A Cat May Look at a King – or – A Feminist Fable with a Cat, a King, a Curse and a Kaleidoscope
Felina strolled past the palace twice a day. The royal guard dogs would get hysterical every time, slobbering and barking and quivering with their fury and rage, as she paraded in front of the iron gates. The cat, cool and sophisticated, would ignore them.
Once or twice, she boldly teased them by sitting down, just a breath away from their snarling muzzles, to wash herself with dainty unconcern. Most days, she wouldn’t even acknowledge them with a twitch of whisker or tail.
Felina was a beautiful cat, and as she walked there were ripples of silver, pearl and black like fluttering ribbons of watered silk. Felina was a true aristocrat, all elegant bones and knowing, haughty eyes.
The King hated her.
She had all the freedom in the world. She walked with her insolent tail held high and jaunty, as close to a wild thing as any mortal creature in his kingdom. A Queen. An Empress. A Witch.
The King envied her. He was a bitter, small-souled man. His people feared him, for he was bad-tempered and cared for little other than his own desires.
Felina knew the King was watching her. She was used to people staring at her. Her jewel-jade eyes never met his steaming gaze. She didn’t care…and her uncaring stung the King like a thousand poisoned needles.
The King wanted her. He wanted her to be frightened by his dogs. He wanted to her to see him, to be reflected in her green eyes – like a kaleidoscope – as a million powerful men worthy of her respect. He wanted to tear her casual elegance to shreds. He wanted to her to see him.
He went to his Royal Wizard with a request. “Curse the cat,” he ordered. “I want her freedom, her wildness, to be taken away from her. I want her to be changed into the form of the ugliest, most miserable creature in the kingdom.”
“As you wish, milord.”
That night, the King went to bed a nearly happy man. In the morning, he woke up as a stunted tomcat.
Queen Felina rules in the palace. She sets the dogs onto every cat she sees lurking around the palace gates. She has dismissed the Royal Wizard. Her people love their kind and graceful queen, so beautiful with her silver hair and pearls and black silk dresses. She strolls around the palace gardens twice a day, cool and content, as she surveys her well-run kingdom with knowing, haughty, green eyes.