Once upon a time there was a very rich cat, that was a friend of a very poor cat.

       The very rich cat lived in a glittering, majestic palace. The rooms were all embellished with delightful Chinese silk tapestries on the walls, and the ceilings with precious frescoes.

       A vast garden surrounded the house, full of the most wonderful and rare flowers in the world. Various lakes of all shapes and sizes shimmered among the brilliant green lawns- of course there were swans as well.

       The cat owned numerous horses and carriages, and he had a lot of peasant monkeys serving him. They would till the fields, sow and prune.

       He was friends with all the animals. Birds would dance around him adoringly, making a din with their chirping; sometimes they would even lift up his tail in amusement. He would often throw banquets, to which he invited all the rich cats in the country, and naturally his friend, the poor cat. The little birds

flitted around joyfully, and chirped so euphorically, that on seeing them all together in those spacious resplendent rooms, their beaks swelled up. The rich cat and the poor cat admired them, smiled and played with them.

       The dinners were sumptuous, and the poor cat was always served the most exquisite dishes and the biggest portions.

       But one cursed day…the rich cat lost…all his ships in a storm! The sea swallowed them all up! Every last one! Not one single ship was saved. All his wealth went up in smoke, and all of a sudden he was poor!

       All his servants had to leave him as they had families.

       He went to live all alone in a crumbling down house that was decorated with holes and yet more holes in the walls! Big fat rats with very sharp teeth inhabited almost every hole.

       The cat that used to be rich had become ill from distress, and not being used to hunting rats that looked like wild beasts, he had to ask his friend the poor cat for help. He begged for his help, in the name of the great friendship that they had always shared.

       The poor cat patiently heard him out and answered sweetly: “It’s your fault if I can’t help you, you got me accustomed to being rich! In fact I have always been rich and without a care in the world (thanks to you!). As you well know…hang on…let me explain…as you well know, I also lived in ease and comfort, and am certainly no longer used to hunting for big, fat rats with sharp teeth. I prefer to play with the little birds that think I’m rich, with a fake smile on my face… they don’t notice that every now and then I eat one of them, chewing it with my mouth closed!”

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