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The Badger and the Mongoose

Professor Minsky

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The pet

Professor Minsky continues to educate his kittens, which is to say, all kittens everywhere, because he considers himself an example to them all.

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On Minsky’s desk there sat a thing
all green, and made of knitted string -
a cat, or so some woman thought.
Whether she made, or whether she bought,
her cat knew not; but this was cause
to make him flex his curving claws
and simmer all the sunny day
while Heidi taught the kittens play.

At last, he stretched his back, and rose
from secret sleep in sole repose,
then frowned to Heidi; time to show
the little pussies how to grow
in dignity and quickest wit;
the safest things on which to sit,
and what were dogs, and whence was food;
he summoned all the fluffy brood.

The kittens Heidi gathered round,
excepting two which went to ground
beneath the shed, and peeped at her -
amused, she couldn’t help but purr.
Minsky affected not to know,
or else he’d surely have to go
and show the little furballs how
to pay respect to every miaow.

“This thing,” he growled, “this little toy –
quite suitable for girl or boy –
was given me by Sarah Short.
Alas, she knows not what she ought;
it’s not a thing that I should bring -
an imitation made of string -
except to ask about this dolly,
what can you learn of human folly?”

A little ginger tom then mewed,
“She needs a better attitude.
It’s neither good to eat, or sleep
upon – unless she made a heap.”
“That’s true,” purred Minsky. “Yet, there’s more.
please pass it round, but spare the claw.
She cares; although this fake’s no good,
don’t tear it open, as we should.”

Now while the kittens sniffed the string
young Heidi didn’t say a thing,
but wondered what her clever Tom
would say; “He’s sure to drop a bomb,”
she thought. For this was far above
the reach of Heidi’s mind of love;
content to sleep, or sit and purr
on knees that Sarah offered her.

“Well, what’s the point of this?” asked he
who ruled the street in majesty.
“What is it for, and why was it made?”
But answers yet were still delayed.
Some little cats sneaked off to look
in Heidi’s little Kitty Book,
filled with the thoughts of Chairman Miaow;
but nothing could they find there now.

“The question’s really, who gives what?”
growled Minsky. “I don’t give a jot
for what it is, or what she thought -
whether she sewed, or whether she bought –
what does it mean to get such toys?
Come tell me, kitten girls and boys.”
At last a little pussy frets;
“She thinks that we, not her, are pets!”

Contents Page 16About

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