The First Cat

The Ark on the dark, multitudinous waters
Was tossing; the rain in a cataract poured;
But Noah, his Lady, their sons and their daughters
And all the wild live stock were safely aboard.

They weren't much seasick in spite of the weather
And rather cramped quarters; they'd food to suffice,
And all things were lovely, when, squeaking together,
There rushed from the galley a rabble of mice!

They multiplied- yes, like a warren of rabbits!
They plundered the pantry, devoured the grain;
And such were their simply unspeakable habits
That poor Mrs. Noah was well-nigh insane!

She said so in language untrammeled and forceful!
And what might have happened, the Lord only knows!
When Noah, the kindly and ever resourceful,
Went up to the Lion and tickled his nose.

Then thrice sneezed the Lion!- and forth from the feature
His Majesty sneezed with, there leaped in a trice
A silky-haired, dagger-clawed, brisk little Creature-
And woe to the ravaging legions of mice!

In twenties, in thirties, in fifties she slew them
Before Mrs. Noah had time to say 'scat!'
'Aha!' laughed the Skipper, who watched her pursue them;
'I don't know It's name, Dear; let's call it A Cat!'

So, born of a sneeze in the Rain of All Ages
That deluged the mountain, the valley, and plain,
The Cat on your hearthstone to this day presages,
By solemnly sneezing, the coming of rain!

by Arthur Guiterman

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