Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cat and Dog (09/04/14)
- TITLE: Entente Cordiale
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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How wonderful, how beautiful when brothers and sisters get along! (Ps133:1)*
This is the story of Misty (a Tibetan Terrier), Guinness (a tuxedo cat) and their Entente Cordiale**.
The humans despaired: Misty and Guinness could push each other’s buttons better than a pair of siblings. Neither had any respect for the other, thanks to polemic emphasising the other species’ “freakishness”, drilled in since kittenhood/puppyhood.
After one particularly horrendous day, which saw Misty steal Guinness’s entire food ration in retaliation for being blamed for the carnage of smashed ornaments on the carpet (which Guinness was later determined the more likely culprit), the pair decided their guerrilla tactics served nobody’s interests. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, they needed a more constructive way to coexist.
After much (heated) discussion, they came up with their own Entente Cordiale, which went something like this:
The two parties, being equally committed to harmonious living, state that they will endeavour to regard one another as individuals and not merely stereotypes of their species. Both recognise the paramount importance of tolerance and openness to challenge their preconceived thinking about the other.
Guinness states that, as a cat, his mission in life is to sleep as much as possible and do as little as possible.
Misty, in return, accepts that this is Guinness’s preferred existence and will therefore allow periods in the day where she will refrain from barking, however:
Misty states that, as a dog, her function is to guard the territory from; birds, flies, passers-by, lorries, buses, and the tomcat that terrorises Guinness, amongst others. This requires her to bark frequently.
Guinness, in return, will not unreasonably object to Misty carrying out her canine duties. In gratitude for warding off the nasty tomcat, he agrees to help by dispatching flies provided he is given adequate time to nap. He reserves the right to refuse to chase birds.
Guinness states that, whilst personally preferring a solitary existence, he recognises that Misty, being a dog, is a social animal and needs interaction. He will, therefore, as a goodwill gesture, occasionally consent to play.
Misty, in return, respects that, although deemed good canine manners, backside-sniffing is considered unacceptable rudeness by felines, especially during naps, which are sacrosanct. Nose-sniffing, however, is mutually acceptable.
Misty states that she will endeavour to restrain herself from stealing Guinness’s food.
Guinness, in return, will try to resist the urge to taunt her.
Both parties recognise the significant willpower required on the others’ part and appreciate that temptation will, sometimes, prove too much. In such an event, both parties resolve to avoid escalation, choosing instead to forgive.
Both parties acknowledge that dogs and cats communicate differently, and that they must therefore listen to each other more carefully and impart their wishes unambiguously so as to avoid misunderstanding.
Guinness states that he understands that he cannot hold Misty responsible for badgering him if he sends mixed messages by strutting right in front of her.
Misty, in return, will henceforth interpret a hiss and a slap as refusal to play and the cue to desist immediately.
Misty states that she desires to learn Guinness’s art of relaxing as remedy for a hard day’s territory management.
Guinness, in return, is in awe of Misty’s prowess in garnering treats through (literally) boot-licking the humans. He requests that she shares the secrets of her success with him for their mutual benefit.
Agreed by both of us, in the hallway, the 7th day of September, 2014.
Whilst they will never be best buddies, and inevitably sometimes temptation does indeed prove too much, attitudes have shifted noticeably – both agree that tolerance is worth the effort. Although the humans don’t know exactly what happened, they recognise that ‘something changed’ in the relationship between the two animals, and that, consequently, home is now a far happier place for all.
*source: The Message via www.biblegateway.com
** Historical note: The Entente Cordiale of April 8th 1904 addressed various disputes between long-standing adversaries, Britain and France, creating a better understanding between these two nations. Ten years later, France and Britain stood together as allies in World War 1. Source of information: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/188822/Entente-Cordiale and also http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/ententecordiale1904.htm , which includes the text for Entente Cordial that Misty and Guinness’s version is based on.
This is fiction, except that Guinness and Misty are currently curled up beside me. Guinness would like to clarify that, whilst Misty was caught stealing his food, nobody has proved he smashed the ornaments.
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