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In a small village on the far-away island of Wakitaki, there lived a troubled cat named Sensei. Sensei had no friends and no one to talk to for, you see, he had one very unusual problem: Sensei’s entire life has been ruined by mice. And despite the fact that Sensei was a cat and mice were his favorite delicacy, he was seriously outnumbered. If he made one wrong move, he would be attacked by thousands of tiny teeth. For the past several years, he had put up with their irritating activities—crawling up and down his walls, following him everywhere he went, squeaking all day and night. They loved to mock him incessantly—just for being a feline.
One day, Sensei decided that he had had enough. “What shall I do about this?” he asked himself. “I don’t know,” he replied. Around and around the questions went in his mind until at last, he had an idea. “I must go to see the Master of all cats at the top of Gitchigoo Mountain. He will give me a solution.” So Sensei set out on a long and grueling climb up the mountain with nothing but a prayer and a hope that his journey would be worthwhile.
When he finally arrived, exhausted after several hours of climbing, he exclaimed, “Oh, Master, Master! I have a problem you must help me solve.”
“I already know of your problem,” the Master replied.
“Then what shall I do?” Sensei demanded.
The Master sat motionless for quite some time, softly stroking his white kitty whiskers. Finally he said, “Bring me ten pieces of wood this big and this wide,” the Master said, spreading his paws as far as they would go. “Only then will I help you solve your problem.”
Sensei turned, heading directly for the woods and said, “I will do what you ask.” Then off he went—into the woods, up and over the mountain hunting for the large (and heavy) logs. The process took quite some time, but he did finish. And at the feet of the Master, he laid the ten pieces of wood—all precisely the right size. The Master congratulated him on his hard work and persistence and offered only this advice, “Return to the village, now, and prepare to host the grandest party ever given. Invite every member of the village to eat, drink and be merry.” “What?” replied Sensei; “a party?” Smiling wide, the Master said nothing more.
Sensei returned to his home—tired, hungry and very disappointed that his problem had not been solved. But when he unlocked the door to his house with his little, kitty key and stepped inside, he was shocked by what he saw: All the mice had died. With no food to eat or water to drink the entire time he had been away from home, they had starved to death.
Overjoyed, he ran outside and yelled up the mountain (knowing that his thanks would probably never be heard), “Thank you, Master. My problem is solved!” Then, at that moment,
he thought he heard something—a faint “You’re welcome” perhaps. Then, Sensei turned around and was surprised once again to see the ten pieces of wood he had gathered for the Master at his
doorstep. Sensei bent down and picked up a note pinned to bark of one of the logs. It read, “Let’s get cooking!”
Sensei now understood the Master’s plan. At once, he built a large fire with all of the wood and invited everyone in town to the largest mouse roast ever held. The entire village dined on delicious skewers. Later that night, Sensei slept in peace. Feeling refreshed, he awoke the next day and went shopping for mouse traps in the village, just in case. Much to his surprise, instead of hiding in their houses, every member of the village greeted him with a smile and sincere words of thanks. Because of his dedication and hard work, Sensei had found friendship—and happiness—once again.