Once upon a time there was a cat who lived in a field beside a river. He often wished he could swim – for across the water was a large pigeon house full of tame and well fed birds.
One day someone brought a horse and put it in the field and the two animals started to talk. I’m thinking of swimming across the river to graze on some of that lovely ripening corn on the other side said the horse.
I can’t swim. Take me on your back please said the cat. The horse agreed and soon they were crossing the river, with the cat holding onto the horses mane.
On the opposite bank, the horse started to graze while the cat leapt on the pigeons, killing several and gorging himself in a very short time.
When he was completely full, the cat started to howl and prance about; the horse tried to stop him. Be careful he said the villagers will come and hearing that terrible racket they will do some do us harm. The cat only said I always do this after I beat it is my habit. The horse was annoyed because it took much longer to eat his fill.
Presently the people of the village heard the cat cries and they came with sticks and stones and attacked the two animals. The horse had to stop eating and with the cat on his back, he swam across the river once more.
You’ve ruined everything the horse told his companion. Now we can’t go back and I’m still hungry. The cat simply said that I can’t help it as it a habit I have. Suddenly the horse started to roll on the grass, trapping the cat beneath him. You’re killing me. I can feel my backbone crack. You Don’t know what you’re doing screamed the cat.
The horse only said well you see it’s my nature after swimming. I always roll.
From Knowing how to Know by Indries Shah
The Cat and the Horse
The Restless Man
The Scorpion and Frog
Meeting on Train
Farmer, Son, Horse
The Frogs and the Snake
Bad luck, Good luck
The Men and the Fruit Tree
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Princess and the Coats