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    The Beginning

    A story by Helen Nyman
    Illustrations by Emma Pennisi

    Page 8 ...

    There was total silence now, as the cats felt great pride in their national anthem, and everyone was hoping that Boris would not make a mess of things. A quick check to make sure the microphone was working then Boris pulled in his stomach, threw back his shoulders, opened his mouth, and started to sing,

    Cat Island, Cat Island
    My land and my home
    No more will I wander
    No more will I roam.

    For here we are safe
    From dangers and harms
    We’ve food in abundance
    And beautiful palms

    King Freddy and Queen Suzi
    Take care of our needs
    And so three meows
    For all their good deeds

    There was a moment of silence and then Queen Suzi raised herself from the throne and thanked Boris for his beautiful deliverance of the national anthem. Boris bowed to the Queen and made his way down the steps, feeling very proud of himself and a lot calmer now that it was all over.

    Queen Suzi cleared her throat, fluffed up her tail and began her welcome speech to her guests

    “King Freddy and I are delighted to see you all here once again at this years Cat Pride. We sincerely hope that you will all have a simply wonderful day. Enjoy the food, enjoy the concert, and do try and take part in the many activities that have been prepared for you.

    “I’d just like to add that you may admire the beautiful flowers that are growing in the Palace grounds but it’s strictly forbidden to pick any. Anyone caught doing so will be punished accordingly.”

    And on that light note she ended her speech and sat down again awaiting the presentation of the bouquet.

    As Bertie approached Queen Suzy with the bouquet of lavender he looked like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. He gave her a quick little bow and handed her the bouquet. In turn, she inclined her head a little, thanked him, and slowly lifted the catnip sprinkled lavender up to her nose and inhaled the fragrance, not once but three times! It didn’t take more than ten seconds for the catnip to take effect. She suddenly threw herself onto the floor and started rolling around from side-to-side purring loudly. As if that wasn’t enough, she then raised herself up onto her back paws and started chasing her tail round and round. She was quite oblivious to the screams of laughter from all the cats that delighted in finally seeing Queen Suzy lose her legendary cool and composure, without quite understanding why.

    King Freddy decided that this was the perfect moment to reveal his little surprise. He stepped in front of Queen Suzi and slowly lifted his lop-sided crown off his head. All the cats fell silent as the King uncovered an enormous bright gold earring dangling from his left ear!

    “We have to move with the times my friends”, he said. And with that, a new fashion was started on Cat Island.

    Illustration Emma PennisiThe rest of the day flew past, as the cats watched the cabaret, listened to the cat’s chorus and participated in all the fun and games. Needless to say all the delicious food was gobbled up and now it was time to go home, but not before receiving the long awaited iced-mice. One by one the weary, but happy, cats strolled past the grand food table where Amber and Tilly were handing out the iced-mice that had been individually placed in turquoise shells to commemorate Cat Pride’s 125th anniversary.

    Everyone agreed that it had been a wonderful day and that they were very lucky to live on Cat Island.

    Back to the beginning

    About the author
    Helen Nyman is originally from Manchester, England, but moved to Rome, Italy, in 1970 where she discovered a world of abandoned street cats. She started taking care of a colony near her home, feeding them in the early morning. When possible, homes were found for the kittens; however, many ended up in her own home, especially the sick ones.

    Her life has been enriched by this experience, and a lot of the personalities in the story are based on cats she has given a home to.

    She hopes to carry on her relationship with the Roman cats for many more years to come, and gain more inspiration to keep writing about Cat Island and its inhabitants.

    Our thanks to Ms. Nyman for graciously allowing us to use the first story about Cat Island on our site. Additional stories can be found on her blog.

    All rights reserved. ©Helen Nyman 2007

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