Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cats and Rats

Rats are interesting creatures, and can be quite endearing in their own peculiar way. I know for a fact that humans don't like them; they've had a bad press for being dirty and smelly, having unwholesome domestic arrangements, raiding grain supplies, chewing various people's belongings in the dead of night - and leaving liquid and solid organic messages wherever they go. For my part, I don't mind them. They provide more of a challenge than their smaller cousins, since they can become quite aggressive when confronted. They have nasty teeth - and several cats I know have suffered from their bites in such encounters. As for those rats who are too big to attempt to catch, I engage them in creature-to-creature conversation, and generally find them to be intelligent and charming - within the obvious limitations that come with living in midden heaps and garbage dumps. They represent an underclass, living in the shadows and conducting their business away from the gaze of the human race. In many ways they're like subversives, whose interests are perceived to conflict with those of their unwitting and unwilling hosts.

I've even seen households which have kept them as pets for children - although they're more sanitized editions, coming in colours like white, black and piebald; they're certainly cleaner specimens.

I have it on good authority that while a certain stooge of Beeby See was busy pontificating on his mistress' behalf outside Caedmeron's official residence the other night, a rat was observed to nonchalantly walk past the doorway during the course of his business. I had to smile when I heard that. It's gratifying to know that in the elevated world of human affairs - which has no time for God's creatures and the things of the natural realm -  a creature regarded as vermin can wander by in relative safety.

But for every rat walking by the Ministerial Residence, there are hundreds who pass through the doors - and those of the Witangemot.

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