Chapter 1 part 5

It was some hours later when she awoke to the morning chorus of birdcall from outside. She padded, then leapt, to where she could see outside. How splendid it was, she had a most marvellous garden. She arched her back in celebration and rolled over simultaneously. The net result of this was that she found herself on the floor again, though upright of course for no cat ever falls otherwise. She remounted to the perch and surveyed the scene.

There were trees, lots of them. Some were gnarled old things with spreading branches, one was tall, thin, thickly leaved and seemingly impenetrable, another was thin and spindly. On this latter one, rather closer to the house than the rest, hung a container full of nuts. On the nuts hung what could easily be mistaken as the discarded sleeve of an old fur coat. Kahinoor was not so deceived. Somehow she knew that it was a squirrel, though it was the first time she had ever seen one. Now Kahinoor used to herself a more descriptive word than squirrel, which would mean little to you or I. The roughest translation of it might be “tree crawler”, though that would have lost the essential poetry of the name. she gave to it.

The discovery of a companion of (near) equal intelligence at such an early stage sent Kahinoor into paroxisms of delight. She raced around the room bouncing off walls and shelves and pillows and toes as if she were a ping‑pong ball. Her joy increased when she realised that her servants seemed to have woken up as well, and she decided that they were deserved rewarding for having prepared her such a beautiful domain. Not letting action lag far behind thought, she rubbed herself up against their faces, particularly that of the rough one whose chin was of just the right texture to groom her hair at the same time.