Chapter 1. Strange things that happened in the house
White Paws is a black cat who lives in a large house. The house is situated in the outskirts quite near a forest. But White Paws never goes there alone, because he heard about small forest people. He heard about them a lot of times. The forest people don’t like cats. And they also don’t like, when children go to a forest without grown-ups. White Paws was told about it by his friend a small brownie, whom he had sheltered in the house a year ago.
Of course, nobody in the house guessed that this mischievous child had settled there. Everybody thought that all that happened there was due to White Paws.
“White Paws, was it you who overturned a glass with juice?” said Ervin every morning indignantly. “How many times can I repeat that cats must not drink juice and that mum left you milk in the kitchen?”
“And why does she bring you juice to your bedroom and leaves everything for me in the kitchen?” asked White Paws in his turn.
“Because you are a cat. And mum says that cats should eat in a kitchen. A kitchen is a place for cats,” explained Ervin.
“Your mother doesn’t know cats. She doesn’t understand them. Milk. Milk. As if I am a baby,” grumbled the cat. “What if I also want juice?”
“Cats can’t drink juice. They have special diet, cat food. They can loose their colour, if they use juice.”
And no matter how many times the cat asked juice for breakfast, Ervin didn’t agree to give it.
Of course, White Paws couldn’t tell that he had a small friend-brownie. He could not do it, because Ervin was afraid of brownies.
And though Brownie was very nice and absolutely not ugly in appearance, he couldn’t be shown to Ervin any way.
Brownie looked like other people, only ten times smaller than any human baby. He ate people’s food and refused to eat mice, though White Paws often persuaded him to taste his favorite dish. And, of course, Brownie couldn’t eat tinned meat for cats. But then, he liked everything that was given to Ervin, especially juice. What milk can be compared with juice, when you are already seven years old? For Brownie, though he was quite tiny, was already seven, just like Ervin. That is why, the cat had to steal food so as to feed his voracious friend.
As for Ervin, he had to pull the cat’s tail. And though he did it many times a day, the cat went on stealing and making a mess in the house. And what is more, every day he invented a new filthy trick.
Of course, nobody in the family knew that it wasn’t the cat, who overturned glasses of juice in the morning and polished the walls with soured cream, and constantly tore paper in the toilet. Mother had to put there new rolls of paper every day. Of course, at first she thought it was Ervin who set afloat toilet paper ships in the toilet. But Ervin gave his word of honor that it wasn’t him. Then everybody understood that it was White Paws…
The cat didn’t confess to anything. But he also didn’t deny anything. And that is why the words constantly heard in the house were “White Paws, it’s you again!”
Once, dad even wished the cat to live in the yard with Rexy.
Rexy has a large warm dog-house. And White Paws often visits him. He stays there half of the day communicating with Rexy. Nobody in the family knows what they talk about for such a long time. Only Ervin knows.
White Paws tells Ervin everything that Rexy tells him for Ervin is not allowed to rest in Rexy’s dog-house, even though it is so nice there. It’s so сosy, warm and clean. But mother says that it is clean only in the house. That is why, everybody walks there barefooted and wears shoes in a street. And one must not walk barefooted outside and must not get inside a dog-house. For mother and father don’t get inside dog-houses. How nice it would be, if they did.
And Ervin is not allowed to go out without permission. All this is due to…
Chapter 2. How they looked for Ervin
One day after breakfast White Paws as usual went to talk with his friend, Rexy. Mother was planting flowers in the garden. Father was at work. Alex, the elder brother, was sitting at the computer. Only Ervin had nothing to do. He walked from one room to another and invented how to spend his time.
At first he washed all the plates in the kitchen. Then he sang all songs, which he remembered. Then he made up three new songs. He sang them one time and wanted to sing them again, but he forgot the words. Then he decided to do something which he wouldn’t forget. He thought and thought and understood that he could draw something for mother. He drew grass because mother liked grass very much. And then he decided to draw something for father and for Alex.
He drew a basket with mushrooms for his father, because father always praised him when he brought home mushrooms and mother prepared them.
But he didn’t know what to draw for Alex, because Alex had everything in his computer. And so Ervin drew a postcard, where he designed a comp of future. It was portable, quite tiny and without a keyboard.
Then he remembered White Paws and drew him flowers. White Paws liked to smell flowers very much.
Only Rexy was left without a picture. Ervin began to remember what Rexy liked and he remembered that best of all Rexy liked sausages. Ervin decided to draw them next time. He took sausages from the fridge and went to visit Rexy.
Rexy was very glad. And White Paws was very glad too. They were just discussing one interesting matter. White Paws said, “Get inside!”
At first Ervin refused to do it. He merely stood near the dog-house. But Rexy said, “Why are you standing there at the door? Come in! There is enough place for everybody.”
So Ervin crawled in. They talked and talked and by and by they fell asleep. But when mother started to call Ervin for dinner, he was seen nowhere. Then Alex had to look for his brother. He examined the garden, looked behind the trees and ran to the street. He even ran to the clearing in the woods, where Ervin usually picked up mushrooms. There were a lot of mushrooms, as usual, but there was no Ervin.
Mother was very surprised because Ervin was a very obedient boy and couldn’t go to the woods without permission. So she called Rexy to go to look for Ervin with her. Rexy crawled out of the dog-house and began to jump near mother. He jumped, hopped, waved his tail and joyfully barked showing that everything was all right, meaning Ervin was at his place.
But mum couldn’t understand dog’s language. Ervin had tried to teach her both dogs and cats languages, but she didn’t want to study. So now she was not able to understand Rexy, when he tried to tell her about Ervin. Rexy barked so diligently and loudly that Ervin woke up. He saw mother’s legs not far from the dog-house and wanted to get out of it, so that to approach mum from the behind and scare her. But when he started to crawl out and put his head out of the dog-house, he understood that it was not as easy to get out of it as it was to get into it.
White Paws tried to help him pushing him from the behind. But what’s the use from a cat?
Then Ervin called his mum, so she wouldn’t go to the forest by chance. Of course, mother was very glad that Ervin was found. But she didn’t manage to get Ervin out of the dog-house. Fortunately, father came home for dinner at that time. He removed the roof of the dog-house and dragged out Ervin together with White Paws. He told Ervin to repair the roof of the dog-house. As for the cat, he only threatened it shaking his finger and said, “White Paws, if I see you again in the dog-house, I’ll leave you to live there forever.”
White Paws didn’t want to stay in the dog-house forever. He liked the house and wanted to live in the house, especially in winter. He was afraid that father would send him to the yard to Rexy. So, since then he visited Rexy only when father was at work. As for Ervin, it was forbidden to him even to approach the dog-house.
Chapter 3. A name for the brownie
Soon White Paws started to think about a name for the brownie. It seemed to White Paws that it was wrong to call the brownie Brownie.
So one day he said to the brownie, “I wonder, what name do you want to have?”
“I have one already,” said the brownie.
“But Brownie isn’t a name,” objected White Paws.
“Why do you think so?” asked the brownie very much surprised.
“Because Brownie is just a brownie,” replied White Paws. “But there should be another name too.”
“What do you mean?” asked the brownie again.
White Paws began to explain. “You see, everyone has a name in our family, even Rexy. I am a cat and my name is White Paws. Ervin is a small boy and his name is Ervin. Alex is a big boy and his name is Alex. Mum is a woman and so her name is Mum. Dad is a man and his name is Dad. And you are the only one without a name,” he finished and looked at the brownie.
The brownie kept silence. He kept silence for the whole day. And in the evening when they went to the kitchen, the brownie asked suddenly, “And why do they call you White Paws? How is it possible to call someone absolutely black, White Paws? They’d better call you just Cat. Why don’t they?”
“Because cats just like everybody else, must have names. My name is White Paws due to one accident which happened the first day Alex brought me home.” He kept silence for a while trying to recollect the details of the day. And then began, “When I was very little Alex found me somewhere and brought me here. I remember a jar with something white inside. I thought it was soured cream and when nobody was looking I put my front paws inside the jar to eat some soured cream. I was very much surprised when I discovered that I didn’t like its taste. And at the very moment when I was trying to understand if it was eatable at all, Alex came back into the room and saw me with my two front paws inside the jar. I was so confused that I overturned the jar and spilt the stuff I was trying. I stood in the middle of the stuff and the family looked at me. And, when they took me out of the stuff, all my four paws were as white as soured cream. Only it wasn’t soured cream. Later I learnt that the stuff in the jar was called paint. So you see, even the stuff has a name.” He kept silence for a while, then, went on, “Everybody laughed. Only I didn’t. Since then they call me White Paws.”
“Oh, I see,” said the brownie. “But why do they call Ervin that way?” he asked in a minute.
“I don’t know,” confessed the cat. “And I think nobody knows, because they never say why they named him Ervin. May be, his name is connected with some mystery,” he suggested after thinking a little.
“And what about Alex?” asked the brownie, for he really became interested in names.
“Alex is a very special name,” explained the cat. “It means someone is a very good boy. So, if your name is Alex you know you are a very good boy.”
The brownie was a little bit upset. He expected to hear some stunning story. And the cat’s explanation was so simple.
“But why do you call dad Dad? And why do you call mum Mum?” inquired the brownie.
“So it should be,” answered the cat.
“Then my name is Brownie. So it should be,” pronounced the brownie with a smile, for he loved that name very much. And he didn’t want anyone to call him otherwise.
Chapter 4. A place for living
When the cat brought the brownie to the house, he didn’t know where to hide the child.
At first he decided to place him under Ervin’s bed. But the brownie constantly ran out from under the bed. Besides, Ervin always looked under the bed before going to sleep to make sure there was nobody. Then the cat thought about Rexy’s dog-house. But the brownie refused to live there. He said that brownies had to live in a house. Then the cat offered him to move into a washing machine. The brownie answered that he didn’t want to be washed together with laundry by accident. The cat promised his little friend that on Saturdays, when mum washed laundry he would take him out of the washing machine quietly and walk in the attic. But the brownie said that it was more interesting to do it in the house than in the attic. So if the cat wanted to walk him, let him walk him in the house. The cat couldn’t walk the brownie in the house. So he suggested to use for walking the old wardrobe where mum kept her favorite old things. She looked there very seldom perhaps once a month to wipe off dust as not to let moth to live there. The cat thought that even when she looked there she wouldn’t notice the brownie, because he might hide in a pocket of the old raincoat. Mum didn’t put it on for a long time. Dad didn’t let her wear old things. But mum didn’t throw them away, anyway. She liked them and that is why she put them into the wardrobe accurately. They all were so clean and soft. And the wardrobe was so spacious and comfortable. Even the cat liked to be there. It wasn’t only clean, softly and roomy there. It was dark there in the day time. And when White Paws wanted to sleep in the day time, he went and hid himself in the wardrobe.
White Paws told the brownie what a nice place for living he had found for him. And the brownie immediately agreed. He liked everything there: the wardrobe itself, the old things and even the pocket in the raincoat, where he could easily hide from mum.
But the wardrobe was very old. And its door was very creaking. The cat didn’t think about it at first. He placed the brownie there, but the latter one couldn’t sit there inside the wardrobe. So, he began to creak the door getting into the wardrobe and then getting out of it. And the whole family began to suspect something. That is why, the cat started urgently to look for another place for the brownie.
He remembered that there was a big pig in the hall. To be more exact, it wasn’t a pig. It was a money-box in the shape of a pig. Ervin placed it near the entrance for father not to forget to throw a coin there when he came back from his work. Sometimes father even put some bonds there.
And the pig was rather large. And for dad to be able to throw there big coins, Ervin made there a big hole. So, the brownie easily got through that hole. It was very good there too. First of all, the pig didn’t creak. Second, nobody watched TV in the hall, like they did
in the living room and nobody prepared dinner there, like in the kitchen. In fact, there was nothing there at all, except for shoes where one could hide, if someone came unexpectedly.
The brownie liked to live in the pig. He covered himself with bonds, which also were there and for more softness he put several bonds under his head and back. And when it was dull for him to sit there doing nothing, the brownie began to count coins. He put them in piles and they fell down from the tops of the piles and jingled. The brownie liked to count money so much, that he almost didn’t get out of the money-box. And the more he counted the more he liked it. He completely forgot about secrecy and started to count money when the whole family was at home. The coins jingled. The cat shuddered. Ervin ran to the money-box. But he couldn’t see anything there, because the brownie covered himself with bonds. Ervin shook the pig and the brownie was shaken together with coins. When Ervin became certain that all the coins were still there, he went back to the kitchen. And the cat stayed in the hall and reminded the brownie about necessity of secrecy. And when he had to do it for the fifth or even for the sixth time, the cat didn’t stand it and moved the brownie to another place. He dragged the brownie out of the money-box and put him into the first suitable place he saw. And that place was a pot on a bookshelf. The pot was red with spots. And though it was meant for preparing food, it was so beautiful that mum kept it on the shelf as an ornament. It had been there for a long time already.
At first it was empty. But then mum put petals of roses into it. And when the cat put the brownie down into the pot, the brownie lowered down on the rose petals. And he liked that place more than he liked the money-box. That was why since then he lived there. Besides, it was more interesting to live in the living room, than in the hall. There was always somebody there. And in the evening the whole family gathered there together. And the brownie heard everything they talked about. And he also saw everything. He even managed to watch TV. Everyone watched TV and the brownie wanted to watch TV too. He looked out of the pot to see if anyone was looking in his direction. And then he got out of the pot half way, so as he would see everything. Then they agreed with the cat that the cat would make signs for the brownie. If he mewed three times it meant “wait a bit”. And if he mewed five times it meant “everyone is watching TV already and you may get out a little”.
That helped the brownie to understand the situation in the living-room, and the cat was not nervous that the brownie might suddenly jump out. That is why both White Paws and Brownie were happy, that they found such a wonderful dwelling for Brownie: a pot with petals of roses. Only the family wondered why the cat started to mew so often.
Chapter 5. Visits to the fridge