The Cat That Looked Back


      Once upon a time (isn't that how all these stories start?), there was a forward-looking cat.

      That is to say, he always looked ahead, searching for something (although he didn't always know what he was looking for).

      And he never looked back perhaps because he feared he would see his tail and attack it! For this cat, like most cats, would pounce on almost anything that moved.

      One day, as he was out in the garden searching for slugs and snails and perhaps a mouse or two! he spotted something moving just to the right of the strawberry patch.

      Was it a mouse? Or was it a vole? Henry (for this was the name of our cat). didn't know.

     He only knew that something had moved and that was enough to get his interest!

      Henry was a big cat with brown fur that was tinged with faint black stripes. He was a very handsome cat. And he loved to hunt!

      What was it? Had it really moved? Or had Henry blinked his eye once too often and only thought he saw something move.

      "I'll concentrate," Henry thought, to the extent cats can think.

      Henry's eyes narrowed as he focused on the spot ahead of him where he had sensed movement.

      Was it a hoppy toad? Henry hoped not, for he had met one once and it was not a happy experience!

      There! It moved again!!

      Henry crouched, his belly low to the ground, his muscles tense, the tip of his brown and black striped tail twitching.

      "One more movement and I'll spring," Henry said to himself.

      He waited and waited, as patient as all cats are when they are hunting. Finally, he spotted movement not where he had been watching, but over to the left a bit.

      He sprang forward, his claws outstretched, and grabbed . . . . a sprig of parsley! Just a sprig of parsley that had moved because of the wind!

      "The wind, the wind," Henry said. "It was just the wind and not an animal at all!"

      Henry was very disappointed. He felt very foolish. And that was when Henry stopped peering forward and looked back and saw something he could pounce on!!

      It was long and thin and had brown and black stripes. And it was moving back and forth in a twitching motion!

      Muscles tensed, Henry prepared himself.

      And pounced!!

      And missed!!!

      And whirled! And pounced again!! And missed again!!!

      But each time, the elusive target was gone!

      And the moral to our story? "Don't look back, or you'll end up chasing your own tail!"

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