Saturday 31 December 2011
the little match girl
My sister Tobias was feral... born in the wild... never meeting a human being when young. Always scared. Always hungry. Always so very, very alone. She lived out on the streets for several years. Not the busy streets of a city but rather the streets of our country sub-division. But it doesn't matter what kind of streets they are, they're still cold in the dead of winter.
For almost three years, my peeps fed Tobias outside. At first, she wouldn't even let them see her. She was so scared of people. My peeps had to leave food outside and then scurry away in order for Tobias to approach. Eventually, Tobias grew to understand that my particular peeps are pretty good as far as peeps go. She started to trust them. She still wouldn't let them touch her or anything like that but she'd let peep #1 see her. And that was a big step for a little feral girl.
One evening... it was a Wednesday early in January... my peep was getting ready to go to her caterwauling (uh, sorry... choral society) practise. She was just putting on a warm coat - because that particular night was bitterly cold - when she glanced out the front door. There was Tobias, coming up the path to the veranda. Of course, the peep put her coat back in the closet and went to prepare some warm food for the little girl.
When peep #1 opened the door, little Tobias was standing on the doorstep. She looked up at my peep, plaintively. How could the night be so very, very cold? Tobias couldn't understand why the world was causing her to suffer so much. She would first lift one paw, then another and then another... knowing that if she left any one paw for too long on the cold cement, it might freeze right to it. Oh, that night was so, so cold. Tears welled up in Tobias' eyes. She fought to hold them back. Tobias knew that tears are made of water and water freezes in the bitter cold.
At that moment, little Tobias made a decision. Looking inside the doorway, she saw light and felt warmth. She knew that inside that house was a better place than outside in the cold. It was so very, very cold. Overcoming all the fears that had developed over the years as a feral cat, Tobias came a little closer to the door and the peep. Then she walked inside.
Well, my peep is good. That was all it took. She slammed that door shut so quickly she must have broken a world record. Tobias was in!
When my peep reminds me of how Tobias became my sister, I often think back to the story she once read to me about The Little Match Girl. The poor little girl who froze to death while looking through a window into a brightly lit room with people warm and snug while celebrating with food and music. I think of the poor little match girl and am so thankful that that is not what became of my little Tobias.
Some of you may be wondering why my peep even bothered to read The Little Match Girl to me at all. Reading stories to cats is silly, right? Well, keep this in mind... I'm a cat... and I have a blog... AND YOU'RE READING IT!!! Silly, my tail!