Because of an Angora Cat: A Trivial Matter Becomes Essential

Denny JA
Karya Denny JA Kategori Cerpen/Novel
dipublikasikan 06 September 2017
Because of an Angora Cat: A Trivial Matter Becomes Essential

Because of an Angora Cat: A Trivial Matter Becomes Essential

translated by Nate Lukinsky

 

 

You’ve cried too many tears all night

Morning has already replaced twilight

“Please, Minah… Make a choice…

The moon is slowly dripping blood…

 

Minah was already in her teens

She had been indulgently cared for by her teacher

But at an advanced age, her teacher passed away

And the country was on the brink of misfortune

 

“Let’s go, Minah. Decide where to go home to

Your life has become too errant

Just because of angora cats

Sense and feelings have elapsed”

 

“Ya, ya, yes… Just because of an angora cat

It makes me feel anguished and distressed

Just because of an angora cat

I have lost my family”

 

Minah kept talking to herself

Now she was losing her mind

 

Once upon a time there was a Master Teacher

Whose words and beliefs were always emulated

An angora cat, a pink-colored creature

Always sat and meowed next to this Preacher

 

Every time the Teacher prayed

The angora cat meowed along

The cat was sequestered in the Teacher’s room

So that his prayers could silently dive, submerge, and be strong

 

A habit was thus created

Every time the old Teacher prayed

The cat was confined to his room

All knew, obeyed, and silent they stayed

 

Ya, ya, yes… Everyone knew, obeyed, and remained hushed

Each time the Teacher prayed… Shush, Shush, Shush…

The angora cat was confined within

 

One day the old Teacher passed away… Inna Lillahi, they cried

But his pupils maintained the dead teacher’s tradition

Each time they prayed in a silent condition

The angora cat was still confined inside

 

Ya, ya, yes… Everyone obeyed and was quiet

Although the Teacher was no longer in sight

Each time they prayed at night

The angora cat was still confined inside

 

A terrible tragedy happened one day

The angora cat had aged and passed away

My God, how could they maintain their tradition

If they wanted to keep praying with erudition?

 

Whom can we consult on this question

Their Teacher could no longer advise them, He was in Heaven

The Board of Elders in the village convened a session

But they could not reach a decision to help their brethren

 

The country was in turmoil, its denizens were restless

They worried and cried until their minds were senseless

“We need some guidance,” they said with derision

“You must make an immediate decision”

 

The Board of Elders finally reached one conclusion

Their dead Teacher’s example must be copied in every respect

Before we had the angora cat

We weren’t able to pray on our mat

 

“Find a new angora cat

You must not fail in finding one

We will confine it to our room

Our prayers will again silently dive and submerge

 

We all witnessed this tradition with our eyes

Make sure everyone here complies

Please find a new angora cat

So we can sit and pray on our mat

 

Those who supported the Board of Elders were ready to act

They lined up holding their nets

They prepared food, torches, and bamboo

In their quest to find a new angora cat

 

A youth named Polan had a different notion

Their old Teacher had oriented his cohorts in silent devotion

Most essential was the objective of one’s prayer

We did not really need an angora cat

 

“Staying loyal to our old Teacher

Should not mean copying his every feature

Look at essential aspects if you’re able

External aspects shouldn’t be as rigid as a table”

 

“It’s unnecessary to find a new angora cat

Make your heart intent on prayer

Do not waste time in this fruitless pursuit

We don’t really need a new feline recruit”

 

“An angora cat is a rare feline breed

It’s endangered, hunting it is a misdeed

Let’s go and pray without being perturbed

Why should our prayer depend on an angora cat?”

 

Villagers who supported Polan politely lined up

Some had beards, others sported a mustache

They deterred the followers of the Board of Elders

It was not necessary to hunt for angora cats

 

Amir stood in the middle path

The extreme attitudes were too awkward

He hated the rigid and rejected lax attitudes

His most important certitude: don’t violate tradition

 

“What’s important is the cat, even if it’s not angora

It can be a village tabby or a Persian from Katmandu

You say it’s hard to find an Angora. Any cat will do

Quickly now, It’s getting late for prayer”

 

The villagers who supported Amir got in line

In unison they were ready to seek

To catch any cat, as long as it was feline

Angora, Persian, it didn’t matter what breed

 

Their shouts rang out, but their slogans differed:

“Come on, let’s find an Angora cat” [1]

“Come on, let’s find a cat. Any kind will do”

“Come on, let’s go home. We don’t really need a cat”

 

The public became divided among three factions:

“Let’s find an Angora cat…”

“No, any cat will do just fine…”

“Enough already. We don’t need a cat at all”

 

The town square descended into chaos

Agitation mixed with restlessness

The stench of hostility stung the eyes

The sun cried blood

 

The people quarreled night and day

Trees and vegetation were uprooted

Another victim fell, his blood gushed

The country was in an uproar, the sky became pale

 

The Board of Elders assembled once more

The country was aflame in a civil war

Just because an Angora cat had died

A compromise was necessary. They had to decide

 

One elder said, ”to accept our differences we must take action

No country can be split into three warring factions

Let’s peacefully respect each other

And pursue a harmonious existence together”

 

But the next elder had a different view

“No, no, no…faith must not yield. We must not bicker…

We must not be tolerant towards those who differ

We must preserve the Teacher’s tradition as strong as a pillar”

 

This hard-line elder cried out in a resounding voice

“Long live the angora cat!

Whoever kills someone who DIFFERS his blood will be sanctified

To deviate? I’ll fight you to the death while I’m still alive”

 

Minah was even more miserable now

Her parents had passed away a long time ago

She still had three older brothers

They had all been pampered by the beloved Teacher

 

But now her brothers differed greatly from each other

The first, anything for the sake of an angora cat

The second, just find another breed of cat

The third, a cat was not necessary at all

 

The love among theses siblings had dissipated

Due to the overwhelming importance of an angora cat

Minah could only choose one of her brothers

She could no longer be a sister to them all

 

Minah cried incessantly

Which caused her angry brothers to cringe

“Brothers… our love for each other should dominate

Especially above the issue of an angora cat.”

 

Her tears were met with scorn

“Minah, do not make light of faith

Without an angora cat

How can we pray?”

 

So this was the tale of a country

Who remained united when their beloved Teacher died

But became miserable when his angora cat expired

Minah remains distressed and cries endlessly: Du di du da da…

 

[1] In the early stages of the story, the Angora cat is merely an accessory which is not significant in fulfilling the people’s faith. However, as time goes by, the Angora cat is considered more essential. Even worse, it eventually caused divisions (a schism) among people who had previously maintained the same tradition.   A similar situation occurs frequently in religion, in which disputes lead to schism and result in the creation of new religious sects and movements: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schism

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