The fox and the cat, Mallorcan style

Belated congratulations to blogger/journalist Pere Marí, now being sociocultural for El Diario de Mallorca. He had an interesting piece last month on the 70th anniversary of Balearic publishing dynasty, Editorial Moll, which I can’t link to because of DdeM’s moronic policy of redirecting everything to their front page. Anyway, the news from current boss, Francesc Moll, is that 75 is going to be celebrated in more style and that now they’re reissuing some of the older stuff and bringing out some new titles. However, the house is still principally known for two outstanding pieces of work that resulted from collaborations by its founder, Francesc de Borja Moll, with Antoni M Alcover Sureda: the 10-volume Catalan-Valencian-Balearic dictionary, compiled between 1900 and 1962, and the Aplec de Rondaies Mallorquines (Collection of Mallorcan Tales). Here, from the latter, is a rather interesting variant of the popular (Aarne-Thompson 105) fox and cat story:

Once upon a time there was a wild cat who lived in a ravine. One day a fox bumped into him and said, “How do you get by out here?”

“Like a lord,” said the cat. “Remember that I know seven tricks.”

Then they heard the whistle of a hunter, the dogs began to close in.

“Is this what to do?” said the fox, and he climbed up the trunk of a wild olive tree, right to the top.

The cat acted a little slow and, as was to be feared, the dogs were already on top of him: they attacked him, with a bite here and a bite there, and the cat: “Ooooh!!! ooooh!!!”, with the most dreadful miaouws as he felt the claws and the blows [?] of the dogs tearing at his skin and flesh and breaking his body.

Cried the fox from the olive tree, “Didn’t you say that you knew seven tricks? Show us one of the seven!”

The poor cat soon got over it, and never talked about it again. Well, almost never, the braggart.

Three observations:

  1. I suspect I’ve got the last bit wrong–this is my first Mallorcan–and alternative suggestions would be most welcome.
  2. The person who told this didn’t know that foxes can’t climb trees–they’re not found on the Balearics.
  3. The Poplular Imagination isn’t a patch on Grimm.

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Last updated 22/09/2004

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