"I never shall," said the Woman, "but if I say two words in your praise, you may sit by the fire in the Cave."
And if you say three words?" said the Cat.
"I never shall," said the Woman, "but if I say three words in your praise, you may drink the warm white milk three times a day for always and always and always."
Then the Cat arched his back and said, "Now let the Curtain at the mouth of the Cave, and the Fire at the back of the Cave, and the Milk-pots that stand beside the Fire, remember what my Enemy and the Wife of my Enemy has said." And he went away through the Wet Wild Woods waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone.
That night when the Man and the Horse and the Dog came home from hunting, the Woman did not tell them of the bargain that she had made with the Cat, because she was afraid that they might not like it.
Cat went far and far away and hid himself in the Wet Wild Woods by his wild lone for a long time till the Woman forgot all about him. Only the Bat--the little upside-down Bat--that hung inside the Cave, knew where Cat hid; and every evening Bat would fly to Cat with news of what was happening.
One evening Bat said, "There is a Baby in the Cave. He is new and pink and fat and small, and the Woman is very fond of him."
"Ah," said the Cat, listening, "but what is the Baby fond of?"
"He is fond of things that are soft and tickle," said the Bat. "He is fond of warm things to hold in his arms when he goes to sleep. He is fond of being played with. He is fond of all those things."
"Ah," said the Cat, listening, "then my time has come."
Next night Cat walked through the Wet Wild Woods and hid very near the Cave till morning-time, and Man and Dog and Horse went hunting. The Woman was busy cooking that morning, and the Baby cried and interrupted. So she carried him outside the Cave and gave him a handful of pebbles to play with. But still the Baby cried.
Then the Cat put out his paddy paw and patted the Baby on the cheek, and it cooed; and the Cat rubbed against its fat knees and tickled it under its fat chin with his tail. And the Baby laughed; and the Woman heard him and smiled.
Then the Bat--the little upside-down bat--that hung in the mouth of the Cave said, "O my Hostess and Wife of my Host and Mother of my Host's Son, a Wild Thing from the Wild Woods is most beautifully playing with your Baby."
"A blessing on that Wild Thing whoever he may be," said the Woman, straightening her back, "for I was a busy woman this morning and he has done me a service."
That very minute and second, Best Beloved, the dried horse-skin Curtain that was stretched tail-down at the mouth of the Cave fell down--whoosh!--because it remembered the bargain she had made with the Cat, and when the Woman went to pick it up--lo and behold!--the Cat was sitting quite comfy inside the Cave.
"O my Enemy and Wife of my Enemy and Mother of my Enemy," said the Cat, "it is I: for you have spoken a word in my praise, and now I can sit within the Cave for always and always and always. But still I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me."
Then the Woman laughed and set the Cat a bowl of the warm white milk and said, "O Cat, you are as clever as a man, but remember that your bargain was not made with the Man or the Dog, and I do not know what they will do when they come home."
"What is that to me?" said the Cat. "If I have my place in the Cave by the fire and my warm white milk three times a day I do not care what the Man or the Dog can do."
That evening when the Man and the Dog came into the Cave, the Woman told them all the story of the bargain while the Cat sat by the fire and smiled. Then the Man said, "Yes, but he has not made a bargain with me or with all proper Men after me.' Then he took off his two leather boots and he took up his little stone axe (that makes three) and he fetched a piece of wood and a hatchet (that is five altogether), and he set them out in a row and he said, "Now we will make our bargain. If you do not catch mice when you are in the Cave for always and always and always, I will throw these five things at you whenever I see you, and so shall all proper Men do after me."
"Ah," said the Woman, listening, "this is a very clever Cat, but he is not so clever as my Man."
The Cat counted the five things and he said, "I will catch mice when I am in the Cave for always and always; but still I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me."
"Not when I am near," said the Man. "If you had not said that last I would have put all these things away for always and always and always; but I am now going to throw my two boots and my little stone axe (that makes three) at you whenever I meet you. And so shall all proper Men do after me!"
Then the Dog said, "Wait a minute. He has not made a bargain with me or with all proper Dogs after me." And he showed his teeth and said, "If you are not kind to the Baby while I am in the Cave for always and always and always, I will hunt you till I catch you, and when I catch you I will bite you. And so shall all proper Dogs do after me."
"Ah," said the Woman, listening, "this is a very clever Cat, but he is not so clever as the Dog."
Cat counted the Dog's teeth (and they looked very pointed) and he said, "I will be kind to the Baby while I am in the Cave, as long as he does not pull my tail too hard, for always and always and always. But still I am the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to me."
"Not when I am near," said the Dog. "If you had not said that last I would have shut my mouth for always and always and always; but now I am going to hunt you up a tree whenever I meet you. And so shall all proper Dogs do after me."
Then the Man threw his two boots and his little stone axe (that makes three) at the Cat, and the Cat ran out of the Cave and the Dog chased him up a tree; and from that day to this, Best Beloved, three proper Men out of five will always throw things at a Cat whenever they meet him, and all proper Dogs will chase him up a tree. But the Cat keeps his side of the bargain too. He will kill mice and he will be kind to Babies when he is in the house, just as long as they do not pull his tail too hard. But when he has done that, and between times, and when the moon gets up and night comes, he is the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to him. Then he goes out to the Wet Wild Woods or up the Wet Wild Trees or on the Wet Wild Roofs, waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone.
1. Which is NOT one of the ways that the Woman improves the Man's life?
a. She moves the Man out of his pile of wet leaves. b. She teaches the Man to clean up after himself.
c. She starts the fire and keeps it fed. d. She attracts helpful animal companions.
2. What is the main reason why the Wild Dog approaches the cave?
a. He is hungry. b. He is attracted to the warmth of the fire.
c. He is trying to protect the other animals. d. He wants to be petted by the Man and the Woman.
3. Which statement about the Cat is false?
a. The Cat is sneaky. b. The Cat finds a way to get what he wants.
c. The Cat's attitude gets him into trouble. d. The Cat is eager to please others.
4. Which is the correct order of events?
a. The Cat and the Woman make a deal, the Baby is born, and then the Horse becomes the Man's servant
b. The Dog becomes Man's friend, the Baby is born, and then the Cat meets the Woman for the first time
c. The Horse becomes the Man's servant, the Baby is born, and then the Dog becomes Man's friend
d. The Cat meets the Woman for the first time, the Baby is born, and then the Cat angers the Man
5. Which character is also known as The Giver of Good Food?
a. The Man b. The Woman
c. The Cow d. The Cat
6. The Cat makes a deal with the Woman by doing ALL of the following EXCEPT?
a. The Cat plays with the Baby. b. The Cat helps the Baby sleep.
c. The Cat flatters the Woman. d. The Cat makes the Man laugh.
7. Which animal is the Cat's closest friend?
a. The Bat b. The Dog
c. The Horse d. The Cow
8. What is the author's purpose in referring to the reader as "Best Beloved"?
a. He truly appreciates each and every one of his readers and is expressing his love.
b. He is acting as though the story is being told to a child.
c. He is writing this story in the olden days when everyone was called "Best Beloved."
d. He wants the reader to feel comfortable so he is being sweet and endearing.
9. Which poetic device or technique is used in the following sentence?
"The smoke of the fire at theback of the Cave came down in clouds from the roof--puff!"
a. Rhyme b. Simile
c. Onomatopoeia d. Repetition
10. This text attempts to explain each of the following EXCEPT?
a. This text explains why cats catch mice. b. This text explains why cats always land on their feet.
c. This text explains why cats and dogs fight. d. This text explains why cats get along with babies.