Nellie, a cat marionette who loves to dance, finds adventure and freedom on a moonlit hilltop.
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)|
|Age Range:||4 - 8 Years|
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A Cat on Her Own
By Natalie Babbitt
Farrar, Straus and GirouxCopyright © 1989 Natalie Babbitt
All rights reserved.
There was a little marionette once, named Nellie, who hung from a comfortable peg in the cottage of a clever old woman.
The old woman had made Nellie from wood and yarn and broom straws, and every afternoon would take her down from her peg, wind up the music box, and pull her strings to make her leap and dip and spin, just like a dancer on a stage.
There was a real cat living in the cottage, too. The old woman called him Big Tom. But he didn't belong to her, as Nellie did. He belonged only to himself. Still, he liked a warm fire and a bowl of milk, and so he stayed. And every afternoon he would watch in a puzzled way while Nellie danced.
One night, when the old woman was asleep, Big Tom said to Nellie, "It would be better if you danced all on your own."
"I could never do that," said Nellie.
"Moonshine!" said Big Tom. And he sprang up to the window and went out into the dark, as he always did, to go wherever it is cats go and do whatever they do.
Nellie stayed behind, as she always did. She never wondered where it was that Big Tom went or what he did. She was much too busy thinking how lovely it would be when she could dance again.
It was a safe little life for Nellie, but then one day the old woman, who was very, very old, fell sick, and after a time she died. Her friends all came and took her away to the churchyard, and Nellie and Big Tom were left alone.
"Whatever shall I do," wailed Nellie, "without my clever old woman?"
"The thing to do," said Big Tom, "is go on to the next old woman.
"But I belonged to this old woman," said Nellie. "I don't want another."
"Belong to yourself, then, like me," said Big Tom. "That way, when changes come, you'll always be ready to hold your tail high and move along."
"I can't hold my tail high and move along," said Nellie. "I can't dance, either — not without my clever old woman. And you have no idea how lovely it is to dance."
"Moonshine!" said Big Tom. "Still, you mustn't stay here. You'd better come with me." And he began to pull off the strings that were fastened to Nellie.
"Oh!" cried Nellie. "Don't take away my strings!"
"If I don't," said Big Tom, "they'll get in the way and tangle up." And he went on pulling till at last Nellie dropped to the floor with a clunk. "There," he said. "You're free."
Excerpted from Nellie by Natalie Babbitt. Copyright © 1989 Natalie Babbitt. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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