The Dragon-Cat’s Hoard

The guardians sleep at night.

They are fools to ignore the hour when the air is awake and the light is dim and the hunting is good.  It is very dull of them; still, their slumber lets me chase and climb, to scratch and claim, to do as I like with no interference!

When I take my own rest, I examine my hoard.  It is hidden from their eyes, but I will show it to you.  Here is the rod they use to make marks on their large white leaves.  Here are the mice, simulacra of prey but no less sweet-smelling for it.  Here are beautiful round coins, resplendent metal with fringed edges that roll and fly when I bat at them, or others that are softer and warmer and good to gnaw.  Here is the jangling ball, which is easier to put in my hoard than to remove.

Here is a forbidden thing, a stretching ring that I rightly covet.  They endeavor to hide it, but when their vigilance fails I seize it for my own, to chew as I like and swallow if I desire.

I do not store all the things I have loved there; many things that are satisfying to chew may be left alone.  Here is their foot-coat and its ribbon; there the hide-containers for their own hoards; there the strange-smelling bricks, a delightful risk.  If they see you chew on it, they defend it with shouts of “Not the library books!” and also “No!!”

But what this last word means, I cannot tell.

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