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MARTIN
 
a Romanian Folk Tale Collected and Rewritten by Phillip Martin
 

Dog, Cat and Mouse used to be very good friends. But, as everyone knows, that was a long time ago. Nobody ever calls them friends any more. If you don't know what happened to their friendship, you're about to learn.

"You know, Dog, we are good friends," said Cat, "and I want to keep it that way."

"Of course, we're good friends," answered Dog. "What are you talking about?"

"Well, it's simple," replied the cat. "I think we should have a written agreement. The agreement should explain what each of our jobs are. That way, we can never get in any kind of disagreement."

The two friends decided that dog's job would be guarding the house and anything else outside. The cat's job was to stay inside the house and watch the fire. Both animals placed their pawprints on the agreement. Then, cat safely stored the agreement in the attic.

As time passed, Dog decided he liked the agreement less and less. "Why should I remain outside in the cold and rain while Cat sleeps inside by a cozy fire? I get scraps and bones to eat and that Cat is getting fatter and fatter. I guard the house from thieves and that cat guards a warm, cozy fire. No, I'm not happy about this at all."

"An agreement is an agreement," purred the cat.

"Well, I want to see that agreement again!" barked the dog.

Cat went up to the attic with a swish of her tail and a smirk on her face. However, she wasn't prepared for what she saw up there. The agreement was just where she left it, but it wasn't how she left it. Mouse had chewed it up to make a soft mound for his bed. There was nothing left to show to Dog. "You lazy mouse!" hissed the cat. "If I catch you, I'm going to eat you!"

The rafters shook as Cat chased Mouse around the attic. The cat hissed, fur flew and bits of the agreement floated downstairs to where Dog waited. Curious, he went up to the attic and poked his head in. "What's going on?" he barked.

"That mouse chew up our agreement," hissed the cat. "He used it to make his bed!"

"No agreement?" asked Dog.

"What's the matter with you? Can't you hear?" cried the cat. "That mouse ate our agreement!"

Dog didn't like the way Cat spoke to him. Besides, he was already frustrated about the agreement. He jumped into the attic and chased after Cat. The rafters really shook, fur really flew, and then Dog really clamped down on Cat's neck. He shook her until he was no longer frustrated.

From that time until today, whenever Dog sees a cat, he chases her because of that agreement. And, of course, Cat chases Mouse too. But, there is one thing that they all agree upon. None of them like each other.

MARTIN
Copyright 2010 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.