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The Cats’ Elopement – Storytelling Podcast

The Cats Elopement

The Cat’s Elopement

Andrew Lang – Japanese Folktale

February 14 -Valentine’s Day

Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?  I know some of you may be making a lovely card for your mum or dad or your grandma or grandpa to show them how much you love them.  And maybe some of your mummies or grandmas might be making you a special cupcake treat to tell you how much they love you.

Hello everyone. I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. Today we are airing our episode a day early to coincide with this special day because our story is about two cats who fall in love with each other, but…because they both have different owners and live in different houses, they despair of finding a way to be together.  

Oh before we begin, grown ups out there, you know one of the many things I love about stories is that they connect us to each other, to other places and to other people from the past and in the future, and recently we at JWS got connected to – another storytelling podcast called Storypillar.  I thought you and your little listeners might enjoy this podcast too – Here’s Meg from Storypillar to tell you more and you can find more in our episode notes too.

And as always a huge thanks to all  of you who have been rating, reviewing and sharing this podcast with others. If you have not already done so, please take a moment now to rate and review wherever you listen.  Thanks ever so much.

Now let’s take a journey with The Cat’s Elopement a tale from Japan.  (Oh in case you do not know the word elopement, it simply means a couple who run off to get married in secret.

Once upon a time there lived a cat of marvellous beauty, with a skin as soft and shining as silk, and wise green eyes, that could see even in the dark. His name was Gon, and he belonged to a music teacher, who was so fond and proud of him that he would not have parted with him for anything in the world.

Now not far from the music master’s house there lived a lady who also possessed a most lovely little pussy cat called Koma. She was such a little dear altogether, and blinked her eyes so daintily, and ate her supper so tidily, and when she had finished she licked her pink nose so delicately with her little tongue, that her mistress was never tired of saying, ‘Koma, Koma, what should I do without you?’

Well, it happened one day that these two, when out for an evening stroll, met under a cherry tree, and in an instant, fell madly in love with each other. 

Gon had long felt that it was time for him to find a wife, for all the ladies in the neighbourhood paid him so much attention that it made him quite shy; but he was not easy to please, and did not care about any of them. 

Now, before he had time to think, Cupid had entangled him in his net, and he was filled with love for Koma.   And so too, Koma returned his love, but she also was wise enough to realise that their path to true love would not be easy.

“My dear, Koma,” she said, “it is clear that we are smitten with each other, but what are we to do?  For you live with your master in one house, and I live with my mistress in another and so how are we ever to be together under one roof?”

“Do not worry, my dearest,” soothed Gon.  “I shall find a way.”  And so the two of them parted agreeing to meet up again as soon as they could.

That evening, Gon entreated his master to set matters right by buying Koma, but when he approached Koma’s mistress , she would hear of no such thing.  “How dare you ask me to part with my beloved Koma,” she cried.  “Why if you care so much, then you should give me your beloved Gon.”  But of course the music master was distraught at such a suggestion and so everything remained as before.  Poor Gon and Koma were broken hearted.  But as time passed, they decided it was time to please themselves and seek their fortunes in their own way.

So one moonlight night they stole away together venturing out into the wide world.  The next day, they marched along together in the bright sunshine, leaving their homes further and further behind. In the evening they were both exhausted from their travels and delighted in finding rest in a nearby park with cool, lush grass and large leafy trees.

But, suddenly, from out of the bushes racing toward them came…

A gigantic dog, baring his teeth and raising his hackles.  Koma shrieked and scarpered up a cherry tree.  Gon, however, stood his ground boldly, and prepared to give battle, for he felt that Koma’s eyes were upon him, and that he must not run away.

From her perch in the tree Koma knew that full well that Gon would not stand a chance against this fierce hound,  and she screamed with all her might, hoping that some one would hear, and come to help. Luckily a servant of the princess to whom the park belonged was walking by, and he drove off the dog, and picking up the trembling Gon in his arms, carried him to his mistress.

So poor little Koma was left alone, while Gon was taken away against his wishes, but not in the least knowing what else to do.

Even the attention paid him by the princess, when the servant brought him to her, was of no consolation, for all he wished was to be with his beloved Koma.  

Now princess, Gon’s new mistress, was so good and kind that everybody loved her, and she would have led a happy life, had it not been for a serpent who had fallen in love with her, and was constantly annoying her by his presence. Her servants had orders to drive him away as often as he appeared; but as they were careless, and the serpent very sly, it sometimes happened that he was able to slip past them, and to frighten the princess by appearing before her. 

One day she was seated in her room, playing on her favourite musical instrument, when she felt something gliding up her sash, and saw her enemy making his way to kiss her cheek. She shrieked and threw herself backwards, and Gon, who had been curled up on a stool at her feet, understood her terror, and with one bound seized the snake by his neck. He gave him one bite and one shake, and flung him on the ground, where he lay, never to worry the princess any more. 

Then the princess  took Gon in her arms, and praised and caressed him, and from then on, saw that he had the nicest bits to eat, and the softest mats to lie on; and he would have had nothing in the world to wish for if only he could have seen Koma again.

Time passed on, and one morning Gon lay before the house door, basking in the sun. He looked lazily at the world stretched out before him, and saw in the distance a big ruffian of a cat teasing and ill-treating quite a little one. He jumped up, full of rage, and chased away the big cat, and then he turned to comfort the little one, when his heart nearly burst with joy to find that it was Koma. 

At first Koma did not know him again, he had grown so large and stately; but when it dawned upon her who it was, her happiness knew no bounds. And they rubbed their heads and their noses again and again, while their purring might have been heard a mile off.

Paw in paw they appeared before the princess, and told her the story of their life and its sorrows. The princess wept to hear all their trials and tribulations, and promised there and then, that they should never more be parted, but should live with her to the end of their days. 

By-and-bye the princess herself got married, and brought a prince to dwell in the palace in the park. And she told him all about her two cats, and how brave Gon had been, and how he had delivered her from her enemy the serpent.

And when the prince heard, he swore they should never leave them, but should go with the princess wherever she went. So it all fell out as the princess wished; and Gon and Koma had many children, and so had the princess, and they all played together, and were friends to the end of their lives.

Awww – wasn’t that sweet?  And did you notice that Gon mustered his courage in order to save his mistress, the princess from the horrid serpent?  When we love someone, it can make us brave and ready to do anything to help them – have you ever done something very brave for someone you love? That might make a good story – you could try writing that.  

Cheerio then – join me next time for Journey with Story.

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