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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Fishing Village Cat

The fishermen busily unloaded their crates of fish, anxious to take them to market and sell. They were lucky today. It hadn't rained, or stormed and the seas had been calm. Most of the fishermen brought back a larger than normal catch of herring, cod and mackerel.

The lighthouse stood on an island, just outside the harbor, warning sailors of rocks and shoals. Seagulls swarmed around the boats, hoping for a missed piece of fish or one that wriggled its way off the ship into the water.

Cedric slept on top of a coiled rope, not aware that the fishermen had returned. The sudden and loud shrieking of the gulls awakened him. He stretched and yawned, cleaned his whiskers with his paws and then trotted down to the harbor. His mouth watered when he saw the crates of fish stacked up. A soft meow escaped his lips as he slinked closer, trying not to be seen.

Content and patient to wait, Cedric sat at the edge of the pier, looking down in the water. Oil streaks from the fishing boats lapped against the rock wall. Seagulls swooped at him, chasing him away from the quarry they believed should be theirs and theirs alone.

One of the fisherman carried a crate of herring away from the fishmarket. “I want you to guard this Jamie,” he said to his son. “I've got to unload the boat and then I'll be back. Sit here and wait.”

The boy, a lad of ten years old tapped his foot impatiently. His chums were off playing games and he was stuck here with the fish.

“Jamie, come and play with us,” Andrew called, seeing his pal standing around doing nothing.

“I can't. My dad asked me to wait here,” Jamie shouted back.

“You don't have to stay long. Come and play a game of football with us.” Andrew tried to lure his friend away.

Jamie looked around. His father was in the fishmarket bargaining with the sellers and traders for a fair price. “I'll bet I can play and game with my chums and get back here before he does.” Jamie ran off.

Cedric, who had been waiting for just such an event, rushed over to the crate of fish. He climbed up on top of it and no sooner had he done so when a seagull swooped at him, scratching him with its claws. Cedric swiped the seagull and it flew away. Wanting to make sure it didn't come back, he curled up in a ball and after eating one of the herring, he fell asleep, as cats often do.

Jamie's father finished at the fishmarket and headed back to the crate of fish he'd left with his son. “Jamie? Jamie? Where did that lad disappear to?” When he saw the cat sleeping on the fish, he picked it up by the neck and tossed it into the sea

Cedric gasped and swam towards shore, his legs flailing out in front of him. He stepped onto the pebbly beach and watched as Jamie's father grabbed his son by the collar and told him to carry the fish.

Cedric shook the water out of his fur and headed up to the fishmarket, warily staying away from people. He sat all day waiting until the fishmarket closed for the morning and auld Mr. Peabody swept the stone floor clean, pushing all the leftovers into the sea.

The seagulls gathered in a flock and flew to the fish pieces bobbing up and down in the water.

Cedric spotted a few fins and fish heads lying in the rocks. He rushed down, chasing the curious birds away and ate until he was full. As he walked up the street, he sighed, knowing tomorrow it would be the same thing again, and again, and again, but such is the life of a cat that lives in a fishing village by the sea.

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