The Cat and the Cook – Jataka Tales

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A Cook, whose learning passed for great, His kitchen left one evening late, Intent (he was a man of godly life) On ppt-house ale in memory of his wife, Who died that day a year before
;
And, as he had of eatables a store, To keep them safe from mouse or rat He placed on guard a favourite Cat. What’s this he sees on his return ? The floor
All strewn with pie-crust, Tommy on the stretch Behind a cask, a chicken in his jaws,
And purring softly as a bone he gnaws.
” Ah, glutton ! Ah, thou nasty wretch !

The Cook’s tongue for abuse was much respected : ” Is’t not a shame in thee to desecrate these walls? (Tommy the while a nice tit-bit inspected)
What thou, that everyone a nice Cat calls, A model for all mildness past belief,

thou—fie, blush for thy disgrace ! The neighbours all shall cry out to thy face :
‘ Tomcat’s a rogue ! Tomcat’s a thief ! ‘
Nor yard nor kitchen now shall Tommy see
;
From hungry wolves the sheep-fold should be free : The scandal he, the pest, the eyesore of our streets !

(Tom listens, yes ; but—still he eats !) Our orator, once set on morals preaching,
Could find no end unto his flow of teaching.
What then ? while he his own words followed,
Tommy the last piece of the roast had swallowed.
And I would teach our Cook, the dunce,
By letters in the wall cut big : To waste no time in talking like a prig,
But force employ at once.