Saturday, January 21, 2006
Fergus Goes to Heaven
A story for everyone who has lost a well loved cat. A little wishful thinking for how the world should work.
Fergus trotted eagerly up to the Pearly Gates. It was a glorious day in heaven, blue sky, fluffy white clouds soft beneath his little cat feet. For Fergus, this felt like another Great Adventure. His tail was up and he walked lightly, then bounded forward as the great golden gates opened to admit him.
Past the gates he saw a rainbow and a summer meadow with trees and ponds here and there. And kittens, other kittens like himself, playing and tumbling and climbing the trees and hunting frogs and napping in cozy piles. "What fun!" Fergus thought and he ran to join them.
All day long he played with the other kittens. When he was tired he curled up for a nap. When he was hungry he took a nibble from bowls filled with delicious food. He felt wonderful and nothing hurt. The sun was warm and the air smelled lovely, of leaves and mice running through the grass. He was happy. Weeks passed,
One evening all the kittens gathered under a full moon. There were older cats there too, all in the prime of life, healthy and strong. One, a magnificent ginger tom stood up to speak.
"You kittens need to always remember that here in Heaven is the place for cats to be happy. We are healthy, we are free of misery. On Earth, I had a home when I was a kitten and when I was no longer cute and sharpened my claws on the furniture and the new baby came, the people threw me out. I was hungry and cold. Children chased me and threw things at me. I had fleas and I was sick and no one helped me. I went from door to door and no one would take me in. I had to fight other cats for food and I lost an eye. Then I lay down to sleep in the snow, a big hurt came and I was free. Earth is only misery for cats."
Fergus listened with the others and then a wonderful memory came to him. He stood up.
"That'’s not true," he said. "Earth is a wonderful place. Herself lives there in a big den with many cozy places to sleep. There are fields to run in and mice to chase. In summer there is warm sunlight and in the winter the snow comes down and Herself makes a warm fire for us to sleep by and we look out the windows. She loved me and she gave me good food and treats and caressed me every day and said how wonderful I was. I had a door I could open myself and toys to play with and every night I sat with Herself and watched things move and make sounds on the wall and every night I was safe and cuddled up close to her. She loved me. We were happy. And I loved her. Earth is a beautiful happy place."
The other cats and kittens looked at Fergus with big eyes.
" I never saw Earth," said a very tiny white kitten. " Me and my brothers were drownded."
"”But I remember now, said a gray kitten. " I had a family of people. I grew old and sick but they took care of me. They were kind. When I died, they were sad and water came out of their eyes. They love me too and I loved them."
"Me too", said a black cat with a white face and paws. " I lived with an old woman who was always gentle and warm. We sat in a chair together and I would purr for her and she would stroke my fur. It was wonderful."
"They do love us," Fergus said. He turned his ears to a distant sound. "I can hear Herself. She is calling me, there is water in her eyes, she is sad. I must go to her. I am going back."
"But what if you can'’t find her?" asked the tom. Earth is a big place. You could end up alone and starving.People can be cruel too."
"I will find Her," answered Fergus. "I am going."
And he got up and on his little cat feet he walked back through the perfect meadow and back through the great golden gates, back along the soft white clouds under the beautiful blue sky and just as he was leaving Heaven he looked back one more time at that place with no sorrow and no pain.
And behind him were all the kittens. White ones, black ones, tigers and grays. Calicos and Tuxedos, ginger and tortishell, sleek Siamese and silky Persians. Tails waving, eyes bright with dreams and hope.
On the long road back to Earth.