Cat was buried in the ditch — a folk tale

Based on the story as published in 'Listamålet' book 1 (1993).

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There was a man they called Cat. He worked day labour, sometimes, and he wasn't a beggar, exactly, but he could and would take advantage of people's pity and hospitality. One Christmas he went from house to house angling for porridge. And someone gave him half-cooked porridge and told him to eat well. Halfway home, the porridge started to swell. Cat was in such a pain that he laid down on the roadside screaming for help. And someone came. And someone else came with a shovel, buried him feet down in the ditch so that only his head peeked above ground. They wanted the weight of the soil to compress him so that he wouldn't burst!

And later it was said that it was an accident and a Christmas gift, giving him all that half-cooked porridge. But some said it was done on purpose and that it was high time Cat was sent to a better place.

Translator's note: Cat, the man, was born in the mid-1800s. His real name is known, but not so important for mnemohistorical purposes; we are all shaped by forces outside our control. Cats back then were (generally) seen as shy, shadowy, sneaky creatures, almost beneath notice. They belonged in barns and cellars as pest-control, and weren't always trusted to be alone inside a home.

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