—La Fontaine, XII, 2
It was amusing to see
The quick pet Sparrow and the Cat
Engage in harmless duels that
Exercised their friendly rivalry.
Their sport continued for years.
The bird was not his proper food;
The Sparrow had no fears.
These nimble sparring partners
Inhabited a château
And entertained the Maids and Gardeners
With many a mock set-to.
Their range of acquaintance was narrow;
Cat thought his feathered friend
Was like every other Sparrow
The world around.
But one unfortunate day
A window was left ajar
And a stranger Sparrow entered from far
This unknown interloper
Was very rude indeed
He had no notion of what was proper
And what was not allowed.
He fluttered chattering about the house,
Through pantries, bedrooms, hallways,
Making in each dreadful mess
And insulting Cat all ways.
Fuzzbutt, he called him, The Big-Eared Wonder,
And Creepabout and Pillowdozer,
Old Spooky Slinker, Nature’s Blunder,
And Stripey Trouser.
Down he swooped upon the Cat
And flittered at his nose,
Ever careful to estimate
The farthest reach of his paws.
One time only he miscalculated
His necessary certain distance
And met the end for which he was fated
As an instructive instance.
Cat swallowed him down with a surly growl;
In a curious mood,
He speculated how a creature so vile
Could taste so good.
He began at length to ponder
The Wherefores and the Whys
And gazed upon his playmate Sparrow with wonder
And strange surmise.