The Battle of the Scamperbeasts: An Epic Poem, Translated From the Cat Tongue

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!

At first
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
Perhaps overconfident
Fell prey to Spice’s vicious counterattack!
Clearly this was a battle
Of two equally matched foes.

“How could this happen?”
Mused Sugar
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!

But then
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!”

This proposal
Was not well-received.

With a heavy heart
Sugar knew there would be no peace
Until Spice was vanquished.
She attacked!

“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(?????!?????)

45 Comments on “The Battle of the Scamperbeasts: An Epic Poem, Translated From the Cat Tongue”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. I feel as though this ought to be a song, possibly sung to the tune of One Tin Soldier.

  4. First time I’ve grinned all day – thank you, Scamperbestia and Translator, I needed that.

  5. 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.

  6. 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! ;)

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. @Anna Richland: oh, well done! (But Jónsdóttir rather than Scalzison, no?)

    And seconding A.J.’s notion of a dramatic reading!

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. My 10-year old loved this. Read it aloud with very frequent mewing. Looking forward to the next installment!

  16. What will they do when the sun sets? Do they fight clouds? Also, I hope you aren’t attached to any curtains.

  17. 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??

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