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The Cat Who Went to Heaven

A Story by Elizabeth Coatsworth

In ancient Japan, a poor artist was waiting for his housekeeper and when she came home with a basket and a cloth covering the top, the artist hoped she had brought home some food. But when the housekeeper opened the cover, there in the basket was only a little cat. The artist was angered at his housekeeper for only bringing a cat, not food, so the housekeeper told the artist the every night she is awakened by rats. The artist wanted to see the cat, so the cat jumped out of the basket without making the basket move. The artist saw that she was white and had yellow and black spots and a tail like a rabbit. The artist said that a three-colored cat will give luck to them. So they named her Good Fortune.

One day the priest of the temple wanted to see him, so the housekeeper bought some tea and cakes. When the priest arrived he asked the artist to do a painting of the death of the Buddha. Then the priest gave the artist a heavy purse filled of coins as his first payment. The artist thanked him and gave him some tea. The housekeeper, Good Fortune the cat, and the artist were very happy.

Early the next morning the artist woke up and began his painting after praying to Buddha. Good Fortune was there but she was silent and did not disturb him. In the next days, he painted the Buddha and the Japanese gods who came to say goodbye to the Buddha. Then he thought about what animals visited the Buddha before he died, and then he remembered a story of a snail who sacrificed himself for the Buddha, and so the artist drew the snail first.

After the artist drew the snail, the artist drew the elephant because of his size and strength and wisdom. Next the artist drew the horse because of his noble bearing and fiery spirit. Next he drew the swan because of how they follow their kings on mighty flights along the road of the air. After he would draw the artist would eat and rest. Good Fortune was always with him and watched him work.

Next the artist painted the buffalo for its honesty and self-respect, and then he drew the dog for its fidelity and willingness to help other people. He also drew the deer because of its timidity and gentle courage. After he drew the deer he drew the monkey for its compassion, and then the tiger for its fierceness.

After every drawing of an animal for many days, Good Fortune looked sadder and touched the sleeve of her master, looking at him. Good Fortune was watching, waiting for the artist to paint a cat. But according to Japanese legend, the cat refused to accept the teachings of the Buddha. So the artist just looked at Good Fortune but did not draw a cat. Good Fortune sat down with sad eyes. The artist saw how sad the cat was, so he told the housekeeper to bring Good Fortune outside till the painting was done. The housekeeper made a nice dish of fish for the cat, but Good Fortune would refuse to eat and waited for the artist to be done.

In the room the artist felt so sad for the little cat that he painted a little three- colored cat as the last animal and the artist let Good Fortune in the painting. And when Good Fortune saw the painting, she looked at the picture so long with the drawing of a cat. Happily she looked at the artist with her gratitude. Then because she was weak Good Fortune fell dead, but she looked very happy.

The artist gave the painting to the priest. When the priest saw the little three-colored cat he was very angry and said that the painting should be burned the next day. In his home the housekeeper cried in the kitchen and did not disturb the artist.

Then the next day, the priest told the artist that they will not burn the painting at all. A miracle happened. The artist had painted the great Buddha with his hands folded upon his breast. But now, like he is approving the new painting, the Buddha’s drawing changed. The Buddha had stretched out an arm like giving a blessing to a tiny cat bowing with a happy face. Finally, the cat went to heaven.

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Book Report: The Courage of Sarah Noble

Title: The Courage of Sarah Noble

Author: Alice Dalgliesh

Setting: In the forest and in the new settlement in New Milford

 

Characters:

1. Sarah Noble, an 8-year old girl

2. John Noble, Sarah’s father

3. Mistress Robinson, a settler in the area

4. The Indian children, new friends of Sarah

5. Tall John, an Indian

6. Sarah’s mother

7. Sarah’s brothers and sisters

 

Plot:

Sarah Noble was lying under a tree one night. She, her father and their horse were going to the wilderness. John Noble, her father, bought a piece of land in New Milford which is far away from their own land, and they have to go there so her father can build a house where there family could live.

 

The darkness was all around her, but through the branches she could see one bright star. She remembered that in the morning her mother told her to keep her courage during the trip with her father. So that night, sleeping under a tree with her father, she began to hear strange sounds. Her father told her they were an owl, a fox and a wolf. And Sarah tried to be brave, remembering what her mother told her about keeping her courage.

 

They continued to travel in the morning and the next night they went to a settlement. The saw a house that was brown and it looked like home. Her father said that they will be staying there for the night Sarah’s father introduced the family to her. The woman named Mistress Robinsons led them near the fire. Then they invited them to dinner. That night Sarah and her father slept by the fire.

 

After travelling some more, Sarah, her father and their horse Thomas were already weary. The Indian trail had been narrow; the hills went up and down, up and down. Sarah and her father were tired, but John Noble said that it’s only a mile away. So Sarah became happy and even picked some pink flowers and put some on the ear of Thomas.

 

John Noble found a cave in the side of a hill, and made a hut for him and Sarah. He said that they will live there until the house is built. Below there was a valley, and there was the Great River. Sarah looked and looked and liked its beauty.

 

The piece of land was very good, and John Noble would build a home that is big and he would build a fence and shed. While he built the house, Sarah Noble would stay in the cave and guard their place.

 

When her father and Thomas went she got her Bible and read lots of stories. Sarah would read on and on. And then one day she heard sounds. There was a rustling sound of feet coming quietly nearer and nearer to her. And Sarah saw a bright eye peering at her through a clink in the log fence.

 

They were INDIANS!

 

They were crowding to her, but they were young Indians, not any older then she was. Still, there were many of them and Sarah was afraid. But she remembered the words of her mother. So she opened the Bible and read to them. They came nearer and nearer.

 

The Indian children came back again and again to play with Sarah. She was not afraid of them anymore, and she began to know each one. She liked a brother and a sister better than all the others. They would go together where the wild strawberries grew. And when John Noble would come home with a duck he had shot, or a fish caught in the river, Sarah would cook for him and also give him ripe berries.

 

Sarah visited their houses, and found out that her father has a friend named Tall John. And Tall John is the father of her friends. They had lots of fun.

 

Finally, when the house was finished, Sarah’s father need to get their family so they can all live in the new house. Her father told her that Tall John will keep her safe until he comes back. Sarah was sad and was scared, but she kept her courage. She went with Tall John and kissed her father goodbye.

 

Sarah became friends with the Indian children and played with them every day. She also helped the women when they spread the corn out to dry. Until one day, Sarah found her father has come back. She was so happy to see her family! She left the house of Tall John to stay with her mother and the baby and all her brothers and sisters were in their new house.

 

Sarah’s mother told her that she had been brave. She had kept her courage in all the things that happened to her and she was growing fast. She gave Sarah that doll that they brought, and Sarah was happy to see the rest of her family finally together.

 

What was the problem in the story?

Sarah will be away from her home and family and she has to keep her courage in the new land

 

How was the problem solved?

Sarah tried to be courageous and enjoyed all the new things that is happening to her and learned that to be afraid and to be brave is the best courage of all

 

How did the story end?

The story ended with their family together again in the new home that Sarah’s father built

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