The Cat and The Mongbat

by Sherry the Mouse

Once upon a time, before my life at Castle British, I was a young mouse. I wanted to travel, to see the wide world: floating islands, echoing caverns, and mountains taller than the sky. So I left my cozy hole and set out on several mouse-sized adventures.

One day in bright summer, full on Fair food, I waited for the Skara Brae ferry. The Fair had been wonderful. I’d nibbled corn in all its many forms, popped, roasted, buttered, and even baked into little cakes. I’d seen shows on stage about all manner of thing. One man told jokes, his face contorting in the most hilarious way when his friend in the crowd threw a tomato at him. A group of young women, their dresses the color of flowers, sang a song and danced. There was a sword fight, which ended with a man smashing the paste gem of his opponent. Finally, a great mage performed many tricks, including turning a rabbit into two doves! The day was glorious!

So you can imagine that a usually sensible mouse might be distracted. While I sat on the docks, humming a song I’d heard and remembering swirling costumes and caramel popcorn, a large cat stalked me. He was huge, like the pictures of mountain lions I’ve seen in books. Despite his size, he moved in complete silence. I would have been finished had he immediately gobbled me up. Fortunately, he shared a trait with most other felines, large and small: he liked to play with his prey. Many a mouse has been saved by this personality defect. I believe it is fate’s way of preventing cats from getting too fat and mice from getting too few.

I was in trouble. I tried the usual scampering tricks, but that cat was too fast. No matter where I ran, there was a paw with its lethal claws ready to tear me apart! I looked down the length of the docks, desperate for some brave human rescuer, but there was no kind-hearted child nor cat-hating dog. Everyone was at the Fair, except for one fisherman! Yet no matter how plaintive my cries for help, he didn’t seem to be listening, focused solely on his fishing rod. So inattentive was he, that when he caught his next fish, a mongbat swooped in and took it from him! He cursed the foul mongbat, but the beast’s little wings carried it far to safety.

The cat was growing lazy at this point and was preparing to eat me. It seemed to debate which part to start with. I can talk to cats as easily as I can to mice and people. Sadly though, their conversations mainly focus on how they wish to bite and claw me. It is gruesome to be described as a menu item. I am glad I eat only grains and cheese, so I do not need to worry about some poor cheddar hearing about where I will bite first! I pointed out the nice fish he had just missed, how it was ten, no a hundred times tastier than I, and so big! It would take twenty mice to move it. The promise of such reward distracted him, until he pointed out that should he take a fish, the man would surely get him.

I was desperate, so I suggested he just fly away. He looked at me strangely. I kept talking, “Don’t you know that mongbats are just cats who learned how to fly?” It was the silliest sentence I will ever say, but the cat had both arrogance and stupidity working against him.

He picked me up in its mouth by my tail and walked closer to the fisherman. “Tell me what to do,” he growled.

“When you grab the fish, just think really hard about growing wings and jump off the ground like the mongbat did?” I stammered. To test his ego, I added, “I don’t think just any cat can fly, only the best hunters.”

That did it! A moment later the next fish was pulled in by the fisherman. As it was flying out of the water, the cat leapt and bit into it! He pulled it down the dock to the end and leapt into the air! For one glorious moment, the giant tabby was a bird in flight! Then, splash! There were bubbles and tangled fishing line and fur and cat and fish and angry fisherman. By the time everything was sorted out, I was on a ferry to Skara Brae and onto another adventure.

I suppose there is a moral to the story, but I’m not sure I ever figured it out. Perhaps it’s that cats can’t fly?