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TWO LITTLE KITTENS

THE ROLE OF CATS IN NURSERY RHYMES
by Sarah Hartwell

Two little kittens, one stormy night,
Begun to quarrel, and then to fight;
One had a mouse, the other had none,
And that’s the way the quarrel begun.

“I’ll have that mouse,” said the biggest cat;
“You’ll have that mouse? We’ll see about that!”
“I will have that mouse,” said the eldest son;
“You shan’t have the mouse,” said the little one.

I told you before ’twas a stormy night;
When these two little kittens began to fight;
The old woman seized her sweeping broom,
And swept the kittens right out of the room.

The ground was covered with frost and snow,
And the two little kittens had no where to go;
So they laid them down on the mat at the door,
While the old woman finished sweeping the floor.

Then they crept in, as quiet as mice,
All wet with snow, and cold as ice,
For they found it was better, that stormy night,
To lie down and sleep than to quarrel and fight.

Another cautionary tale about a mother and unruly children who need to learn some manners. In quarrelling over a relatively thing, both kittens end up outside in the cold – no doubt the old woman is fed up listening to their bickering. When they are let back in again, they have learnt the lesson that fighting gets them nowhere. Perhaps next time they will share their toys and play amenably instead of both being punished! A historical/political interpretation suggests it means compromising to avoid the wrath of the monarch – opposing parties who failed to compromise could find themselves “out in the cold” (out of favour).

May 26, 2008 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment


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