The Black Cat’s Message

/A Texas Halloween Story/

I came home late one night after work, and found my wife working in the kitchen with a big yellow cat at her feet. “And who is this?” I asked with my eyes fixed on (мои глаза прикованы к) the cat. “This is our new cat”, said my wife, giving me a hug (обнимая меня) and kiss to welcome (поприветствовать) me home. “She has just appeared (появилась) at the kitchen door and wanted to come in. None of the neighbors (никто из соседей) know where she came from. It`ll be nice (будет хорошо) to have some company around the house.” I scratched (почесал) the yellow cat under the chin (подбородок). She purred (замяукала) and stretched (потянулась). “Well I think we can afford (позволить себе) to feed (прокормить) three”, I said. My son took my job at the market (на рынке) and my wife and I were enjoying (наслаждались) lazy (ленивый) old age. I liked to keep busy (быть занятым). So (поэтому) I spent (проводил) a few hours (несколько часов) every day cutting wood (рубил лес) for the mill (для мельницы). I went out to milk the cow, and when I came back in, Ethel (my wife) gave the cat some cream (сливки) in a saucer (блюдце). We sat on the porch (крыльцо) after dinner, and the cat sat with us. “You are a very nice kitty,” I said to her. She purred loudly (громко). “Donald,” Ethel said. She sounded (звучала) worried (тревожный). I turned (повернулся) to look at her. “The neighbors acted (вели себя) rather (довольно) strange (странно) when I told them about the cat. They seemed (казалось, что они) to think she was a ghost (привидение) or a witch  (ведьма) transformed into a cat. They told me to get rid of  (избавиться от) her. “A witch?” I asked and laughed (расмеялся) heartily (от души). “Are you a witch, little cat?” The cat yawned (зевнула) and stretched. Reluctantly (неохотно), Ethel started to laugh with me. It was so ridiculous (нелепо)! We sat watching the beautiful sunset (закат), and then went to bed.

The cat quickly (быстро) became (стал) a part (часть) of our house. She would awake (будила) us (нас) each (каждое) morning purring and would ask  (просила) for the cream when I brought (приносил) home the morning`s milking. She followed (следовала за) Ethel around the house (по дому) during (во время) the day and would sit by the fire (у огня) at night while (пока) we read out loud (читали вслух). The days became (становились) shorter (короче) as autumn (осень) approached (приближалась), and often I would work (работал) until (до)  nearly (почти) sunset (закат), cutting wood. One night in October, I didn`t finish working until dusk (до сумерек). I forgot (забыл) to take a lantern (фонарь) with me. I rounded the corner (завернул за угол) and saw a group of black cats standing in the middle of (по середине) the road. They were nearly (почти)  invisible  (невидимы) in the growing (растущей) dark (темно). As (когда) I came closer (ближе), I saw that they were carrying (несли) a stretcher (носилки) between (между) them. I stopped and rubbed (протёр) my eyes. That was impossible (невозможно). When I looked again (снова), the stretcher was still (всё ещё) there (там), and there was a little dead (мёртвый) cat lying (лежал) on it. I was shocked. Then, one of the cats cried out (закричал), “Sir, please, tell Aunt Kan that Polly Grundy is dead.” My mouth dropped (упал) open in shock. I shook (потряс) my head, not believing (не веря) my ears. “How ridiculous (нелепо)”, I thought. “Cats don`t talk”. I hurried (поспешил) past (мимо) this group, carefully (осторожно/внимательно) looking the other way (в другую сторону). “I must be working (должнро быть я работаю) too hard (слишком усердно)”, I thought. “Who was Aunt Kan? And why did the cat want me to tell her Polly Grundy was dead? Was Polly Grundy the cat on the stretcher?” Suddenly, a small black cat approached (подошёл к) me. I stopped and looked directly (прямо) at it. It looked back at me with large green eyes. “I have a message (сообщение) for Aunt Kan”, the cat said. “Tell her that Polly Grundy is dead”. I was completely (полностью) shocked. I began (начал) to walk home as quickly as (так быстро как) I could (мог). Around (вокруг) me the woods (лес) were getting darker (становился темнее) and darker. I didn`t want to stay (оставаться) in the woods with a group of talking (говорящие) cats. Behind me the cats were shouting (кричали) all together (все вместе): “Old man! Tell Aunt Kan that Polly Grundy is dead!” I had enough (с меня былро достаточно). I sprinted (быстро побежал) for home as fast as I could and I didn`t stop until (пока не) I reached (добрался до) my house. I paused (остановился) to catch my breath (перевести дыхание). I didn`t want  to explain (объяснять) my wife that I was seeing (видел) and hearing (слышал) impossible (невозможные) things (вещи). She would give me some medicine (лекарство) and call the doctor. I went into the house and tried (пытался) to act (вести себя) normally (нормально). I should have known (я должен был знать)  it would be all (это всё будет) in vain (напрасно). From the day (с того дня как) we were married (женаты) she knew (знала) me inside and out (изнутри и снаружи). But she didn`t say anything (ничего). She sat me down (усадила меня) in front of  (перед) the fire and brought (принесла) me my supper (ужин). Then (затем) she said to me “Tell me all about it, Donald.” “I don`t want to worry (беспокоить) you,” I said,  reluctant (не хотел) to talk about talking cats and a dead cat on the stretcher. The yellow cat was lying (лежал) by (у) the fire. She looked up when she heard my voice (голос), and came to sit by my chair. I offered (предложил) her some food. “I`ll worry more (больше) if you don`t tell me,” said Ethel. “I think maybe something wrong (не так) with my brain (мозг),” I said slowly (медленно). “While (пока) I was walking home, I thought I saw a group of black cats carrying a stretcher with a dead cat on it. Then I thought I heard the cats talking to me. They asked me to tell Aunt Kan that Polly Grundy was dead. “The yellow cat jumped onto the windowsill (подоконник). “Polly Grundy is dead?” she cried. “Then I am the Queen (королева) of the Witches!” She moved (пошевелила/махнула) her tail (хвост) and the window flew open (распахнулось) with a bang (с грохотом). The yellow cat jumped through (через) it and disappeared (исчезла) into the night, never to return (никогда не возвращаясь). Ethel had to (пришлось) empty (опустошить) a whole (целый) bucket (ведро) of water over my head to revive (оживить) me from my faint (обморок). “The good news (новости)” she told me when I sat up, shouting at her, because the water was ice cold, “is that you have nothing wrong with your brain. The bad news is that out cat has just left us to become (стать) the Queen of the Witches. We`ll have to (нам придётся) get (взять) another (другую)  cat.” “Oh no,” I said immediately (сразу же). “I`ve had enough (с меня хватит) of cats.” We got (завели) a dog.