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Why is there enmity between the cat and the dog?

Q. Why is there enmity between the cat and the dog?

R. When the cat (weasel) was created it became the companion of the dog. Both hunted together and ate together of the prey. It so happened at one time that two or three days had passed and they had not got anything to eat. Then the dog said to the cat, "Why are we sitting here a hungered? Go to Adam and sit in his house and be fed there, and we will go after the creeping things and reptiles and will feed upon them, and we shall both be kept alive." The cat then replied to the dog, "Let it be so, but we must take an oath that we will not go both together to one master." He replied, "Thou hast spoken well." There and then they both took an oath, and the cat went to the house of Adam, where she found mice, which she caught and ate: the rest ran away from her. When Adam saw what had happened, he said, "A great salvation ("cure") has God sent me."

               Then he took the cat into his house and fed it and gave it to drink.

               The dog went to the wolf and said unto him, "Let me come and spend the night with thee." He replied, "Very well." Both went to a cave to sleep there. In the night the dog heard the footsteps of the various animals, so he woke the wolf and told him, "I heard the steps of thieves." The wolf replied, "Go out to them and drive them away."

               The beasts turned upon him to kill him. The dog fled away and went to the ape, but the ape drove him away. Then he went to the sheep. The sheep received him and allowed him to sleep there. He heard the noise of feet and he said to the sheep, "I hear the footsteps of robbers." The sheep replied, "Go out." The dog went out, and began to bark. The wolves said, "Surely sheep are there." So they went thither and ate the sheep.

               The dog fled away and went from place to place trying to find some shelter, but could not find any. At last he came to Adam, who took him in and allowed him to sleep there. In the middle of the night the dog said to Adam, "I hear the noise of footsteps." Adam rose at once, took his spear, and going out with the dog drove the wild beasts away and returned home with the dog. Then Adam said to the dog, "Come into my house, dwell with me, eat of my food and drink of my water." And the dog went with him. When the cat heard the voice of the dog she came out to him and said, "Why dost thou come thither to my place?" And he replied, "Adam has brought me hither." Adam said to the cat, "Why dost thou quarrel with him? I have brought him in, for I found him clever and full of courage. Thou needst not grieve, thou shalt be kept also as before." The cat replied, "My Lord, he is a thief, is it right to dwell in one place with a thief?" And the cat went on to say to the dog, "Why hast thou broken (transgressed) thy oath?" He replied, "I will not enter thy dwelling place, I will not eat of anything that belongs to thee, I will not cause thee the least harm." But the cat did not listen and began to quarrel.

               When the dog saw this, he went away from the house of Adam, and going to that of Seth, dwelt there. And the dog tried all the time to make peace with the cat, but it was all in vain. In that state they have remained to this very day, in constant enmity, for the children follow the example of their forebears: as the proverb has it: sheep follow sheep (f. 25b, 26a).

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Why is there enmity between the cat and the dog?
Tale Author/Editor: Sira, Ben
Book Title: Rumanian Bird and Beast Stories
Book Author/Editor: Gaster, Moses
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1915
Country of Origin: Hebrew
Classification: unclassified

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