort im Winkel steht die Falle, in die ich laufe.« – »Du mußt nur die Laufrichtung ändern«, sagte die Katze und fraß sie.

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