Why Cthulhu and Darth Vader didn’t have cats

Last time someone was sitting with a cat on their lap, I thought of the tale of the Goldcrest and the Eagle. Ever heard it? I’m not sure, as it works much better in French. Here it is, in case you haven’t.

In French, goldcrests are called “roitelets”, which means “little kings”; “little” because they are tiny birds, and “king”… well, you’ll see why.

Once upon a time the lion was crowned King of Animals. But the birds were not satisfied. Their own kingdom was the sky, where no lion has ever been able to go. And sure enough, the Lion didn’t care all that much about the skies, so he agreed and asked them who would be their king.

“I’ll be the King!” the crow cawed, “because I’m the cleverest of birds!”

“Brains without wisdom are useless,” said the albatross, “and as I live longest of all birds, I’ll be wiser than any one of you. I should be King.”

“And why not choose a king that can speak, and parley with other kings? Why not choose me?” said the mynah bird.

The debate got heated very quickly, until the Lion roared in annoyance: “ENOUGH! I am the King of Animals, remember? I’ll choose my own vassal. But since I am just and wise, I’ll give the title to the most deserving. Let all the birds fly as high as they can into the sky. The one that can touch the sun will receive a crown!”

The birds all agreed to this with vocal enthusiasm, even ostriches and hens and kiwis, which proves that the Lion’s reign was just and democratic and satisfied everyone. The next day, they assembled before the Lion’s palace. The Lion had a gun in one hand and binoculars in the other. He fired, and the birds all soared to the sky.

The sun was very high and very hot. One by one, the birds slowed down, and flew down to the ground. Only the Eagle carried on and on. The Lion followed him with his binoculars and a smile on his face. Now it must be said that what cows and gazelles have been gossiping about, that the Lion and the Eagle had always been good friends and that both privately agreed that only predators should be kings, is a completely false accusation, and they even apologised publicly before being served at the Lion’s table, which is the best proof you need. A couple of chimpanzees had taken out their binoculars too, and watched as the Eagle slowed down, silhouetted against the sun. Then, just as the Eagle started his descent, they glimpsed a tiny silhouette that took off from the Eagle’s head and soared, just a little bit higher, just as the Eagle was too exhausted to catch up.

“Holy cow!” cried the Lion, and the chimpanzees who had seen everything.

When the Eagle was back on the ground again, exhausted, a tiny silhouette hopped from his head. It was the Goldcrest, who, it turned out, had been hidden among his feathers all along, and only had to take off at the last moment. But the chimpanzees were unanimous: the Goldcrest had reached higher than the Eagle. He was the one who should be King of Birds. And before the Lion could say anything, the little bird, puffing with pride and still no bigger than a nut, received a tiny golden crown.

Centuries later, the chimps started to walk on hind legs and call themselves humans, and decided that being hairless and thin-skinned and bipedal was more relevant than brains or wisdom or strength when it came to choose a King for all the Animals, and so they crowned themselves. But they hadn’t counted on a simple truth of the universe: you can be as big, strong, clever, cheeky, hairless or loud as you like, there will always be someone to thwart your plans for world domination. This time the challenger came in the form of a small, furry, long-eared and damnably cute mammal. They called him the Cat. He was the chimps’ undoing.

Now it is established that humans can be as powerful as they like, when they come home to their cats, they will still be reduced to the pitiful state of pillows, tin openers, and personal grooms. No matter their power and their wealth, they are nothing when chided by a dignified mewing cat. The only way they can escape is by not allowing one into their house. Once it gets there, the most evil plans for world domination are doomed. You will always be second to a miawing furry thing.

And this is why Cthulhu and Darth Vader never wanted anything to do with cats.


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