Thursday, December 25, 2008
The Christmas Day Kitten!
Our book this Christmas Day is The Christmas Day Kitten by All Creatures Great and Small author James Herriot. This is a little children's book he did in 1976, with horrifying illustrations by Ruth Brown. It's the story of sweet-natured Mrs. Pickering:
A feral cat is in the habit of visiting Mrs. Pickering, especially on cold, snowy days. This cat, Debbie, doesn't ask much - she mostly enjoys basking by the fireside for a while.
And although Herriot concentrates his little parable on the good Debbie ends up bringing into Mrs. Pickering's life, it's quite obvious from Ruth Brown's illustrations that evil has already taken firm root there. If you study this picture, you'll be able to spot it:
Still, Mrs. Pickering soldiers on. She's distraught one Christmas Day when an obviously-ill Debbie brings a single bedraggled kitten to her house.
Herriot is called to attend to the cat, but it's obvious Debbie is dying - much to the delight of the evil lurking just on the other side of the festive Christmas tree:
Debbie dies (gas, needless to say, is suspected), and Mrs. Pickering names the kitten Buster and takes him into her home. This decision causes consternation among the forces of evil that already infest the home, as can be seen in the dark, dead-eyed expressions they wear:
Unfortunately for those forces, however, Buster eventually grows to weigh an entire pound and so proves far too formidable an adversary for evil to confront directly. There's only one possible course of action: instant gloppy belly-exposing submission:
And so Mrs. Pickering and Buster live happily ever after.
The dark clusters of evil still remain - but only because actually leaving would require too much energy:
And the moral of our Christmas story? Be very careful what animals you take into your home.