Lu Lee & the Magic Cat

"To live into the future means to leap into the unknown." Rollo May





Once upon a time there was a lonely man named Lu Lee. He was a poor man. He lived in a small one room house by himself, and he was often sad because he had no friends. He had no friends because he was different from other people and he lived in a land where people who are different are often made to feel unwelcome.

One day, as Lu Lee lay dreaming on his bed, he was visited by a Siamese cat, the most beautiful Siamese he had ever seen. The cat had come in through an open window and leaped up onto the bed with him.

As he stroked her silky cinnamon fur, she purred deeply so that Lu Lee closed his eyes and began to dream. He dreamed about the many girls he had loved from afar, and the many ways his heart had been broken because in the end he was different from others and he lived in a country where people who are different are made to feel unwelcome.

When he opened his eyes, he couldn't believe what he saw. A beautiful Oriental girl curled beside him, wrapped in a white towel, his hand gently gliding over the silkiness of her bare shoulder.
"Now this is a very beautiful dream," Lu Lee thought to himself, and he closed his eyes once more as she nestled beside him.

When he opened his eyes again, his hand was stroking the soft fur of the cat, whose dark eyes glistened brightly as she purred.

"Would you like some milk little kitten?" Lu Lee asked.

The cat stood and stretched and seemed to nod.

Lu Lee found a container of milk and a bowl and brought them to the cat. In his excitement, he spilled some of the milk onto the floor.

"Do you have a name?" he asked as the cat lapped up the spilt milk. Then he said, "I'm going to call you Cinnamon." He said this because her silk fur was cinnamon colored, except for her black face.
After that, Cinnamon became Lu Lee's very special friend. For a whole summer, she visited him every single day.

But then one day, Cinnamon failed to appear at his window as she always had each morning leaving Lu Lee's heart broken anew.

"How can it be," Lu Lee said to himself, "that I have so loved this cat who brings me dreams? I am so lonely I could die. If only I were rich, I could buy gifts and I would have many friends. But I have nothing to give. I am just a poor man with nothing."

For many months he did not see the Siamese cat whom he had named Cinnamon. And while he longed with all his heart to see her again, he knew that cats have a mind of their own and must be left free to come and go as they please. It was a lonely, cold winter for Lu Lee, yet he comforted himself by remembering the magic dreams she had given him.

To Lu Lee's great surprise, when spring came the magical cat returned. He wasn't thinking of her at all when, suddenly, there she was standing silently on his window sill. She looked different to him somehow. Tears of joy moistened his eyes. But there was a different look in Cinnamon's eyes this day. When he stroked her fur, she purred differently than before and when she became the beautiful woman of his dreams, she looked different, too, because she was now heavy with child, her tummy round and full.

Lu Lee said, "What's this?" He was quite astonished.

"This is your child, Lu Lee."

"But how can it be? You are only a dream," he replied.

"Ah, but not really. This is a magic dream, Lu Lee, and I am as real as your are. And so are your children."

"My children!" Lu Lee cried out.

"You will have many children," said the girl.

"But how can that be?" asked Lu Lee.

"You will see." And with these words she became a Siamese cat once more, only this time Lu Lee could see she was quite pregnant.

For half a morning Lu Lee watched the cat as she paced about the room, sticking her nose into every conceivable corner and cranny. At last, she sprawled out upon a thin, frayed cushion and patiently gave birth to seven tiny kittens. Lu Lee leaned over to watch as she nursed her wriggling, mewing kits, his eyes aglow with amazement and awe.

For several weeks Cinnamon stayed with Lu Lee, nursing her litter, until one night when he returned from a walk the cat was gone, leaving Lu Lee to take care of her seven babies. All that night he lay awake thinking what he should do. He even asked God what he should do, because he did not know what to do.

Now Lu Lee had an old overcoat with big pockets, and when the sun came up he took the seven kittens and placed them in the great pockets of his coat. He had determined that day to find homes for these kittens. He decided he would find seven children who had no fathers and present each with the gift of a kitten. In this way, he believed he should bring a moment of happiness to seven lives in the same way that his magic friend Cinnamon had brought a moment of happiness to his own lonely life.

As he walked through the town, he was surprised by how many lonely children he found. He knew the world was full of fatherless children, but how many he had no idea! As he began giving away his kittens, he soon realized that there were more children than gifts, and he almost began to be sad.

Then a strange thing happened. As Lu Lee was pulling the last kitten from his pocket, he felt something wriggle in his other pocket. "That's funny," he thought, for he was sure he had given away seven kittens. When another small boy with large dark eyes came up to him, he shared a kitten with this boy, too. And as he turned, he felt still more wriggling and felt down inside the pocket to discover yet another lively little furball. For that whole day, his pockets yielded an endless supply of kittens.

Word quickly spread of the miracle of the kittens and of Lu Lee's generosity.

The next day many of the children came to see him, to thank him. (Of course, a few came only to see more miracles or to see what else he might give them, because some people always like to get something for nothing.)

To each one that came, Lu Lee gave a story or a riddle or a game or told a joke. And it seemed there was no end to the stories, riddles and games, and no matter how often the children came, his imagination produced as much good cheer as his pockets had previously yielded kittens.

Lu Lee's happiness was great because he recognized that this was what the magical Cinnamon had meant when she said he would have many children.

In time, Lu Lee became the happiest man in all that country, for all the children who knew him loved him. And he loved them as well. He envisioned himself as father of them all.

When he was very old and full of years, it was said that Lu Lee had thousands of children, for the town had grown to be a big city which over time produced multitudes of children who had no fathers. Nevertheless, Lu Lee managed to find nearly every one, and to each he had given something special which could never be taken.

A few of us were with him the day he left this world for the next. To the end he lived simply in his modest one room house. He had often encouraged us to be dreamers and even on this last day he told us to hold onto our dreams. Yet it wasn't until the last pulses of sunset were being massaged into the horizon that he shared with us the secret of his joy. The room had become so still you could hear the petals closing on the tulips that lined his bedstead, and as day finally yielded to night, Lu Lee whispered, "There is no greater joy than giving." Then, smiling, he breathed his last.

-30-


copyright 1994 ed newman
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an original story by ed newman

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