The Battle of the Scamperbeasts: An Epic Poem, Translated From the Cat Tongue
Posted on January 28, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 45 Comments
Once upon a time
There was a kitten on a stairwell
Basking in the light of the sun
As kittens are known to do.
And all was peaceful in the land of kittens.
Or so it seemed.
But then another kitten
Jealous of her sister’s place in the light
Decided that the light should be hers alone
And attacked! And thus
The Battle of the Scamperbeasts was joined!
Sugar’s defense of the light was devastating
And Spice learned that her assumptions
That her sister would easily surrender her position
Were in fact foolish.
But then Sugar
Fell prey to Spice’s vicious counterattack!
Clearly this was a battle
Of two equally matched foes.
“How could this happen?”
During a hard-won break in the battle.
“Should it be a mere sunbeam
Could rend the true bonds of sisterhood?
Are we not better than this?”
But the existential quandaries of life
Would have to wait.
The Battle of the Scamperbeasts was rejoined!
Sugar raised to her paw
To halt the next onslaught!
“Sister!” she cried.
“Wait! We do not need to fight!
There is enough sunbeam
For the both of us!
Join me in the light!
Together we can enjoy its luminous benefits!”
Was not well-received.
With a heavy heart
Sugar knew there would be no peace
Until Spice was vanquished.
“Alas!” cried Spice.
“In my foolish pride
I thought I could keep the sunlight to myself
And deprive my sister of its boon!
Only now in defeat do I see
That the true darkness was in my own heart!”
And with that
Spice leapt from the banister
Plunging into the inky depths
Of the front hallway.
The Battle of the Scamperbeasts was ended.
Sugar once more
Resumed her place in the light.
Would Spice return?
Would she again demand
Sole possession of the sunlight?
Or could they
In sisterly accord
Bask in its warming glow?
These questions would have to wait.
For now, it was time to nap.
TO BE CONTINUED(?????!?????)
In case people were wondering, yes, in fact, Sugar was napping on the stair in the sunbeam when Spice attacked, they fought, and eventually Sugar won this particular battle and went back to the sunbeam. The only elaboration on my part are the respective kittens’ internal dialogues.
Clearly I haven’t been paying close attention, somehow I thought they were both boys, not girls. Anyway, love the poem.
Thus proving you need more windows in your house.
In a few hundred years, academics will study The Battle of the Scamperbeasts as a classic of the era, puzzling over the strange words, trying to determine the correct pronunciation to rhyme.
I feel as though this ought to be a song, possibly sung to the tune of One Tin Soldier.
This may well be the best thing I have ever read.
“Translated from the Cat Tongue.”
So it’s a rough translation, then? ;)
I see what you did there, Jason.
(hands over a gold star)
I shall treasure it always!
A warm spot in the sun is a golden treasure!
First time I’ve grinned all day – thank you, Scamperbestia and Translator, I needed that.
And PS (with apologies for not thinking to add this to the previous post), but when will the chapbook be published? That would go on next year’s Solstice gift list for several of my nearest and dearest.
Truly, Beowulf for the 21st Century!
Sunbeam War of the Day Scamperbeasts?
Aaaaaand another 10 book deal lands…. now.
Many deep philosophical questions in that poem.
And then Zeus comes along, and kicks both of the demi-cats out of the sunny spot.
LOL Loved it! It was truly epic cat tale. :)
lol. Just, lol.
This would be awesome as a print copy book for children – okay adults too! The proceeds could go to the A.S.P.C.A.
Or more cat food and kitty litter – your call, of course! ;)
I think it is time for the Scalzi clan to expand into kids picture books.
Omg that made my day!
Thank you for the tail!
A purrfect poem.
So. The Scamper-Beasts in days gone by
and the writer who fed them had courage and dust motes.
We have heard of those felines’ heroic campaigns.
There was Sugar Scalzison, scourge of many treads,
a wrecker of couch-cushions, rampaging among rays.
This terror of the hall-steps had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
as his fur grew and his worth was proved.
In the end any kit to try the outlying stairs
beyond the entry room had to yield to him
and begin to pay tribute. That was one good cat.
(Apologies to Seamus Heaney)
Sounds like a picture book in the offing. Seuss those kittehs up and it’s good to go!
I feel I should have a horn of mead and be sitting in a mighty hall. Hwaet!
Methinks the scamper beasts shall engage in battle time and time again on into their dotage.
I vote picture book as well.
Haha. This would be like something going on in my head when I see animals interacting with each other. This made my day!
A fine treatise on the feline philosophical concept known as “MINE!!”
Very Kipling-esque, it reminds me a bit of the The Ballad of the Clampherdown.
And I thought it was going to end with the sunbeam having shifted out of range and the beasts looking around and pretending they hadn’t been fighting at all.
Also, mad props to Anna Richland.
I miss this by having only one cat. Part of me is upset by this. The saner part of me would rather not have to clean kitten intestines off the floor. Missy-cat is very much of the view that One Cat Is Enough.
For WorldBuilders next year, can we get Pat Rothfuss (or Neil Gaiman – I’m ok with either) to read this out loud in as dramatic a fashion as possible?
NICE CAT :-D Please go my blog up and also comment :-)
Okay, I think perhaps the kittens have done things to your brain. Not that I’m against the series of children’s books and assorted merchandise they will spawn, mind you.
@Anna Richland: oh, well done! (But Jónsdóttir rather than Scalzison, no?)
And seconding A.J.’s notion of a dramatic reading!
i mean this is the most absolutely non-creepy way possible —
but, i just plain ADORE you, sir!
Of course, my two cats have now admonished me. “Why do you not document OUR lives with marvelous verse?” Great. More demands from my feline overlords. I can always distract them from these thoughts by throwing a handful of Cheezy Craze into the living room.
My oldest daughter read the entire poem out loud in the local frozen yogurt store. My youngest daughter was greatly entertained. After she was done performing the sisters gawked at the kitten photos for a good five minutes before I managed to get my phone back…
My 10-year old loved this. Read it aloud with very frequent mewing. Looking forward to the next installment!
What will they do when the sun sets? Do they fight clouds? Also, I hope you aren’t attached to any curtains.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I must know if there is a sequel in the offing — perhaps entertaining us with ‘tails’ of the Denizens of the Dark Campaign or Rampaging Night Ninjas??