Esther Fairfax

The history of the name ‘Belling the cat’.

There was a lot of shouting and noise as the gangplank slowly was raised. Swiftly in a scurry and a hurry a cat unseen, ran up the moving plank and boarded the Golden Hind. I’m told it was a long time ago, a time in history 1577 or thereabouts. Sir Francis Drake and his motley crew were ready to set sail around the world. He never knew he had a stow-away. The scruffy cat hid deep down in the ship where the food was stored.

What was he escaping from? What was he so afraid of that he dared brave the wild waves of the unpredictable seas? He thought himself safe when all of a sudden a large hand came down and roughly pulled him up by the scruff of his neck. ‘Look what I have found boys’ the sailor chuckled keeping his grip. Showing off his catch to all the others ‘we’ll keep this cat and make him work his passage, no doubt he can keep the mouse population down’. There came a roar of laughter from the sailors. The cat wriggled, his paws punching the air, claws outstretched trying to scratch his capture, fighting to get away.

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