Katie, The Ordinary Witch - Solomon’s Holiday

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Solomon the witch’s cat steps forward to take the lead role in this episode of our Katie series.

Katie and her mum are away for their summer holiday. Their cat, Solomon goes to stay with Isis and her mum. It’s meant to be a secret that he can talk. He is under strict instructions to say no more than meow and purr. But will he obey orders?

Written by Bertie. 

Read by Natasha.

Proofread by Jana Elizabeth

This is Natasha and I’m here with the latest story about one of the most popular characters on Storynory, Katie the Witch. Actually this story is rather more about her cat than it is about Katie. His name is Solomon, and if you have heard anything about him at all, you will know that the personality of this particular cat is, well, rather catty.

Katie and her mum didn’t often go on holiday because money was usually in short supply. One time they went to Morocco and ended up being chased on a flying carpet. You might have heard that story. This year they were planning to stay at home until Mum’s friend Shumash invited them to come to Greece with him. His auntie owned a beautiful white-washed villa on one of the islands known as the Cyclades. He promised a beach with black volcanic sand, brightly painted fishing boats, and a taverna where they could eat sardines, calamari, and Greek Salad with fresh tomatoes, feta cheese and virgin olive oil. Katie and her mum were so excited, how could they refuse?

“Oh,” said Katie, “But what about Solomon? Can he come?”

“It’s hard to take pets abroad,” said mum. “There are so many laws about travelling with animals.”

“Besides,” said Shumash, “There are loads of stray cats on the island and he would probably get into fights.”

“I know,” said Katie, “He could stay with Isis and her mum. They aren’t going away until after we get back.”

Solomon thought this was a wonderful idea, because he had heard that Isis lived in a large and lovely house. But naturally, he pretended he did not care where he stayed or who with.

On the evening that Solomon was due to go over to Isis’ house, Katie’s mum gave him a long list of “don’ts” including:

Don’t scratch their antique furniture.
Don’t climb up their velvet curtains.
Don’t leave hairs on their silk cushions.
Don’t chase birds in their extensive garden.
And don’t cross anyone’s path because some people think that is bad luck.

“And may I breathe?” asked Solomon, adding “because two weeks is a long time to hold my breath.”

“Yes, you can breath,” said Katie’s mum, “But if you want to keep on breathing after we get back, you had better listen carefully to what I am telling you. The most important thing is this: don’t utter a single word to anyone. You’ll scare the life out them.”

“Hmm,” he said raising his tail arrogantly and rubbing himself against the kitchen table, “You needn’t worry, they will be glad to have me.”

Katie and her mum drove Solomon, his basket, and fourteen tins of cat food over to Isis’ house. Isis was delighted to pick him up, cuddle him, and let him sit on her lap. To show his appreciation, he kept his claws curled up so that he did not hurt her. That night he slept on the end of her bed instead of going out for his nocturnal patrol. “I’m well-in here,” he thought to himself. He liked the beautiful and elegant house, as well as the beautiful and elegant people who lived in it. In fact, he rather thought he might like to stay there for ever, instead of going back to Katie’s more ramshackle home.

In the morning, he strode out into the garden. It was indeed very long, and full of neatly trimmed shrubs and bushes. There wasn’t a weed in sight. He noted some wonderful trees, including a very tall Monkey Puzzle. Then he caught sight of a thrush hopping towards the bird fountain for a drink. He crouched down swishing his tail, ready to pounce. Just as he was about to spring off his back legs he heard clapping and shouting:

“Stop that you naughty cat! Leave the birds alone.” The thrush wised-up immediately and flew away.

“Excuse me,” said Solomon turning round reproachfully, “That was my breakfast.” Fortunately Isis’s mum did not hear him.

After wandering around a little more, he went inside and ran his claws down the leg of the dining-room table. It was excellent wood for cat-scratching, really hard and highly polished. It felt especially nice. Then he went into the living room and climbed up onto the sofa and curled up on a lovely soft silken cushion that was embroidered with the picture of an Indian elephant. He was fast asleep, dreaming of eating bird for elevenses, when he felt Isis’s mum lift him up under his arms.

“Oi!” he said, waving his paw and trying to scratch her nose.

“Oi yourself!” said Isis’s mum, who thought he almost sounded human. She carried him into the dining room and plonked him in front of the dining room table.

“Did you do that, you naughty cat?” she demanded.

“If you really want me to fess up I will,” thought Solomon, “But if I speak you’ll probably jump out of your skin, so I’ll keep quiet.” He rubbed himself up against her leg, and Isis’ mum thought, “Well he’s a naughty cat but does have his charming ways,” and she let him be.
When she went upstairs, Solomon went into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and helped himself to some creamy trifle.

The trifle was supposed to be eaten at teatime, not by a cat, but by Isis, her mum, and grandma who was paying them a visit. Solomon had been very careful to turn the plate around, so that the part that he had eaten was not visible from the front of the fridge. This meant that his crime went unnoticed until after Isis came home from school. When her mum pulled it out she was horrified:

“Isis, have you been at the trifle?” she demanded.

“No mum,” said Isis. “You know I don’t eat cream except on birthdays and at Christmas.”

Her mum looked suspicious. Actually she knew that her daughter did not tell lies. What she was wondering was this: “Could it be possible that the cat ate it and hid his dirty deed so well? If he did, he’s a truly remarkable animal. No. Don’t be ridiculous Evelyn.” (she was talking to herself in her head, and her name was Evelyn). “There must be some other explanation, but what?”

She went into the living room because grandma had been sitting there alone while she had fetched Isis from school and started to get tea ready. Or she thought that she had been alone.

“Did you find something to read mother?” she asked, “Not too bored I hope.”

“I’ve not been bored for a single moment,” said Grandma.

“Oh good,” said her daughter. And then Grandma said something that sounded not at all good:

“I’ve been having such a lovely conversation with your new cat.”

“With who?” asked Isis’ mum. Had she heard what she said correctly?

“With young Solomon here. He’s such an intelligent animal. He has the correct views on politics, and he knows all the answers to the TV quiz shows. He even helped me with the crossword in the Daily Telegraph.”

“Are you feeling alright?”

“Perfectly, you wouldn’t be so patronising as to say that I’m imagining things, would you? Just because some of us are getting on in years doesn’t mean we are soft in the head you know.”

Isis’s mum stared at Solomon. He was sitting in front of the TV and licking his paw. Of course, the most logical assumption was that her mother was either making it up, or having a good joke – but somehow she knew that neither of those things were correct in this case.

“What kind of animal are you?” she asked the cat. It was a rhetorical question, which meant that she did not expect a reply.

“A smart one,” he said.

Isis’s mum screamed. She headed for the door, but then she turned around and leapt back into the room. Solomon dived behind the curtains, but she was able to grab him there through the material. She pulled the curtain down – it might be expensive and beautiful, but the thick fabric was good for wrapping up a struggling cat and keeping his claws at bay. She took the heaving bundle into the corridor, opened the door to the downstairs bathroom, and threw him in there. She slammed the door shut. For good measure, she fetched a two pence coin from her bag and locked the door from the outside using the mechanism that was actually meant for opening it in an emergency.

It was dark inside the bathroom. Almost every surface was made of marble or porcelain, and was cold to touch. Solomon felt lonely and furious. Meeow ! he screeched, and he scratched at the door.

At least an hour went past before Isis finished her homework and came downstairs.

“Is there anything wrong? ” she asked. Her mother and grandma were sitting in stony silence. Neither of them looked at all happy.

“It’s that cat, dear,” said Grandma, “Your mother’s locked him in the bathroom. Can’t you hear him complaining? I don’t think it’s right. He’s so intelligent he’s like a human. You couldn’t do that to a child, would you?”

“Mum, why did you lock Solomon in the bathroom?” demanded Isis in the sort of rude tone that other teanagers often use, but which she rarely did.

“Isis dear,” said her mum softly. “Grandma’s right. He is intelligent, scarily intelligent – he’s too weird, I can’t handle him.” She looked like she was about to cry.

“What on earth is going on here?” wondered Isis.

She went to the bathroom and opened the door using a hair clip to unlock it. Solomon sprang out. “Solomon, I’m sorry about my mum,” said Isis, but her best friend’s cat wasn’t listening. He dashed into the kitchen, jumped up onto the sink and out of the window. Isis saw him run across the lawn and start to scale the Monkey Puzzle Tree. It was shaped like a giant umbrella. She marvelled at how he was able to keep on going up the trunk which did not have any branches on the lower parts. It is said that one of the first people to plant such a tree in England remarked, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that”. In France the species is called “A monkey’s despair” But somehow Solomon did manage to climb it. Perhaps his claws were especially sharp, or perhaps he was using a touch of magic. Up, up up he went, higher and higher. The tree was taller than the house. Eventually reached the branches, crawled along one off them, and wrapped his paws around it.

“Meeeeeee-ow!” he screamed, pitifully.

“Oh no!” thought Isis, “It’s one thing to climb up, but it’s ten times as hard to climb down.”

She went inside and dragged her mum into the garden. Grandma followed.

“Now look what you’ve done,” said Isis, “Katie’s beloved pet is stuck up the Monkey Puzzle tree. If he falls down, he’ll surely die.”

“It was you who let him out of the bathroom,” reproached her mum.

“Well, we had to let him out sooner or later unless you were going to let him starve in there,” said Isis.

“We had better call the fire-brigade,” said Grandma.

Isis’ mum thought that calling the emergency services to rescue a pet sounded a bit extreme. But then again, Solomon was meowing so loudly that neighbours were opening their windows. She felt embarrassed. She didn’t want the word to get round that she was cruel to animals. She went indoors and dialled the emergency number.

“Ambulance, police or fire?” asked the operator.

“Please put me through to the fire service,” said Katie’s mum.

The officer on duty told her firmly that he was sorry, but his highly trained crews could not come out to rescue a cat however distressed the animal might be. He suggested that she call the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and he gave her the number. She called the RSPCA and they advised her to wait 24 hours because cats usually come down by themselves eventually.

When she told this to Isis, her daughter exclaimed “But we can’t leave him up there for a whole day!”

And Solomon clearly had the same thought because he started to creep along the branch. It was swaying slightly. The situation seemed highly precarious. In fact, he looked like he might be preparing to do something desperate.

“Solomon, please don’t jump” shouted Isis.

“Don’t do it moggy,” called neighbour from a window.

“I feel so guilty. I can’t look,” said Isis’ mum.

“Poor thing,” tutted Grandma. “he’s been so badly treated.”

Solomon was standing up now and peering downwards towards the ground. Then he began to crouch. His tail was swishing. Isis screamed. Her mother screamed. The neighbours screamed.

“MEEEEEEEEEEOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!” went Solomon as he leapt into thin air. His legs were spread-eagled – but they weren’t wings. He couldn’t fly. He plummeted to the ground. Thud! He landed in a big pile of compost. By now, Isis had covered her eyes, but gradually she began to look through her fingers. She saw Solomon lying there. She wondered what she would say to Katie about her ex-pet. Would this cost them their friendship? It was the sort of embarrassing disaster that could break the closest of alliances.

They say that cats have nine lives, and in the case of witches’ cats, it might even be true. Solomon had definitely used up one of his lives that day but he did manage to rise shakily to his feat. Isis ran towards him. She didn’t exactly love Solomon, he was not the most lovable of creatures, but she was certainly glad that he had kept body and soul together despite his fall. She carried him inside and placed him in his basket. It was reassuring that he actually purred. Even Isis’ mum was smiling.

“We’ll make it up to you Solomon, “ promised Isis, before adding, “Won’t we mum?”

“How do you make it up to a cat?” asked her mum. It was a silly question because Solomon replied:

“I’m rather partial to caviar.”

And for the rest of the two weeks stay at Isis’ house, no luxury or extravagance was spared on the cat. He had the best time of his life.

And that was the story of Solomon’s Holiday. I do hope you enjoyed it. And don’t forget there are loads more Katie stories, as well as Bertie stories, and Wicked Uncle Stories, and Greek myths, and legends from around the world, all on Storynory.com.

For now, from me, Natasha

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