7

Feral Purrfessional – Part 4

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech where she will study providing medical care to the feral cat population. She has discovered that one of her professors is her roommate’s father. Rose is much calmer about leaving Katie since she met the Professor. You can read the beginning of the story here.

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After the first day of school.

Katie: That was tough. I can’t believe how much homework we got on the first day.

Elise: And we have two quizzes on Friday!

Katie: Cats’ vital signs and the systems in the cat’s body.

Elise: Guess we better get started.

Katie: Can you believe some of the cats are going to a nip party tonight? It’s not even the weekend.

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Elise: I know. Maybe they don’t know how hard the program is.

Katie: Did you see that cute boy cat that was looking at you?

Elise: How could I miss him? Every time I turned around he was there.

Katie: Did you talk to him?

Elise: Yeah. All he wanted to talk about was my father, the professor.

Katie: That stinks.

Elise: It’s OK. I’m used to it.

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Katie’s phone rings.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How are you?

Rose: How was your first day of school?

Katie: Great! I think I’m going to like it here.

Rose: Were you OK after we left?

Katie: Yes, we were fine. (Rolls her eyes.)

Rose: What are you doing now?

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Katie: We’re getting ready to study.

Rose: OK. I won’t keep you. Say hello to Elise and her father. Talk to you tomorrow.

Katie: Bye, Mama.

Katie looks at Elise.

Katie: She is going to drive me crazy. I think she’s going to call every day. She says hello to you and your father.

Elise: She just misses you.

Katie: I guess. But I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything very interesting every day.

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Elise: She seemed to like Daddy. I’ll see if he has any ideas.

Katie: That’s a great idea. Thank you!

They decide to go to the cafeteria and eat before studying. After salmon mousse and cream, they return to their room and work until bedtime. The next afternoon, Katie gets another call.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How is everybody?

Rose: We’re all fine. How are you?

Katie: I’m good. Elise and I are going to see a movie tonight. Take a break after studying.

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Rose: You’re not going to be out after dark are you?

Katie: I’m a cat. Dark doesn’t bother me.

Rose: But it’s not safe.

Katie: Don’t you remember what Professor Khatt told you? It’s perfectly safe here. Besides, it’s just down the block.

Rose: OK. But call me when you get home. I want to make sure you’re safe.

Katie: All right. I’ll talk to you then.

Katie disconnects the phone.

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Katie: Meowsers! She is crazy. I have to call when we get back. Did you talk to your dad?

Elise: I almost forgot! He said that he would call her tonight and explain how distracting it would be for you if she called every night.

Katie: I hope he doesn’t hurt her feelings.

After the movie, Katie calls her mother.

Katie: Hi, Mama. We’re home. All safe and sound.

Rose: That’s nice dear. I hope you enjoyed the movie. I got the nicest call from Edgar. He told me that you are adapting well, and I don’t need to worry so much. He is going to call me every Friday to let me know how things are going. He suggested that you call me once a week since you will be very busy. I think Monday.

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Katie (confused): Sure, Mama. Mondays will be fine. Are you sure you’ll be ok with once a week?

Rose: Oh, yes. I don’t want to interfere with your studies. Love you.

Katie: Love you too.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: Your father is a magician! I only have to call once a week.

Elise: How’d he manage that?

Katie: He’s going to call her every week to reassure her.

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All goes well for several weeks. Everyone is making plans for the Thanksgiving break. Katie is talking to her mother during the weekly call.

Rose: Edgar tells me you’re doing very well in school.

Katie: So far, everything is fine.

Rose: Did you know he and Elise will be spending Thanksgiving alone?

Katie: She says that’s the way they always do it.

Rose: Well, I think it’s terrible. So, I invited them down here.

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Katie (in disbelief): Really, Mama? I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend that much time with one of my professors. It would look strange.

Rose: Don’t be silly. Cats shouldn’t be alone on holidays. Besides, you can spend your time with Elise.

Katie: I guess, Mama.

Rose: It’s set then. You can all take the train down on Wednesday.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: That’s weird. She invited you and your father for Thanksgiving.

Elise: That sounds like fun. I’ve never been south.

Katie: I’m so glad you’re going to be there.

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Rose makes a huge Thanksgiving dinner with an entire turkey. The kittens love Edgar. He has brought some of his cat models down and plays with the kittens. On Sunday, Rose drops Edgar, Elise, and Katie at the station.

Elise: Thank you, Mrs. Kitty. I had a wonderful time.

Rose: You’re very welcome. I enjoyed having you.

Katie: I guess this wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be.

Rose: I told you everything would be fine.

Edgar: You were a wonderful hostess, Rose. I’m so glad you invited us.

Rose: Thank you, Edgar. I’m looking forward to seeing you both at Christmas.

Edgar: We’ll see you then. I’m planning special gifts for both you and Katie.

Katie and Elise look at each other.

Next week: The finale. What is going to happen on Christmas?

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28

Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. If you live with small (or not so small) human children, you may have noticed that they are not around as much as usual. That’s because they have gone off to “school”.

Humans are a little odd in the way they teach their children (among other things). Instead of teaching them how to survive in the world, they send them to “school” to learn “facts” and “socialization”. And they only do it for part of the year. Very strange.

Anyway, life around the house changes when school begins. We’re going to talk about some of those changes and how they may affect you.

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Getting up Early – Your young human will probably start getting up earlier than usual.

Downside – They will use some loud noise to wake up. It’s called an alarm, and it makes an awful sound to wake the small human. You will not enjoy it. Also, you will lose your warm sleeping companion.

Upside – You get the warm bed to yourself.

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Buses – Your young human may take a “bus” to school. They are yellow. An alligator friend of ours refers to them as a can of people.

Downside – Young humans rarely are ready for the bus. They run around the house looking for things. There may be yelling. And buses make a very loud noise when they stop.

Upside – None

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Backpacks, Books, Shoes – Humans need a lot of stuff to go to school.

Downside – They will probably leave their stuff all over the house. You will either need to walk around it or over it. Often the adult humans will yell at them to put their stuff away. (School seems to cause a lot of yelling.)

Upside – Some of the stuff is really comfy to lay on. In particular, backpacks and books are good for relaxing. The shoes can be used as containers for gift mice.

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Pencils, Pens, Crayons – School also requires a lot of stuff to write with.

Downside – Crayons taste awful. Pens can leak ink onto your paws. Sometimes humans get cranky if you play with them.

Upside – It’s a lot of fun to bat any of them around and watch them roll. If you’re lucky, the small human may play with you.

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Lunch – A lot of small humans take food to school. An adult human usually makes a lunch.

Downside – The humans will spend a lot of time in the kitchen totally ignoring you. Some of the food is really icky, like celery. And they won’t let you give a sniff test to make sure the food is good.

Upside – Once in a while, you may get a piece of the meat that’s going on the sandwich. Don’t be fooled if they offer you peanut butter – it does not taste like butter.

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Gym Clothes – Sometimes the schools make the small humans exercise. They wear special clothes for exercise.

Downside – When these clothes come home, they smell terrible.

Upside – None. Avoid them.

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Baths – Parents make children bathe more often for school.

Downside – Small children don’t always want to bathe. (Disgusting, isn’t it?) There may be yelling (again). If you like to be in the bathroom, you may get dragged into the water.

Upside – Less chance of sticky fingers in your fur.

As you can see, school doesn’t really do much for us cats. In exchange for having a quieter house for a few hours a day, we get more yelling and running around for the rest of the time.

We highly recommend that you find a nice, quiet spot and ignore them all.

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21

Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting

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Forest Glenn is an upper middle class subdivision with a diverse multi-species population. Before moving in, residents must sign a contract agreeing to be governed by the decisions of the Homeowners’ Association.

Please find below the minutes from the August 1, Forest Glenn Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm. Approximately 30 homes were represented at the meeting.

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Horace Hogg, president of the Association, reminded everyone that the pool would be closed for the season following the annual Labor Day party. He wants everyone to be courteous in the dish they bring to the event. We do not want a repeat of last year when one of the guests saw a relative being eaten by other guests.

Halloween is coming. A reminder to residents: no decorations are allowed that flash, light up, or are offensive to other residents. Therefore, witches and pumpkins are acceptable, but no negative portrayals of cats or bats.

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Decorations are limited to the porch and front of the house. Real blood is prohibited due to health concerns.

There have been violations of several Association policies during the past month. If residents have not corrected the problem by the end of August, fees will be assessed.

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Grass must be no higher than 1 inch – Beau Bison, Shelley Sheep. Lack of appetite is not an acceptable reason for non-compliance.

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No lawn ornaments – Dolly Deer, Joe Jaguar, Bob Beaver. Lawn ornaments include (but are not limited to) gnomes, flamingos, and wooden “Welcome” signs.

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No buildings except a house and garage – Alan Aardvark. Buildings include sheds, tree houses and permanent play houses for your children.

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One flag may be displayed per house and no flags larger than 2 feet by 3 feet displayed from the front of the house – Edgar Eagle, Larry Lion. Flags include national flags, state flags, school flags, college flags, and club membership flags. Homemade flags are discouraged. Flagpoles are prohibited.

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Political signs are not allowed on lawns – Delilah Donkey, Edgar Elephant. These signs are considered lawn ornaments, and particularly tacky ones. No one cares who you are voting for.

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Only shrub fences – Tommy Tortoise. Any other material would ruin the natural beauty of the subdivision. If residents were allowed to use materials of their choosing, we would be faced with the possibility of something cheap and tacky. You know we can’t trust everyone’s taste.

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Quiet time between midnight and 6 am – Billy Bat, Harold Hyena. Nocturnal animals are welcome in the neighborhood, but must abide by association rules. Additionally, parties which last past midnight must be moved into the home. Vehicles with loud engines may not be used during the quiet period.

Some reminders for fall:

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Do not burn your leaves. They may be used for mulch or saved in the backyard for burrowing relatives to use during the winter. The Association will collect unwanted leaves for the less fortunate.

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All plants must be trimmed back to no more than a foot tall before the snow falls. You are welcome to eat them yourselves or share with a friend. We will provide names of plant trimmers upon request. You may add small branches to your mulch or leaf pile if you wish.

If you are expecting relatives for the winter, fees are due to be paid no later than October 15. As usual, group rates are available.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm. The next meeting will be September 5.

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15

Cat Forum: Ask Snoops and Kommando

We get all types of questions from readers of our blog. Today we thought we would share a few of them with you.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, I want to get my girlfriend a special gift for her birthday, but she’s already said that she doesn’t want a dead animal. Can you believe it? Any ideas?

It sounds like she doesn’t want a traditional gift. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. We recommend something personal. Girls like her tom making her dinner. Maybe a nice salmon patty or beef shreds. You could still use the mice for kebabs or a nice protein for a salad with cat greens. Catnip tarts are always a winner for dessert.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, My human keeps trying to get me to dress up in human clothes. Then they take pictures and post them. It is totally humiliating. What can I do?

We recommend the direct approach. If you find the outfit before they put it on, wet hairballs are a good option. They don’t look as suspicious as using the clothes as a litter box.

If the clothes are sprung on you, try to get away to someplace hard to get at or too small for them to come after you. With a little luck, they will give up trying to catch you.

It should always be a last resort to fight with your human. They are the keeper of the treats. However, extreme squirming is acceptable. Make it as hard as possible.

If all else fails, hide once the outfit is on. It’s much better for them to tell their friends that you were a fashion fail than have those pictures circulating on the Internet.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, My human keeps letting small humans into our house. We have our own small humans who are rather sweet (and good for getting us treats). However, these visitors are miserable little creatures. We do not like being held in sticky hands or chased around the house. They do not listen to our little humans. What do we do?

Do not, under any circumstances, hiss or try to claw the little monsters. You will get in trouble with the large humans. Our first idea is to stick around your human mom or dad when they come around. Any good human cat parent will protect you from grabby hands.

A cat tree or shelf is also a possibility. If you have an outdoor enclosure, head for that. Hiding under a bed will usually do the trick. (Make sure you’re in the middle where short arms can’t reach.) The key is to try to stay out of their sight.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, Our humans brought home a dog. It is huge (and smells awful). It wants to play with us. How do we deal with it?

First off, be grateful that it doesn’t want to be alpha animal. Some dogs come into a house and need to be taught that cats rule the roost.

It is a good idea to be as friendly as possible. Large dogs are useful in reaching things you cannot. And they can be blamed for all sorts of things.

Dog aroma is usually not too bad once you get used to it. A good way to adapt is to sleep in his bed whenever possible.  If the smell is excessive, the humans will force him to take a bath.

It’s fun to chase the dog rather than let him chase you. Whatever you do, protect your food.

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Dear Snoops and Kommando, we hear that your blog recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. Congratulations!

Thank you very much, but the celebration is much too early. It is true that Cat registered the blog five years ago. But in our opinion, it was rather pathetic. Very human-centric and total lack of focus.

We actually took over the blog in July of 2015. If you look at it before and after that date, you will notice a marked difference. We have improved the content, standardized the publishing schedule, and drawn in more followers.

In other words, animals rule!

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18

At the Watering Hole

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Mid-morning at a watering hole somewhere on the African savannah.

Zebra 1: Beautiful morning isn’t it?

Zebra 2: Did you hear that Ryan finally got up the nerve to ask Tammy to mate?

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Zebra 1: No! They’re so cute together. I bet they have beautiful colts.

Zebra 3: Hmmmph! She is such a flirt! She led my Tony on that she would mate with him.

The first two zebras look at each other.

Zebra 2: Well, I’m sure Tony will find a nice girl too.

Zebra 3: You bet he will. Then she’ll be sorry.

Further along.

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Warthog 1: This is a nice place. How did you find it?

Warthog 2: I was talking to a guy who told me how to get here. Said there was a lot of good water and a fairly low predator to prey ratio.

Warthog 1: You should have brought him along.

Warthog 2: Unfortunately, he got eaten not too long after we met.

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Gazelle 1: Did you hear the hyenas last night?

Gazelle 2: It sounded like there were a lot of them.

Gazelle 1: I know. It was very strange. The last time I saw the pack there were only 3 or 4 of them.

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Gazelle 3: I heard a rumor that they have some kind of machine that can make it sound like there are lots of them even when there aren’t. I think it’s called a fone or something like that.

Gazelle 1: Should have known. Those guys are always trying to figure out some kind of scam.

The watering hole goes silent as the group of lionesses approach. Slowly the animals start to back away.

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Lioness 1: Take your time. We’re here to relax, not hunt.

The other animals quickly move away.

Lioness 2: They never trust us.

Lioness 3: Well, we do eat them.

Lioness 2: That’s no excuse for bad manners.

Lioness 1: Did you hear what Leonidis said just before we left?

Lioness 3: I wasn’t listening.Image result for ostrich

Lioness 1: He’s bored with eating zebras and gazelles. He wants something exotic for dinner.

Lioness 2: Did he mention what this exotic dinner was supposed to be?

Lioness 1: He wants an ostrich.

Lioness 3: There aren’t any ostriches around here.

Lioness 1: The new girl told him she had eaten a couple and they’re delicious.

Lioness 2: Then let the new girl get one for him.

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Lioness 1: He wants her to teach the new cubs how to pounce.

Lioness 2 (sarcastically): Well, isn’t she special.

Lioness 3: I wish Leonidis hadn’t heard that human refer to him as “King of the Jungle”.

Lioness 2: I know. It went straight to his head.

Lioness 1: Humans are so much trouble. We don’t even live in a jungle.

They hear a roar in the distance.

Lioness 1: Time to get to work.

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all pictures courtesy of Google Images

30

Cats of the World, Unite!

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We have obtained a copy of the meeting notes from the Midwest Regional Cat Special Conference of June 19, 2018. We are printing it for all cats who are planning to join Cat World Domination Day on June 24. DO NOT let your humans see it.

Midwest Regional Cat Special Conference

June 19, 2018

Chicago, IL

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Murray: I hereby call this Special Conference to order. Before we get started on the main topic, are there any questions?

Herb: Are we going to be violent in this takeover? I don’t like violence.

Murray (patiently): No, Herb. I’ve explained this to you before. The point of Domination Day is to get the humans to do more for us, not to eliminate the humans.

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Janis: Are we going to include the ferals?

Murray: We’ve reached out to as many of the ferals as we can. A large number of them don’t want to have anything to do with humans. We have gotten commitments from some of the younger ones.

Mike: Have we tried bringing the dogs on board?

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Murray: I thought it was a waste of time. They don’t mind being subservient to humans.

Mike: Good point.

Murray (looking around): Any more questions? Then I’d like to present our speaker, Tabitha Tux.

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Tabitha: Thank you for having me, Murray. I’d like to speak a little about the goals of World Domination Day and then give some pointers. The goal is not to force humans to do our will. We want them to think it’s their idea. It’s not going to be accomplished in one day.

Sunday is really the kick-off for an ongoing campaign. Some lucky cats will see results in a few days, but others may have to wait months.

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Toni: How will we know if we have a hopeless human?

Tabitha: All humans are trainable. The trick is finding the right motivator. It may even be necessary to wait for breakfast.

(gasps from the audience)

Tabitha: You won’t usually need to go to such extreme measures.

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Murray: So how do we train them?

Tabitha: First you need to soften them up. If they have no interest in learning to hunt, stop bringing them prey. If they hate you fighting with your siblings, make a temporary truce.

Joe: Does this include cuddling on demand?

Tabitha: It might. I know it’s awful to be picked up while you’re trying to sleep, but remember the goal.

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Joe: what’s the goal?

Tabitha: You want them to give you a special treat or privilege. Once you get the treat, continue your training until getting the treat is a regular occurrence.

For example, if you love chicken and try to get a piece every time it’s served, try being patient. Chances are the human will tell you what a good kitty you are and give more chicken than you would have stolen.

You will need to work on one behavior at a time. You won’t be able to sleep in their bed at the same time you get to have a catio.

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Murray: All of this sounds like it’s going to take a long time.

Tabitha: It will take a while. But cats are a patient species. Also, humans are herd animals. If one person builds a catio, there is a good chance that the neighbors will try to build a better one.

Remember, humans didn’t get to this point of trainability overnight. It will take some work to reach the final goal.

(Enthusiastic applause from the audience)

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Murray: Any final words of encouragement, Tabitha?

Tabitha: Remember, Sunday is for time with your human. You can talk with your buddies on Monday.

Murray: Thank you for joining us. Tabitha will be here for a while to answer your individual questions.

(More applause. A line immediately forms to talk to Tabitha.)

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

10

On Dragons, By Dragons (Part 2)

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So far: Donnie Dragon asked his father why people don’t believe that dragons exist. His father is explaining how they became invisible. Part 1 is here.

The next night, Donnie asked his father to continue his story.

For many years, the dragons thought they had a safe home in Asia. Then they noticed something.

Every time a dragon was sick, a crowd of people appeared. If the dragon recovered, they went home. If the dragon died, a few people would wait for the bones to turn to ash and collect them.

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The humans believed that the bones had special powers they could use. The dragons were offended that they could not mourn in private. The dragons were angry, but the people would not stop.

Things were different in the West. For some reason, those people decided that we were evil from the beginning. It may have been the result of a couple of unfortunate incidents in England.

First, a sick dragon was flying home. He sneezed and accidentally set a village on fire. The humans decided that it was intentional, and dragons could not be trusted.

Then a young male dragon fell in love with a beautiful human girl. He took her to his lair against her will. Her father killed the dragon and took his daughter home.

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It was a huge scandal. The humans used the event as more proof that dragons could not be trusted. The dragons were angry that the humans killed one of them without asking why it happened.

The stories spread from one human village to another. With each telling, the story got worse. Eventually, people believed that the dragon had come down from his lair and set the village on fire. In the confusion, he had kidnapped all the young women and took them home to eat. Only the courage of one man had saved them.

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Donnie interrupted his father.

Donnie: But we don’t eat humans. Mama says they’re too fatty and not good for us.

Dad: I know. But it was too late to reason with them.

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Every time someone disappeared from a village, it was blamed on the dragons. We moved further and further away, but it was always the same story.

Some “brave” human would track down a dragon, lure the dragon close, and put a spear through his throat. Then the human would cut off the tail (no bones) and take it home. They never brought back the missing person because they “had arrived just as the dragon finished eating.”

The dragons sent a representative to town. He was trying to straighten out the situation. But as soon as he landed, he was attacked. He barely escaped with his life.

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A bookseller created a warning sign for the dragons to put at the entrance to their lairs, but it didn’t do any good. It was written in English, but the villagers couldn’t read.

Donnie: What’s ketchup?

Dad: I’m not sure. I think it’s a sauce to make humans taste better.

The dragons left for a place called Wales. Those people were much friendlier to them. But the situation was not good. The dragons were afraid all the time.

The Western dragons and Eastern dragons met high in the mountains of Asia. They decided that there was probably no way to repair the relationship with the humans.

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Because dragons are generally peace-loving creatures, they tried to find a non-violent solution. They looked through the Book of Spells. Finally, they found one that would make them invisible.

Some of the Eastern dragons weren’t happy with the solution. They had human friends they would have to leave. But there was no other answer.

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The dragons decided that they would all live together in those mountains. And here we are.

Donnie:  Do you think the humans will ever be able to see us again?

Dad: I’m afraid not. The spell can’t be reversed.

Donnie: That’s good. I don’t want to set someone on fire just to keep my tail.

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