Misna Chanu (Children's World)

Misna Chanu
Tale Of A Squirrel And A Cat


Nunu, the 6 years old boy asked his mother,

“Tell me a story mama”

His mother, Tamna replied,

“Nunu! I am very tired tonight due to the office and household work after the office!”

I will tell you a story tomorrow, dear!”

Nunu got upset and in a low voice, he said,

“But you said the same thing last night also, mama!”

Then, in his innocent voice, Nunu asked her mother,

“Why do you always work mama?”

“You work all the time. That’s why you get tired every day!”

Stroking the head of her child, Tamna said softly,

“My dear! We have to work hard in life for survival!”

Nunu said innocently,

“I don’t work like you or papa but I am surviving.”

Tamna smiled and said,

“Because, you are a child now, my dear.

“We are working for you too!

“When you grow up and have your own family, you will do the same for your family.”

Tamna continued,

“Okay! I will tell you a tale of a Squirrel and a Cat, tonight.”

Tamna could see the excitement and joy in her child’s face the moment he heard that his mother was going to tell a story.

Then, Tamna started telling,

……………..

Long, long ago, in a small of town of England, there lived an old woman who didn’t have anyone but only a cat which she loved like her own child. The woman’s name was Sophia. She had a little cottage where the town ended and the forest began. Her husband died many years ago and left the house and a farm for her.

The woman named the cat Snow because it was as white as snow. Snow was a fat cat who spent most of her time either on Sophia’s bed or near the fireplace. Sophia never ate a single meal without feeding her cat ‘Snow’ first. Sophia’s love and care made Snow proud and lazy though. Snow didn’t even want to catch mice like other cats. There was also a squirrel who lived in the tree of the old women’s garden. The squirrel was always busy in search of its food in the garden.

One Autumn afternoon, Snow was lying lazily in the garden after lunch while the squirrel was busy searching for food.

Snow asked the Squirrel,

“Why are you always in a hurry Mr Squirrel?”

The squirrel replied,

Because I have to search for my own food.

“Moreover, the winter is coming and I have to store food for the winter too.”

Snow asked sarcastically, “Oh! Is it?”


Art by Laija Chanu

Before the squirrel say anything, Snow proudly said,

“Oh! poor soul!”

“Look at me! I don’t have to worry about either winter or summer.”

“I can enjoy every season with delicious foods”

“If you want, I can share some food with you every day. My lady has more than enough for the three of us”

The squirrel replied politely,

“Thank you for your generosity but I would prefer to search for my own food than to depend on humans!”

The cat said arrogantly,

“Oh! If you don’t want to taste the lavish life, what can I do!”

By saying that the cat fell asleep on the velvety grass of the old woman’s Garden. But the squirrel was still collecting its food.

A few days after Christmas, Sophia died leaving Snow alone. After her death, Snow lived a miserable life. Nobody was there to feed her everyday like Sophia. And the houses and streets were covered with snow and people lived indoors most of the time. Whenever Snow tried to enter someone’s house in the town, people always frightened her. Sometimes Snow managed to steal food from someone’s kitchen or from the storage of a shop but some days Snow had to sleep with an empty stomach.

When the spring came, again the Earth was covered with green grass and the Sun was peeping between the leaves of the trees. One day, Snow met the same squirrel she met a few months ago.

Snow said,

“Hello! Mr Squirrel!”

The squirrel replied,

“Oh Hi! I didn’t recognise you because you look totally different and bony today!”

“What happened to you?’ asked the Squirrel.

Snow replied in a gentle voice,

“My owner died last winter.”

“Last winter was the hardest time for me.”

The squirrel understood and said,

“Oh! I see!”

“Take care of yourself”.

Snow said,

“Thank you! You too take care!

Then, Snow went inside the house, where the old woman used to live. The cat had learnt it’s lessons. No more, Snow was a lazy cat.

“That’s the end of the story my boy!’  said Tamna.

But Nunu was already asleep holding her mother’s hand. Tamna kissed his forehead and said,

“Goodnight and sweet dreams darling!”

 

 

Bio Note: Misna Chanu

Misna Chanu is a bilingual poetess, writer, author, humanitarian, translator and an editor from Assam (India), currently living in Gurgaon. Writing is not her hobby or passion but a call of her soul. She writes in her mother tongue Manipuri and in English. She has published three poetry books; “A Little Piece Of Melancholic Sky”, “Many Shades Of Love, “The Silent Whispers” and one story book for children named “Once Upon A Time” and four anthologies of poetry and short stories as an editor. Her poems have been translated into 12 international languages and published in journals, anthologies and magazines worldwide. 


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