Jimmy was lying on an old cot out in the orchard, getting some of the nice spring sunshine on his thin body. There was an anxious frown on his face now, and every little while he would turn on his side, look through the orchard, and call |Kittv kitty! kitty! Annette, Come, Ann-ette.|
But Annette did not come. His mother came and reminded him that Annette was very old indeed, and it might be that she would never come again.
|She was here yesterday, Mother,| he answered her, and the big tears came to his eyes |She felt perfectly fine then.|
|I know, but she's an old cat. She never strays away of her own accord, and certainlv no one would steal an old blind cat.|
Later on during the day a man came walking up to their house. He introduced himself as the new neighbor who just moved across the little creek. He made inquiries as to where he could buy fresh vegetables and milk. And just as he was about to leave he remarked, |I did a strange thing early this morning. There was an old cat came over to my place. One ear was almost gone and it was blind. I'm not much of a hand to make way with things, but I felt so sorry for that poor old animal that I killed it.|
|Oh!| With a strangled sob Jimmy quickly left the room.
His mother explained to the man it had been their old pet. He was very sorry, but of course that did not bring the cat back.
|When I saw it, I just banged it over the head with a stick and then buried it. You will never know how badly I feel about it.|
When he was gone, mother went out to find Jimmy and comfort him. He was out in the orchard on his knees. Quietly she went up and knelt beside him, slipping her arm about his shoulder.
He turned to her at once. |Mother, there's something funny about Annette. I've been praying and I feel all happy inside. It's just as if she wasn't dead at all!|
|What would we ever do without our Comforter, son?| she said. |He does help us bear our burdens in a wonderful way.|
|I'll say he does. This morning I felt so bad I didn't know what to do, and then when that man said -- he had killed Annette -- I thought I just could not stand it. And here I am happy as anything again. And just because I took it all to Jesus. I think Annette is all right now.|
|She was very old, son. It wouldn't have been much longer anyway. Why -- why -- Jimmy!|
But Jimmy was running swiftly across the field toward an old blind cat that was staggering in his direction.
Apparently the new neighbor had only stunned the cat and she had dug her way out of the shallow hole and come home again.
It was years before she really died, and long before she presented Jimmy with a very tiny kitten with two whole ears and two very bright eyes.
This story may sound strange to you, so perhaps I had better add that it is really true.
-- Mary M. Naylor.