I’ve been so brisk about my business as a poet, I’ve had no time to pen my diurnal [journal].
And I have a new friend. Smokie, he sayt they call him. But I go too fast.
First, my tale. I was most careful in my preparation. For it come to me that I must start when things are about to change. And tell of Teasel sooner than I did in my diurnal, because he’s our hero.
I broke my tale into five parts, and told it over five of our assemblies.
And I oped with a prowlook [prologue], so that they cats who never before heared a good tale could have an inkling of what was to come. I sayt:
My tale’s of Teasel Puss, courageous cat,
In far off Krete where I do lay my scene,
A spinster’s joy, though scarce worth looking at,
He’s of a brownie hue and somewhat lean.
But here’s a green-eyed milkmaid whose chaste smile,
Did make men long to break their marriage vows,
Till from her fatal loins sprang one so vile,
All knew she’d set her hands on more than cows.
And what became of all the fair young cats,
Who left their mothers thinking they had places
In households where they’d keep down mice and rats,
Yet none e’er saw again their lovely faces?
I’ve puzzles here, enough to leave you dazed,
So prick your ears; prepare to be amazed!
Then I told of the woman who came offering places, and the alehouse talk about a monster with a taste for flesh. And Teasel saying he’ll seek the truth of it. The second part was about the wicked milkmaid and her son the Man-Bull in the laprint [labyrinth]. Yet Teasel says he’ll go there.
Oh, when I spake of how ’twas sayt that the Man-Bull seized young cats with his hands and bit their little heads off, some did scream aloud.
And many sayt they were afeared to go home, because their ways lay through fields with beasts in them, and who knew what those beasts might do?
But all ran off most merry, saying they would not fail our next assembly because they longed to hear what happened next.
They know I’m lying. And I know that I’m lying. But when I tell and they listen, we all think I speak true. And that do maze me more than any laprint could.
Thirdly, I told of the bold cats that join Teasel and of their fearful walk to the Man-Bull’s lair, which Teasel enters first. The fourth part was Teasel’s game with the Man-Bull, and the fight where all help slay him. And fifth, I ended with their flight from the laprint to come safe home.
The cats here loved the tale so well they arrkst for it again. I fear I’ll tire of it afore they do.
I was walking home thinking on this when it come to me that I was followed. I bethought me of that spy cat Master Grey who’d so affrighted me when I was young, but all I saw when I looked back was a cat most courteous, with his ears forward and his tail held high.
He came on a little, then sat hisself down a proper distance from me. I sat too. True, I did wonder if he served Master Grey and wished to know if I had any newes, so I readied myself to be most suttle.
But I have not space enough on this paper for what sayt I to him and he to me, so I’ll tell more when next I write.