Introducing Mimouka enjoying her favorite pastime at home, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Once upon a time, Mister Cat and a monkey named Mimouka lived as pets in the same household. They were at first great friends and enjoyed in all sorts of mischief together. They were simpatico in that they were both had gourmet tastes and they would seek roasted chestnuts by any means necessary.

One evening Mimouka and Mister Cat were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. Mimouka put on her sweetest expression and cooed, “I would gladly get them, but you are much more skillful at such things than I am.” Mister Cat, ever cavalier, hesitated. Mimouka interjected “Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.”

Mister Cat stretched out his paw very carefully, pushing aside some of the cinders, and drew back his paw very quickly. Then he tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and he drew out the chestnut. He performed this feat several times, each time singeing his paw more severely. As fast as he pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, Mimouka let them cool to perfection then ate them up.

Now their human came in, and away chased the rascals away. Mister Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts learned his lesson. From that time on, they say, he contented himself with mice and rats and had little to do with Mimouka.

Monkey cat

The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense. “The Monkey and the Cat” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Crow and the pitcher

A lesson from Aesop: “In a pinch, good use of our wits may help us out.” Design featuring pitcher with an Etruscan cat motif by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A crow with an unquenchable thirst happened upon a pitcher that once had been full of water. The crow tucked her beak into the pitcher only to discover that much of the water had evaporated and the pitcher was nearly empty. She could not reach down far enough to get at the water. She tried and tried until she stopped in despair.

Then a thought came to her… she took a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher, then another, then another, and another, and another, until the water slowly rose close to the rim. After casting a few more pebbles in, she learned that little by little does the trick, and she was able to quench her thirst at last.

Aesop Crow and the Pitcher Notecard