Somewhere, just outside the edge of town, there was a house inhabited by five furry feline friends.
Together they shared innumerable adventures and good times. Here is one such story.
It was a warm and particularly sunny day at Wordstock Manor, and Stella was lying rather discontentedlyon the patio.
It was obvious she was displeasedwith her day. Why she was so dissatisfiedthough was uncertain.
Through the library window, Maxwell spotted Stella lying listlesslyon the patio. This lack of energy struck him as being out of character for his friend.
This was not the livelycat he knew – always so highly animated…
… if not somewhat cantankerous. Noting that she was being neither playful nor ornery, Maxwell decided that he would step outside to talk to his friend.
“You’re looking rather spiritless this afternoon,” he said.
“I’m boredMax,” Stella responded without enthusiasm. “There is absolutely nothing to do.”
Maxwell pondered his friend’s predicament for a moment. “You know,” he said, “when I was younger and feeling unenthused, I would follow the path beyond the pond to a tree swing atop a hill.”
Stella’s interest was immediately piqued. Swinging from a tree sounded like an amazing idea. She could already imagine how much fun it would be.
With her curiosity aroused, she rose from the ground and headed off towards the pond.
Stella knew the path Maxwell had described. It was just beyond a gate opposite the pond. She had seen it before, but she had never crossed the gate to follow it into the trees.
Suddenly, Stella felt very apprehensiveabout the whole idea. Not knowing what was behind the gate made her feel uneasy, and she began to imagine all of the fearfulthings she might encounter on her way to the swing.
“What if the path past the gate is dark and littered with cobwebs?” Stella thought anxiously.
She really wanted to find the swing, but the thought of going alone was beginning to make her nervous. She couldn’t help but worryabout the unknown.
Just as Stella’s concerns were beginning to get the best of her, she saw something that instantly alleviatedher worries. Near the pond, Stella saw her friend Pepper passing the time by painting.
“What a relief,” Stella thought. “Pepper can help me find that swing. Having her come along will certainly make things easier.”
“Pepper,” Stella shouted, “Maxwell just told me about a fascinatingswing that’s nearby. I think that we should go find it together!”
“Well, that certainly does sound intriguing,” Pepper replied, “but I’d rather continue painting. Maybe you would like to join me instead.”
Stella tried to enjoy painting, but it simply couldn’t hold her interest while the thoughts of the tree swing were still in her mind. Fortunately, she had another idea.
“I know,” Stella thought, “I’ll find Millard. He knows where everything is, and he’s always looking for ways to occupyhis time.”
It was true. Millard was almost always engaged in some activity or chore around the manor grounds. If any of the cats could get her to the swing in the tree, it would be Millard.
Not surprisingly, Millard was in the library, engrossed in the task of sorting through the manor’s many books.
He was so caught up in what he was doing, that he didn’t even notice Stella enter the room. Muttering titles to himself, he just kept on working.
Millard clearly wasn’t about to be distractedso easily, so Stella leapt onto the book cart to catch his attention.
“Millard,” Stella began, “do you know where the tree swing past the pond is located?”
“Tree swing, tree swing, tree swing,” Millard mumbled still rather inattentively. “Yes, I know where that is.”
“Really! Can you take me there?”
“There? Today? Now? No, no. There’s too much work to be done, but perhaps Phil can show you the way.”
Stella was hopefulthat Phil might be able to help her. She poked her head into the kitchen to see if he was there.
“Phil,” Stella yelled, “you aren’t busy are you?”
“No,” Phil replied.
That was a promisingstart, so Stella eagerly continued with a second question.
“Would you mind taking a stroll with me past the pond to find a tree swing I’ve heard about?
Phil doubled over with laughter.
“Taking a stroll and swinging from a tree does not sound like an excitingtime for me. If I want to have a thrillingexperience this afternoon, I’ll bake some spicy salmon cakes.”
Stella left the kitchen and sat down upon the stairs. For the second time that day, Maxwell happened upon her looking as discouragedas ever.
“Stella,” he said, “you’re looking as glumas before. I was certain that you would be on your way to finding the tree swing by now.”
“I really want to,” Stella responded somewhat quietly. “There’s nothing I’d like to do more.”
“That’s odd,” Maxwell said, “to me it looked as though lying around the manor is what you wanted more than anything.”
Stella considered what Max had said. After all, finding the swing was what she most desired.
“I want to play on that swing far more than I want to just sit around here being bored,” Stella thought. “I can handle a few cobwebs and shadows if that’s all it takes.”
Stella returned outside. Now resolvedto find the swing, Stella pulled open the gate and looked down the path, which wound its way into the trees.
It was unfamiliar territory, but she was bound and determined not to let that stand in her way.
Overjoyedto be headed to the tree swing at long last, Stella marched right along the trail without even the slightest worry on her mind.
In fact, she was in such great spirits that she didn’t even notice a single cobweb along the way.
After a short jaunt, Stella arrived at a single tree atop a hill. Despite any initial misgivingsabout following the path beyond the gate, she managed to find the swing Maxwell had described to her. Immediately upon seeing it, Stella was glad that she hadn’t let her fearsand concernsprevent her from having fun.
Unbeknownst to Stella, things were about to become even more delightful, as Maxwell had convinced the rest of the cats to join him on a short walk to the top of the hill.
Surely, seeing all her friends arrive at the swing after all would be extremely pleasing.
In the end, the afternoon turned out to be quite congenialfor all involved, as the five friendly felines of Wordstock Manor spent the remainder of the day in each other’s company. It was all rather enjoyable.