Once upon a time, there was a family of cats residing in the old barn of Mr. & Mrs. Tuffelhoop. It was a warm, summer day when Papa Cat gathered all of his kittens together. There were four in all – Ebony, Pebbles, Sunny, and Violet (she was actually brown, but Mama Cat liked the name).
They lined up in front of Papa Cat, anxious to hear what he had to say. It wasn’t often that he called family meetings…surely something good was coming.
And indeed, it was.
One by one, each kitten received a gift. Now, these were no ordinary gifts. You see, the kittens were just old enough to begin venturing out into the world, and Papa Cat wanted each to carry with them something special – something that was just for them.
To Ebony, he gave the gift of compassion. Her heart was the biggest of the litter, always helping, always doting on those less fortunate than she.
To Pebbles, Papa Cat gave the gift of teaching. For to teach was to lead in the right path, and Pebbles had the best sense of direction any tomcat could ever have.
To Sunny came the gift of helps. Though not one to always avoid trouble, he was the finest at helping others.
To Violet was given the gift of creativity. Since birth, she had been the one desiring to build, design and invent.
And so it was, that the four kittens grew up to leave home, each taking a different route to find their way in life, and each taking with them their gift.
Time passed, and Mama Cat and Papa Cat waited patiently for their kittens to return home, to tell them how they had lived, and how they had used their gifts.
The first home was Sunny, his coat shiny and smooth, showing great fortune. Papa Cat greeted him with a purr. “My son, have you lived well?”
“Yes, I found wealth and fame in the city.”
“And how did you come by this fame?”
“It was the best of luck, and others that I knew. I aimed for a goal and spared nothing to attain it. No one could stand in my way.”
Papa Cat could see that his son had become prideful, and he was sorry. “I am disappointed. You have not used your gift to help others, but to help yourself. You must be humble and learn that to have a gift is to use it wisely and not take it for granted.”
The next kitten to return was Violet. Papa Cat met her with excitement. “My daughter, you have come home. Tell me you have fared well.”
“Yes, Papa, I have,” Violet mewed. “I have many friends and I have lived a comfortable life.”
“And how has your creativity been used?”
Papa Cat was saddened. “You have forgotten the gift I gave you. Never used, it has gone to waste. You must learn to be grateful for what you are given, lest you never have another chance to use it.”
Papa Cat gave Pebbles a playful swat with his paw. “What about you? Where have you come from?”
“Oh, very far away. I have a large house and many servants.”
“I see, my son. And how did this come about?”
Pebbles purred slyly. “I taught those I knew to earn for me, and to serve my needs.”
Disheartened, Papa Cat shook his head. “You have abused your gift of teaching. You did not teach what is good, but taught to gain for yourself. You must learn the right way to use what is given, for when abused, consequences befall.”
It was many hours before a chorus of mews turned Papa Cat’s attention to a group of cats, looking tired and hungry.
“Papa, do you mind?” Ebony brought her friends close. “I told them I would help if I could. Can we feed them and give them a place to sleep?”
Papa Cat was filled with joy. “My child, your compassion is evident, being used to help others. You did not forget or abuse your gift. You have learned well. You have understood the gifts I gave, and have gained great wisdom.”
Gifts are given for a purpose…to be used, honored and cherished as precious jewels from the Giver. Let us not forget.
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