Chapter 5:The Bald Cat and the Mink

Chapter 5:The Bald Cat and the Mink

A Chapter by John Carver

CHAPTER 5: The Bald Cat and the Mink 


The old man with the three faces had great possession and even his son who had the face of a polar bear had many possessions of his own, but he called for his servant who ran everything for him and was in charge of everything on the land and the things of his tent saying, “Swear to me you will do whatever I ask you?”


“What do you want me to do for you Master?” the servant asked.


“I want you to choose a wife for my son,” he said, “But I do not want you to choose her from the girls around here but to go to the land I came from to my father’s people and choose her. If she will not come here then you will be free of the promise, only take her from my father’s people and never one from around here.”


The servant understood but said, “How am I to know where to go?”


“I will pray for you,” the old man said, “And the Eagle will send a hawk to lead you there to her and all the way back for I want you to bring her back to my son to comfort him because of his mother’s death. She is buried in a cave I bought from a man in the land I first sojourned in to bury my dead. All my dead are to be buried there even my son when he goes and my grandson and his also. There is plenty of room.”


The servant had heard of the cave and paid it no mind that the old man was repeating himself but in the morning took servants with him and costly presents for the girl on ten camels and headed out as a hawk appeared to the east of them. Every time they made camp the hawk circled the site and every time they headed out the hawk flew off in the direction they would go all the way eastward. Even then he might have doubted the old man’s words as senility but for the hawk.


Then at last they came to a place where there were a lot of sheep and the hawk circling around. But at last it flew high, higher than an eagle and disappeared never to be seen by him again into heaven. So he prayed after thinking, ‘How am I to find his family not to mention the right girl?’ and his prayer went like this, “Lord the Eagle of my master I shall sit by the well and let the first girl that comes to the well to get water for the evening meal be my master’s son’s wife. When I ask her for a drink let her give me one for me and for the ten camels if she is the one.”


Immediately he saw a very beautiful young girl coming to the well. So she came with her water pitcher on her head and seemed not to pay him any mind and went down into the well and down the many steps to the water, filled her pitcher, went back up the steps and came out of the well looking like a beautiful cat so sleek and so beautiful it took his breath away.


He said to her, “May I have a drink?”


She immediately let down her pitcher and gave him a drink but said, “Not only you but I will get some water for your camels likewise,” just as the servant had prayed and as the camels drank their fill his face changed into the face of an eagle, the face of a sparrow and the face of a dove.


So he took two large and very costly bracelets of gold and placed them on her wrists as she looked at him wondering what it could mean. Then starting with the old man and his pledge and the promise, he related the entire story to her and when she heard it she ran off toward the house with her pitcher.


She met her brother about halfway and told him what the servant had said.


So he replied, “I will go see!” and when he got to the servant he told him the same story and her brother said, “What are you all doing sitting around out here? Come to the house oh blessed man! We have food for all of you and a place for your camels and fodder enough too.”


So he followed her brother to the house.


When he got to the house he told the father and his wife his master’s aunt what he had told the others and asked, “If I have the right people tell me. If not let me go on so that I may somehow find the right one.”


But they all agreed he had the right ones and they praised the Eagle!!!


Then he brought in all the gifts, jewels and gold and silver and cloth and clothing for the brother and his mother, but none for the father since it might have been taken as a bribe and it was all his anyway.


Then they ate and drank and rested, him and his men and the family but in the morning the servant said to her mother and brother, “Let us go so that we may go to my master’s son. I do not want to waste a minute.”


But her mother said, “Let her stay with us ten days and then you can head out.”


But he insisted.


So the brother said, “Let’s call the girl and let her decide.”


Then he called her name and she came to them and he asked her whether she wanted to be the old man’s son’s wife and whether she wanted to wait before they headed out.


She said, “I will go now today!!!”


So they loaded the well fed and watered camels and the girls friends came along to be her nurse and her servants when she got there and prayed to the Eagle to thank him and to bless her a hundred times as much as she would have had and finally they left.


“What did you see, my boy?” the dog asked again.


“I saw a man sitting in a field meditating all alone as if waiting for someone. Tell me is he waiting for the girl, his cousin to come from the east where the hawk led them, or for someone else maybe?”


“You saw him!” he said, “It is him the day he first saw the camels coming from the far place in the east!


The girl saw him and asked the servant, ‘Who is that who walks to meet us?’


“Why, it’s my master, the son of my master, the old man I told you of,” he said.


She got down off the camel having made it kneel and slipped on a veil and covered herself with it and when her fiance came to the caravan he greeted the servant who again related the tale this time with the added details of finding the girl. Then he took the girl to his mother’s tent, removed her veil and immediately they consummated their marriage and he was consoled after his mother’s demise.”


“Now what do you see?” the dog asked.


“I see two dogs, a nice sleek dog like a huge black lab and a scraggly one that looks like a hungry wolf and they are chained so that neither can reach the other and they snarl at each other as two nations that are destined to go to war,” he said.


“Shall you listen to the Sparrow to know the mystery of the two dogs that are enemies though they are the only two of the same litter?” the dog asked.


“Let the Dove tell it for I know he only speaks what he hears and it would be good to hear it from the Sparrow through him,” the boy said.


“Well said,” the dog replied.


“They were twins which were very rare in those days,” said the Dove, “Battling even in the womb so that their mother went to ask the Eagle what was going on with her pregnancy and he said, ‘There are two nations in your womb like two manner of peoples. Do not be alarmed you will have twins!’ But the Eagle had also said, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ So there was a struggle in the womb and at the birth also yet she was very happy. But even then she favored the more tranquil one for he caused her the least concern but their father the girl’s husband, the polar bear was partial to the wild one thinking him macho,’ the Dove said, “But when they came out one was covered with red fur and the second who had a hold of the heel of the one to come out first seemed to still be fighting to  be first and therefore the oldest.


Now the one with red fur was an excellent hunter but he had to go a long way to get a deer like his father the polar bear loved so much. He came in from the field one day so hungry he was very weak. So when he went into the large tent and all the servants of their father whom he was to manage when his father died and he was already of advanced age he saw his brother who was almost hairless cooking some stew in a pot.


“Give me some of that red stew I am about to die,” he weakly asked his brother.


“You ask for stew from me, do you?” he said, “I won’t give you any unless … If you will give me your birthright I will give you all you want.”


“What do I care about my birthright now?” the furry brother managed. “Can’t you see I am about to die?”


He would die too if he did not get some nourishment to give him energy for his heart was near to giving out on him he had worked so hard having nearly worked his healthy heart to the brink of stopping.


“Swear to me, your birthright is mine,” his brother said. “Then I will give you the full pot if you want it?”


Every ear in the tent was turned to the conversation and no one moved or said a word and one could feel the air as if it were almost made of water.


“I swear that the birthright is yours,” the red furred one said, “Now give me my stew.”


He was so weak that had it not been as still and quiet as it was he might not have been heard but even the wind outside the tent was still.


The younger brother gave him bowl after bowl of the stew and when he was full he turned down the last bowl, got up, and left without a word.


Then later their father sent for the one who had given up the birthright for the inheritance and called for him to speak to him.


“What is it, my beloved father,” he said as he went to visit his father not knowing his mother was standing just outside the door and heard everything.


“Go now and get me a deer so that I can eat some of that delicious stew you make and can have my spirit at ease so that I can give you your blessing which is binding before the Eagle. Go now and when I have eaten I will give you my full blessing like I plan,” their father said and his mother who loved the other of the two fled so she would not be seen.


Now after the furry one had gone she sent for her favorite son and told him what was going to happen. “Go now and kill and dress a young goat and bring it to me and you shall receive the blessing of your father who is nearly blind too.”


“He will know it is me and it will be worse for me than if I had done nothing!” her son replied.


“Listen to me!” she said, “And if he curses you let the curse be on me.”


So the hairless one went and did what she wanted him to and she made a very good stew of the goat meat, sewed it’s hide together on his hands and arms and around his neck, his face and put a coat on him that his hairy brother, a mink, and sent him to his father instead of his  brother the mink.


“Here I am, Father with your stew,” the hairless one said, who was a cat with no fur.


“Is it really you my favorite son?” said the father, “How did you get the deer so quickly?”


“It was not far off,” the cat said.


“It is the voice of a cat I hear but you say you are my mink?” the father said, “Are you sure you are my son the mink? Come here so that I can touch your face with a kiss, my son.”


So the hairless cat went to his father and he kissed him on the face where his mother had placed a scarf of goat hair. Then he was almost convinced it was the mink but after he felt his arm and his hands he was totally convinced.


“The voice is the cat but he is a man not a cat covered with red fur?” his father said, “Set the stew here by the bed and I shall eat and be refreshed that I might bless my favorite son.”


So the hairless cat disguised as a hairy man did, saying, “Here Father is some wine on your left about at about ninety degrees.”


Then the polar bear tasted the soup made just the way he liked with a lot of garlic and never noticed the difference between venison and goat meat.


After the meal he smelled the coat the hairless cat had on and said, “It is the odor of the great outdoors, the aroma of the field. It is a certainty that it is my favorite son. You have done well my son.”


Then his father, a prophet blessed the hairless cat with every blessing he could possibly give anyone and the cat left having stolen the blessing meant for his brother the mink.


He had scarcely left when the mink returned and immediately went about preparing the venison stew making it just the way he knew his father liked it, with a lot of garlic for he had always loved garlic but had trouble tasting it for he was very old and he thought he would die soon.


When he went in to see his father the mink said, “Here I am your favorite person in the world my Father.”


“How can that be?” his father said. “Then who was it that I blessed just a short time ago?”


“I have only now returned, Father that I might arrive quickly to receive your blessing,” the mink said. “It could not be me.”


“O God, my Eagle! Is it he that tricked me, that damned cat? Why, you never warned me either!!!”


The Eagle screeched, “You did not ask!”


“Father!” cried the mink in a voice as loud as an elephant’s roar and as heart broken as a man who had killed his favorite person as if it had been by accident whom he loved more than his life. It was so loud that even the cat heard him in the tent where the servants gather when they are not busy, him cooking lentil stew like he did the day he stole his brother’s birthright. “Father! Bless me also!!! What is the difference? Surely you can bless me also!!! Bless me too!!!”


“What am I to bless you with?” his father moaned in the wake of his blunder. “I have given that damned cat everything, my favorite son.”


“That bald cat!!!” the mink cried in distress. “He has tricked you! And the Eagle let him!!! These two times he has tricked me. First with my birthright and now with my blessing!!!” and he fell upon his father and wept bitterly blaming his brother and God for his misfortune, but what was the Eagle to do? The mink never acknowledged him that he knew of no matter how many times he blessed his hunt.


The next day the mink was overheard by a servant who told his mother, “I have heard the mink’s words against the cat. He said, ‘My father does not have long to live or he will have no senses left for he cannot tell goat from venison. After the funeral I will kill that damned cat.’”


She was alarmed and summoned her favorite person in the entire earth. When he came she met him outside the tent and said, “Your brother the mink purposes to kill you! So do as I say and quickly. Go to my brother in the country of father’s and my kin and I will send you a message when he has cooled off for he is so angry no one could stop him!!”


His mother said to his father, “My son! My only son! If he takes a wife from these dreaded women around here like the mink did (For he had married sisters of a local where they lived.) I shall despair of life and be in hell on earth. Oh! I will surely die if you do not send him back to our family in the east.”


So their father sent for the cat to humor his wife and sent him to the land of their homeland in the east not expecting him to leave the very next day without so much as a farewell for he was a fugitive on the lam because of his brother a man with red fur but a man that was a mink in spirit and often manifested that way.


But on his way to the east he stopped to camp and because it was nearly dark instead of trying to find something for a pillow he took a large rock and laid it at the top of his bedding and lay down to sleep. But during the night he saw the heavens open and birds going up and down on a ladder. He said to himself, ‘This must be the doorway to heaven.’


So when morning came he took the rock which was more of a pillar for it was much longer than it was wide and he set it upright and poured oil on top of it to anoint it as a holy thing to mark the spot and prayed on its altar, “O mighty Eagle now I know you are God! If you will guide me to my mother’s kin I will believe in you forever but please bring me back home safely.” Then he changed and became a man with an eagle face



© 2021 John Carver


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Added on May 10, 2021
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Author

John Carver
John Carver

Bemidji, MN



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