Little Fiddle Ballet
To Read the original nursery rhyme "Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle",
click heres

Believe me, training a cat and a cow to perform classic ballet is no walk in the park. Cats are smart little beasts, good at a lot of things you and I can't do. They can catch mice and chase birds and lie around on silken pillows like some movie star. They're really good at the lying around part, which is the only cat-like thing you and I can do at all.

But cats are not musical, and teaching our cat Cleo to play the fiddle took weeks and weeks of effort. She wouldn't even try until I promised her a long, silk scarf to wear as she played. But Tango and I—Tango's my little dog—kept her practicing, and when she could play "Turkey in the Straw" without too many errors, we went out to the barn where she could play while my cow, Natasha, learned to dance.

Like cats, cows are not very musical. And like cats, cows can do a lot of things really well that you and I can't do. Cows can eat grass and provide milk and butter and cheese and spend all day out in a pasture without complaint and moo loudly. Which is about the only thing you and I can do that is a little cow-like.

Still, after weeks and weeks of practice, with Cleo fiddling away, her scarf waving in the wind, and me keeping time with a spoon beating against a a tin dish and Tango yipping at her heels, Natasha learned to wear her tutu properly, to step this way and that way, to arch her back, to stand on her hind legs, and to leap the way ballet dancers have to leap. They call it a jetÈ, which sounds like some kind of airplane.

Ah! then came the hardest part of all. It took all my tin dish beating and all of Tango's heel nipping and yip-yipping to get the cow and the cat to perform together. But it finally happened, and I began to whack the dish harder and harder, Cleo began to fiddle faster and faster, and Natasha got more and more light-footed. At first, she could leap only as high as a fence, and then she could leap as high as a barn, and then, well, we figured she was ready to take a shot at the moon.

So when the next full moon came, people gathered from all around to watch the first cat and cow classical ballet performance. Tango barked to quiet the audience. I began to bang the dish with the spoon. Tango yipped, Cleo began to fiddle, and Bossy began to dance. I banged harder and harder. Cleo fiddled faster and faster, Natasha jumped higher and higher. And then, over the moon she flew.

Everyone applauded wildly. Such a show! The first ever cat and cow ballet had been a wonderful success! Natasha and Cleo and Tango and I took a bow.

But Cleo had had enough, and with a sigh of relief she dropped her fiddle, pulled off her scarf, and meowed,"That's enough fiddling around for me. I'm gonna go chase mice!"

I dropped the tin dish and the spoon and got some fresh hay for Natasha, whose tutu was drooping. My little dog Tango started to laugh. "Hark, hark, hark!" he went. "Yippy, yip,yip," which is dog talk for, "Didja ever see such sport?"

And the spoon and dish? They were not happy. They said, "Everybody got applause but us, and we're the ones who took the beating. To heck with the Little Fiddle Ballet, we're outta here!"

And away they ran.



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