Before there were stars, the Great Cat spun through the cosmos with his bowl of tuna.**
At first the Great Cat was content because he was the First, the Most Important, and the Only. But then he realised his tuna had been sitting in his bowl for more than an hour and was no longer edible, and it didn’t move when he felt like playing.
So he created the earth and made mice to run across it and get eaten.
He created the oceans and made fish to swim through them and get eaten (but only when they came on land, because water is wet and yucky).
And at last he created the skies and made birds to fly through them and get eaten.
And then he slept because he was tired, even though he’d given himself a week to create his realm and it was only 10am on the first day.
When the Great Cat woke, he hunted a mouse and ate it, but it did not make him happy because he was bored with hunting yet still hungry, and his chin was badly in need of someone to scratch it.
He slept again, but after a while the sun set and he grew cold, and he wished for a warm body inside a cozy bed that he could snuggle up with.
The next day he wanted to eat a fish, but when he stuck his foot in the sea it was nasty and wet, and the fish laughed at him as he sat on the land, unable to eat them.
He looked around, but there was no one sitting nearby with a huge net who could teach the fish not to laugh at him.
It began to rain, and the ends of the Great Cat’s fur got wet and spiky. He longed for a window to jump through and a bed where he could sit and lick.
He cried over his dampness, but no one cared and no one came.
As he sat meowing his piteousness to the world, a fantail fluttered over his head, taunting him.
“You know what you need?” the fantail said.
“I suppose you’re going to tell me.”
“You need servants to cater to your every whim.”
The Great Cat thought about this for a time, and the more he thought about it the more he liked the idea. Servants could make fire for him to sit beside when he was cold, make roofs to keep the rain off his whiskers when it was wet, and catch those pesky tuna that mocked him.
“I suppose I do,” he said, “but why would anyone want to serve me?”
The fantail looked at him as if he were mad.
“I know,” he said. “I was joking. Still, I do feel like I ought to give them gifts in addition to the joy of my company.”
His tail itched so he caught it between his paws and have it a good lick.
“Everyone likes to get dead mice, don’t they?”
“And wishes,” the fantail said.
“Dead mice and wishes it is,” the Great Cat said, “but mostly the joy of my company.”
So the Great Cat created woman to cater to his every whim, and man to tell woman that she looked gorgeous even though she hadn’t brushed her hair for two days and to reassure her that her work in progress was sure to become a NYT Bestseller.
Man and woman built a house with a fireplace and a bowl of tuna that they replaced every hour, or more often if the Great Cat demanded it. Man and woman made themselves a bed, and they each slept on a thin sliver at the edge while the Great Cat sprawled across the middle three quarters.
When the evenings got cold, man and woman lit the fire and the Great Cat had a toasty place to sprawl.
And sometimes the Great Cat demonstrated his gratitude by bringing them dead mice, and other times, when they really wanted something, he granted them wishes.
But he never told them and they never figured it out.
** This is not a work of fiction. At least, not according to the Great Cat.
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