After the two of them departed, I helped myself to the remainder of Kangetsu's kamaboko. I've gained some notoriety of late. It seems to me those cats of Momokawa Joen, or even Gray's cat who went after the goldfish, have nothing on me. The same goes, of course, for Kurumaya no Kuro. Anyway, no one's going to take me to task over a single kamaboko slice. This tendency to sneak a bite while heads are turned, I can attest, is hardly unique to us cats. Osan, when the lady of the house is away, is always pilfering bean-jam cakes. And it's not just Osan. The children too, on whose fine upbringing their mother loves to expound, are just the same.
Four or five days back, the children rousted themselves out early, at some ungodly hour when the master and his wife were still sleeping, and faced off at the table. Their customary breakfast was a slice of the master's bread sprinkled with sugar. On this particular morning the sugar jar was out, and it even had a spoon in it. This time, there was no one there to dole out the sugar, so finally the older one took a spoonful and dropped it on her own plate. The younger one followed her big sister, scooping the same amount in the same manner from the jar to her plate. After looking at each other for a time, the older one took the spoon again and added another spoonful to her plate. The younger one immediately took the spoon and matched her big sister with an equivalent amount. The older one scooped another spoonful. Not to be outdone, the younger one added one too. The older one reached for the jar. The younger one took her turn with the spoon. I watched the sugar piles grow, a spoonful at a time. When both plates were piled high, and the jar had been emptied, the master appeared from the bedroom, rubbing his weary eyes. He took the sugar, scooped so laboriously, and returned it to the jar. When it comes to fairness, the notion developed by humans, with its foundation in egoism, may well surpass that of us cats. In common sense, however, we cats have the upper hand. Rather than piling sugar high, better to lick it up without delay. I'd like to have told them as much. However, as I've noted before, the cat language is beyond them. Regrettably, all I could do was watch in silence from my perch on the rice warmer.