One upon a time, there were two little kittens who lived in a den on a cold river with a spinster beaver named Rodentia. You may wonder why the kittens don’t live in a basket like other kittens and play with balls of yarn or sharpen their claws on couch arms all day. You may wonder why animals that hate the water were housed in a floating condo made of sharp edged tree stumps and brush. You may even ask, “Where are the kitten’s parents?” or “What in the world would a beaver know about raising kittens?” And all these musings and questions would be understandable.
After all, kittens are vulnerable and there is nothing so like calk and cheese as a kitten and a beaver. Beavers eat leaves and tree bark and kittens munch on Fancy Feast. Beavers have flat tails they use like boat rudders and kittens sport useless, but adorable fluff. Kittens like to lay in the sun on pillows and beavers have teeth like buzz saws. But this odd affiliation happened. It happened because the kittens didn’t have any parents and the beaver was an opportunist.
This is not a story of orphan kittens (although it could be). This is a story of what happens to the innocent in a fearsome world. I’m not going to belabor the details – suffice to say the kitten’s mother died and the father kitten swallowed his tears and swallowed his tears until he was drunk on sadness. And just when the father kitten’s sadness was beginning to dry up like a bowl of milk on a sunny porch, he died.
What a world.
And somehow, some wicked way, the kittens (named Fluffy and Puffy) were given to Rodentia. A beaver with teeth like hatchets. You may wonder why, but yours is not to wonder. You may demand to know whether Fluffy and Puffy are learning to chase mice and climb trees. But that is not allowed. You may speculate that the spinster beaver does not care about kittens and ask whether it is their pretty jeweled collars she admires. The gems wink like lovers and sparkle like a pond in the moonlight…