An origin story of Fable, the Storyteller's Cat
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GAYLORD
Noah settled down on the edge of the fountain in the village square. He was tired from his journey that had been some miles. He smiled as the children began to gather.
As a travelling storyteller, he liked to see the children first. Adults usually came after chores and sometimes questioned his stories. But few children ever did.
“Are you ready for a story?” he asked after they were spread out in front of him in neat rows. Seeing the many nods, he began without preamble.
“It must be said from the beginning of this tale, that Gaylord considered himself the upper crust of feline aristocracy. Considering that, he felt literally everything was beneath him. With little effort, he gathered cats to do his bidding in every way, shape or form.
“He did this in several ways. He fostered a look of airy disdain, that most times tended to draw in the timidest or fawning of the strays. When it did, he used them and abused them equally.
“Regardless of this treatment, he had no lack of followers to do what he wished with. Until the cat-catcher caught him one day. These evil humans who are everywhere, catch many cats and sell them to catgut makers, of which there are more than you think!
“So, Gaylord found himself in an uncomfortably small cage along with cages of other helpless felines being taken away in a cart. He did not know where he would be taken or how long the journey would be. Condescendingly, he tried to get information from the other cats.
“He went from sweet talk to threats, but the other cats knew even less than he did about the matter. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Soon Gaylord was cowering in the cage, shivering with fright.
“When the cart, at last, came to a halt, the cat catcher jumped to the dusty ground and grabbed the cage that held Gaylord. He hoisted it up and began to call out to the people:
“‘Cats, fresh cats! Ready for any use! Perhaps you need a mouser, there’s a perfect one among my wares! If you want some beautiful fur or violin strings, we can supply them as well. Take this cat here,’ he said waving the cage with Gaylord in it, ‘it’s plump and meaty for those who are so inclined!’
“A man in a bloody apron began to bargain for Gaylord. It got so heated that the cat catcher lost his grip on the cage, and it hit the ground. It sprang open and the cat wasted no time. He ran as fast as his rotund body would let him.
“For days afterward, Gaylord roamed the strange surroundings, fighting off local cats and irate humans. He grew thin quickly because he had no hunting skills to speak of. That was when my ancestor found him and took him in.”
Noah reached down to his feet and picked up a cat.
“This is Fable, Gaylord’s many times great grandson. Unlike Gaylord, Fable is an adventurer. In fact, he often provides me with my stories.”
With Fable in his lap, he let the children come in small groups to pet and feed the lithe cat. Calls for the children to come in for dinner, left Noah and Fable alone.
“Well, my furry muse, time to head to the tavern for a meal and bed. For once I can afford it,” Noah said. But Fable jumped to the ground and was gone on his own business. The storyteller shook his head and reminded himself to save some of his dinner for the cat’s breakfast.
608 WORDS 2/18/2023