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Translated by Irina Zheleznova
Illustrated by Y.Charushin
When Tuppy is surprised or sees something strange he makes a funny tup-tup-tup sound with his lips.
When the wind blows in the grass, when a bird flies by or a butterfly flutters its wings, Tuppy creeps up to it with his eyes wide open, saying, “Tup-tup-tup, I’ll catch you! I’ll pounce on you! I’ll play with you!”
And that’s how Tuppy got his name.
Once Tuppy heard a soft whistle.
There in the gooseberry bushes were quick little grey birds hunting for bugs and beetles.
Tuppy crept up softly and hid. He held his breath. He didn’t even say tup-tup-tup, because he was afraid he’d scare the birds away. Suddenly, he pounced on them! He nearly caught one. But he didn’t.
Tuppy did not know how to catch birds. He was only a little kitten.
One day Tuppy got a spanking. It was Netty, his mother, who spanked him.
Cats always chase their big kittens away when they have little ones, but her little ones had been given away. The next day she miaowed and purred and called to him. Tuppy remembered his spanking. He didn’t come to her. He didn’t want to get spanked again.
Netty purred: “Come here, silly.”
Tuppy licked his chops. He had learned how to drink milk from a saucer, but Netty’s milk was much tastier.
Finally, he crept over to her. Soon he was fast asleep.
Then strange things began to happen.
After all, Tuppy was growing up. But Netty felt he was still a tiny baby. So she rolled him over and began to lick and wash him.
Tuppy woke up in surprise. He didn’t like his washing. He could wash himself.
He wanted to scramble off, but Netty purred: “Lie still, you’re a tiny baby, you’ll get lost if you run away.”
She purred and purred until she finally fell asleep herself.
Then Tuppy climbed out of the basket and went off to have some fun.
He was going to catch butterflies and pounce on a sparrow.
When Netty woke up she saw that her darling little Tuppy was gone. He was lost!
She ran out into the yard and called to him.
There he was, on the roof, running about after the sparrows.
Netty rushed up to him.
“Be careful! You’ll fall!” she warned.
But Tuppy didn’t even listen. So Netty took him by the scruff of his neck and carried him down, just as if he were a tiny baby. Tuppy kicked and squealed. He wanted to play on the roof.
Once Netty had him back in the basket she washed him and purred. She could not understand that Tuppy was a big kitten and did not need a nanny any more.
One day Tuppy saw a sparrow sitting on a branch singing a song. “Chirp, chirp!” sang the sparrow.
“Tup-tup-tup! I’ll catch you! I’ll pounce on you! I’ll play with you!” Tuppy said and crept closer. But the sparrow saw him. It chirped still louder.
“Look, there’s a cat here! See where he’s hiding! There he is!”
And suddenly sparrows came flying down from everywhere. They sat on the bushes and branches. Some even landed right in front of Tuppy.
And they all began to scold: “Chirp, chirp! Chirp, chirp!”
The noise was enough to make you deaf.
Tuppy became frightened. He had never heard such a racket. And ran off as fast as he could. The sparrows kept right on scolding Tuppy. Then they told each other how brave they had been to scare away a cat.
There was no one for Tuppy to catch. No one wanted to be caught. So Tuppy climbed a tree and hid among the branches.
He looked this way and that, but he couldn’t see any birds. They could see him, though. They had been watching him.
Then Tuppy saw them. Strange-looking birds were staring at him. These weren’t little grey birds or scolding sparrows. These were nearly as big as he was, they were big blackbirds, looking for a tree in which to build their nest.
He looked very strange to them, too.
Tuppy was very pleased. “Tup-tup-tup! Who can they be? Tup-tup-tup! I’ll catch you! I’ll pounce on you! I’ll play with you!”
But Tuppy didn’t know which one to catch first.
One big blackbird was sitting in back of him. The other was in front, and very close.
Tuppy looked this way and that. First at one, then at the other. While he was looking at the one in back, the one in front pecked him. That hurt. Tuppy couldn’t understand who had pecked h m.
He jumped off the tree and ran into the bushes.
And now, whenever he sees a bird, Tuppy never pays any attention to it. He doesn’t chase birds any more.
Author: Charushin Y.; illustrated by Charushin Y.
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