cat’s paw

Reading one or two fables in spare moments (whiich there aren’t many of). The Moneky and the Cat came to my attention. It’s called an Aesop’s fable, but, like many, doesn’t seem to go back to Aesop. Where it comes from no-one seems to be sure.

The story itself is short, without the subtle humour and dialogue that Aesop’s fables often have:

Once  there was a small monkey who lived in the same household as a little cat. When he saw some chestnuts buried in the hearth, he began to brush the ash aside, but, afraid of the burning coals, he seized the foot of the sleeping cat and with it stole them out.

From this there is, apparently, the expression a “cat’s paw”: someone who does someone else’s dirty work (and not only doesn’t benefit but actually suffers for it).

These microfictions are so short they can be summed up with just a simple visual emblem, something like a hieroglyph of a situation.  Like the one here made for a little plate, one of twelve in the British Museum, based on the fable illustrations in a wonderful old book illustrated by Marcus Gheeraerts

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1 Comment »

  1. Anne said

    I Love your little stories!
    A x

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