Once there was an old man who lived by the sea in a hut with his cat. The hut was small, with just enough room for a cupboard, a bed, a fireplace, a wash stand and some space to walk around. The old man owned only a few pair of clothes and one silver ring with a diamond in the middle that his wife gave him when she died.
The town that the old man lived in was called Simpson. It was a small and muddy place with a few general stores. It was also a quiet town, but once in a while it had big concerts and parties for everyone. It had a population of about 500 people. But most people stayed inside their houses unless they had work. They only came out on market days, which was on Saturdays. The old man would always wait when someone would come to see how he was doing. People would rarely come, but sometimes his good old neighbor would come to see how he was doing. His neighbor was a very good man with a very big and good heart.
The old man was very frail and thin and always sent his cat out to do his errands. Back in those days it was common for animals to do old men’s and woman’s chores. The old man’s cat’s name was Nellie. She was a big, white, and plump who was always ready to listen to all the orders her master gave. Every Saturday of the week, Nellie went out for shopping. She would go to one grocery store every week. It was called Mr. Grumps General store. It had everything. Every week, the old man would give Nellie a piece of paper with all the things that he needed. Once Nellie got there, she would give the list to whoever was present, and he/she would do the shopping for her, and take the money that the old man gave Nellie.
One Saturday something extraordinary happened. In the morning Nellie, went out to do the weekly shopping, and around noon when she was supposed to come back, she never came back! The old man thought that perhaps there was traffic on the allies and byways. He waited and waited. He couldn’t wait any longer, so he went straight to his good neighbor and asked him if he could help find Nellie. The neighbor was a very good man, and said yes right away. He said that he would go straight away after dawn because it was getting dark already. The old man agreed, and went back to his own hut.
The next day the neighbor searched high and low but could not find Nellie. He asked everybody that he met, but could not get the answer that he was expecting. So the days went by, the neighbor was searching, and the old man was fed and cared by his neighbor. The neighbor was rich enough to take care of the old man.
Without his cat, the old man was very sad, thinking he would never see her again. He regretted he had not said a proper farewell to her, and now he had lost her. She was a very loyal and caring cat. She saved his life at many times.
This is the real fate of what happened to Nellie! She went out shopping and when she got to Mr. Grumps grocery store, she found it all closed and locked up. Nellie didn’t want to return empty handed to the old man because they had nothing at home to eat, so she set off in search for another grocery store. As soon as Nellie found one, she went up and rapped on the door with her claws.
Suddenly, someone opened the door and she was snatched up by a man and dumped into a cage! Nellie was not at all happy about this, so she kicked and meowed, but it was no use of course. Alas! Poor Nellie was tired. Now she regretted why she had come to another grocery store. She was just waiting to see what would happen next.
Nellie had not realized that this was a store that captures and sells animals. She was tied up with two other cats that were also stolen by the shop owner. He stole every animal that came to his door and sold them on market day to earn some money. Most of the owners of these animals would never see them again. Nobody knew the man was doing something against the law.
The next day was market day, so Nellie didn’t have to wait for too long inside her small cage. When they set off for the market, all the roads were jam-packed - everybody was going to the market. No sooner did they get to the market than the man quickly set up a table, put up his animals and sat down, waiting for customers to buy his animals.
The man was able to sell some of his captures but no one showed any interest in Nellie. Nellie was hoping her old man would come to the market to search for her and would recognize her quickly. When he was about to pack and leave, someone suddenly showed up. He started asking the man questions about the white plump cat (Nellie!). The man explained to him he found the cat begging for things with a basket in her mouth. The noble man listened very carefully what he was saying.
Nellie recognized the man as her owner’s neighbour and started meowing furiously. The noble man understood very quickly it was the poor old man’s cat, so he bought Nellie from the man and took her back to the old man’s hut. The old man was extremely overjoyed seeing his cat at last. The old man’s life was at ease then and they lived happily ever after again.