Black Tales for White Children | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in July 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Cat's Tail, The

AT A place called Lamu lived a woman and her husband. One day, whilst they were at meal, a cat came in and looked at them. Now these two people loved to disagree with each other.

               So that woman said to the man, "I say that the tail of a cat is stuck in."

               The man said to his wife, "No, it is not stuck in; it sprouts out."

               So they wrangled together about this matter for many days. At last they disputed so noisily that their neighbours threatened to drive them out of the village. Then, as neither the husband nor the wife would give in, they decided to seek the wise man who lived at Shela, for sure he would know and could settle this great question.

               So they each took a dollar and tied it in the corner of their robes and set out for Shela, quarrelling so hard all the way that everybody turned round to stare at them.

               At last they arrived at the town of Shela and found the wise man at his house. When he saw the big round dollars bulging out of their clothes he smiled upon them and invited them in.

               Then the woman asked him, "Look up for us in your learned books whether a cat's tail is stuck in or whether it sprouts out."

               The man said, "No. Look up whether it does not sprout out or whether it is stuck in."

               The wise man saw that they were fools, so he replied--

               "Give me my fee: one dollar for the answer to the question as to whether the cat's tail is stuck in or whether it sprouts out, and one dollar for the answer as to whether it sprouts out or is stuck in."

               So they each gave him a dollar, and the wise man made great pretence at looking through his books. Finally he said, "You are both wrong; the cat's tail is neither stuck in nor does it sprout out, and it neither sprouts out nor is it stuck in, but it is just stuck on."

               They then returned home in silence, and the wise man stuck to their dollars.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Cat's Tail, The
Tale Author/Editor: Stigand, C. H. & Stigand, Nancy Yulee
Book Title: Black Tales for White Children
Book Author/Editor: Stigand, C. H. & Stigand, Nancy Yulee
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication City: Boston
Year of Publication: 1914
Country of Origin: Africa
Classification: unclassified

Back to Top