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Wish-Cat, At Your Service

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I was sauntering home from the Jellicle Ball
When I heard a faint whisper – a far-away call
An echo borne in on the fresh morning breeze
A waft of a wish, through the Pat-a-Paw trees.

But being a Wish-Cat, I heard it as clear
As though it were spoken right next to my ear.
It said “How I wish we had something to do.”
Well, I am a Wish-Cat! I instantly knew
I could help the poor soul with his wish. And I would!
I had a free day. I could help! And I should!

For Wish-Cats are wondrous wish-granting champs.
We’re like feline genies, sans bottles or lamps.
We can grant any wish! Any time! Anywhere!
Okay, well, not quite. But exceptions are rare.

There are basic constraints on what Wish-Cats can do.
We’re agents of chaos, not gods. And then, too
Sometimes it’s more fun to make the rules bend
Than not to have any at all, in the end.

We can only respond to a wish from outside
We can’t answer our own, or each other’s. (We’ve tried!)
We have to respond to the whole wish, not part
And always must finish whatever we start.
Unless the one wishing it sends us away;
In which case, we stop it the moment they say.

There are rules on how things may be wished for, as well.
Most folks wish haphazardly, sort of pell-mell
And then wonder why wishes never come true.
It’s not magic! There’s no incantation you do
No “abracadabra,” no “so mote it be!”

...It can help to know all of the rules. There are three.

Rule One is a doozy: You can’t wish for more wishes.
I know you’ve all heard of the loaves and the fishes
But wishing’s not like that. You only get one.
And after that one is fulfilled, you're all done.
No do-overs, backsies, or extras for you!
Don't waste it. I mean it. We never grant two.

Rule Two: It’s all chance. There's no guarantee
No pattern to how they are granted. You see,
A wish is like fishing; you dangle it out
And any Wish-Cats who are hanging about
Will give it a look. But it largely depends
On whether they’re feeling inclined, in the end.

Have they just found a sunbeam that’s missing a nap?
Are they firmly ensconced on a comfortable lap?
Have cream or fresh tuna appeared in their dish?
Then you’re likely to be out of luck with your wish.

But if it is granted (and some of them are)
I hope you were careful to set a high bar.
I hope for your sake that you wished for it right.
Because if you left loopholes, somebody just might
Interpret them all inside-out, wrong-side-to.
It’s the sort of thing Wish-Cats are likely to do.

For that is Rule Three, and don’t ever forget it:
Watch what you wish for, because you might get it!

So like I was saying, this wish caught my ear.
A textbook example of Rule Three, my dear.
I was bored. Oh, so bored! And you can be sure
That “something to do” held a catnip allure.
The scope for creative expression! What joy!
I decided right there that I’d help the poor boy.

For it was a young boy. A young human, in fact.
Well, him and his sister, to be quite exact.
I could practically see them, just sitting there, blue
Wishing and hoping for something to do.

There was work to be done! So I pulled on my hat.
One dimensional hop brought me down on their mat.
I landed there, THUMP. And I looked up to see
Those round-eyed young humans, just staring at me.
I gave them a grin. I asked “Why do you sit?”
I told them I would entertain them a bit.

But they had a fish, who said, "No! There are rules!"
You know how fish are, the officious old fools.
They think they are smart. I think they are yummy.
But I’d be a poor guest if he went in my tummy.
So I just ignored him. Stupid old fish.
He couldn't keep me from fulfilling a wish!

Something to do? I would give them a show!
And then I could teach them and then they would know
How to make their own fun! That is what cats do best,
As all those who know us can surely attest.
I started it off with a fish-raising game
Which the fish did not like. But I played just the same.
I showed those kids lots of good tricks. Oh, what fun!
But they didn't react much. Even the one
Where I balance the cake and the boat and the fan
Didn't impress them. I needed a plan!

I tried to add hopping! ...It didn't end well.
Everything crashed to the ground when I fell.
And that boring old fish started yelling at me.
From a silly old teapot half-full of cold tea.
And the kids seemed to listen! We couldn't have that.
No stupid old fish beats the Cat in the Hat!

Tricks were no good. I needed some help.
I dashed out of the house, left the fish in mid-yelp.
And I dashed back on in, with the Things in a crate.
Boys and girls love the Things. They think they are great.
This was sure to impress! So I let the Things out
And waited to hear the delighted kids shout.

But they just looked perplexed. Oh, they were polite.
But the Things weren’t the thing that I needed. Not quite.
These kids were so difficult! So hard to please!
Perhaps they had some sort of fun-sucking fleas.
My tricks were a flop; I had to do more.
They were standing there like this was all some big chore
While that uptight old piscine had fits in his pot
About the whole thing. Stupid fish. What a swot!

All “What would your mother say? What about that?”
No kitten alive would relinquish a rat
Or a good piece of string, or a catnip-filled mouse
To behave, if its mother were not in the house.
Kittens don’t worry what mom-cats might do.
We cats have priorities. Not like these two.
They listened. They cared! When the Things tried to play
The children seemed nervous, or got in the way.
They didn’t join in. They looked sort of pale.
Were they sick? I began to tie knots in my tail.
They weren’t having fun, whatever I tried.
Perhaps something deep down inside them had died.

Then the Things brought out kites. The boy hated that!
He got out his net in ten seconds flat
And started to chase them! And not all in fun
But grimly, as though it was work to be done.

And he caught them! What now? What could I do next?
And then he spoke up, sounding terribly vexed.
And he sent me away! I was shocked and dismayed.
He said he had not liked the way that we'd played.
These two human children had no sense of fun,
So I slunk out the door with Thing Two and Thing One.

But there was one thing more; I still needed to clean.
I got out my Mess-Fixer-Upper Machine
And I drove it back in. And I cleaned up the place.
The fish had a sour-puss look on his face
But the kids were delighted! I'd pleased them at last.
I felt I'd been given a test, and I'd passed!

I felt better. I left once the place was restored.
I'd granted a wish, and they hadn't been bored.
I'd pissed off that fish and I'd had lots of fun
And the children were happy! So now I was done.

And I hopped back on home. What an excellent day!
Perhaps I'd assist them again in some way.
Now I’d managed it once, I’d developed the knack.
If they called me again – I’d be glad to come back.