Tabitha Tabs and the lost p’rr
Tabitha Tabs was a kitten who lived with her mummy, Dorcas, in the barn of a farm called Brockhall, somewhere south of a place called Norwich. Tabitha’s brothers and sisters had all gone to be with their own special humans, but Dorcas had chosen Tabitha Tabs to be her special kitten who stayed with her. Tabitha liked nothing better than snuggling up to her mummy and being washed, and when she was washed she would p’rr and p’rr and p’rrr.
This morning was not such a good morning though. The farmer’s wife had taken Dorcas to see the vet because Dorcas did not think it a good idea to have any more kittens; and Tabitha Tabs was all alone in the barn. She tried to p’rr to make herself feel better – but no p’rr came!
“I have lost my p’rr!” said Tabitha Tabs. “I must go and look for it!”
She squeezed out through the hole in the bottom of the barn door because the farmer had left the door shut today; and went searching.
First she came to the pond. The ducks were sunning themselves on the bank, and preening with their beaks, shaking their tails every now and then. Tabitha thought they looked very silly but it was a mistake to mention this. Beaks were dangerous. She trotted forward, careful to avoid the geese who hissed and chased kittens. The ducks all got up.
“Quack-wack-wack waaarck what do you want?” said the biggest, whitest duck. Tabitha found her a bit scary; she looked too much like a goose. But she had to ask around. That was what people did when they lost something, like when the farmer’s wife had lost her earring, she asked everyone if they had seen it.
“P-please,” said Tabitha, timidly, “I’ve lost my p’rr; have you seen it?”
“Quarck-wack-waarck of course not; what would a stupid sound like that be doing in a nice place like a pond?” said the duck rudely. “Go away or I might peck your tail. It looks like a nice juicy wriggling worm.”
Tabitha Tabs went hastily away and jumped up onto the wall of the pigsty. Henrietta the sow was nose down in her breakfast snuffling and grunting contentedly.
“Oh please” said Tabitha Tabs, from the wall round the pigsty "Have you seen my P'rr? I seem to have lost it."
“Snuffle, grunt, schnort, what? Is it good to eat?” said Henrietta.
“I don't think so” said Tabitha Tabs.
Tabitha Tabs jumped down with her own snort. Henrietta was not interested in anything except food.
Tabitha Tabs almost landed on Patch, the farmyard dog when she jumped down and she hastily jumped to one side. Patch was friendly enough – if rather noisy – but nobody likes being landed on. Patch was not a proper sheepdog, but he helped herd ducklings and chicks and could find nests for the farmer’s wife when the hens had decided to be broody outside of their coop.
“Wuff-Ruff! Look where you’re jumping young Tabitha!” said Patch.
Tabitha butted her face against him and rubbed against him in apology.
“I’m sorry Patch” she mewed “I’m looking for my p’rrr; it’s lost.”
“Dear me!” said Patch “Well that’s what comes of having such a silly way to show that you are happy; you should wag your tail instead” and he wagged his to show that he was happy.
“Oh I don’t think so” said Tabitha Tabs. “Cats only wag their tails when they are cross.”
“Cats are awkward, Wuff!” said Patch “I’ll look for your silly noise, young Tabitha; but wuff-ruff, I’m too busy to stay around, Speckledy has gone broody again and the Missus relies on me to find her nest, Wuff!”
Tabitha dragged sadly to ask the sheep in the field if they had seen her p’rr; but the only one who would bother to talk did not seem to understand.
“Maaaah, you should try bleeeeeating insteeeeead” she said.
“Stupid creature” said Tabitha Tabs crossly and made her way back to the barn. If she was going to be miserable, she might as well be miserable in a comfortable nest of straw.
Inside the barn she startled a mouse who started to run away.
“Oh please!” said Tabitha Tabs “I won’t chase you this time if you will only tell me if you have seen my p’rr!”
The mouse stopped, cautiously.
“Oh you silly little kitten!” he squeaked “Your p’rr isn’t lost; you’ve just mislaid it because your mummy isn’t here! It will come back on its own when she does!”
“Oh!” said Tabitha Tabs “Do you think so?”
“Yes” said the mouse, and scuttled off in case Tabitha Tabs changed her mind about not chasing him.
Tabitha Tabs curled up and went to sleep.
When she woke up, her mummy was there, smelling of horrid vet smell, but it was her own mummy!
“P’RRRRRRRR” said Tabitha Tabs “Oh mummy, I have my p’rr back! That mouse was quite right! You are home and my p’rr is home and everything is all right!”
“Silly little kitten” said Dorcas and washed Tabitha Tabs’ ear firmly.
Tabitha Tabs started to p’rr as though she would never stop!