Tuesday 28 January 2014

The Animal Underworld

Sarah Harvey

Once, long long, ago in a leafy Sydney suburb, there lived a black Labrador called Jet. Jet lived in the same street as a cat called Pickles, a grey Siamese cat. Jet and Pickles didn't get along.

Each morning, as Jet’s owner took him on his daily walk, Pickles and the other neighbourhood cats would line the surrounding streets and taunt Jet as he walked past. Pickles was the ring-leader of the other cats, and he encouraged them to tease and pick on Jet. Jet’s owner didn't realise what the cats were doing of course, but Jet did. Jet was hurt by the cats’ cruel meows about his weight, and his salt and pepper-coloured fur.

One thing the cats didn't know though was that Jet owned a violin, and although he loved his violin, he’d never been taught how to play it. One day, when his owner was out, Jet decided to sneak out for a walk. He did this occasionally, but never strayed far enough to get lost. On this particular day however, he decided to wander in a different direction so as to avoid the cats. He got lost.

As he was working out how to get home, Jet saw a ‘shop that he’d never seen before, but as he couldn't read, he didn't know where he was. Where could he be? Jet trotted into the shop and saw lots of violins, along with other musical instruments. He was in a Music Shop! In the music shop the sales assistant gave Jet some lessons on how to play the violin and then directed him home.

Jet practised and practised for days; Pickles and the other cats could hear the music coming from Jet’s house. They were very jealous because they couldn't play any musical instruments.
One afternoon, about a week after Jet had been to the music store, he was out for a walk with his owner. As usual the cats began to taunt him, but Pickles hissed at Jet to come and meet him in the side lane that night. Jet was nervous but wanted to show the cats that he was not afraid of them.

As agreed, Jet snuck out after his owner had gone to sleep. He sauntered around the corner into the alleyway and stopped. It was blanketed in darkness. A young tabby knocked over a rubbish bin in fright and the lid clanged noisily onto the ground, but Jet still couldn't see anything and approached with caution. A light above the lane flickered briefly so that Jet could see the cats sprawled across his path. He heard one of them hiss defensively.

‘Come out into the moonlight where I can see you,’ said Jet.
Pickles obeyed and moved out into view, followed by a few of his posse. Pickles was wearing a smart black vest. He arched his back and stretched lazily as the other cats around him shifted nervously and flicked their tails. Pickles studied Jet for a moment.
‘That thing you've been playing... What is it?’
‘It’s a violin.’
‘You play it very well... for a breed of low intelligence...’
‘What do you want, Pickles? I have things to do.’
‘I want to learn how to play the violin too. I want you to teach me.’
Jet considered this for a moment.  ‘I’ll teach you, but for a price.’
‘Name it, dog.’
‘Stop making fun of my weight and my hair colour. I can’t help growing old and I'm working on my fitness. It will happen to you one day too.’
‘Well if you’re going to be sensitive...’
‘Oh all rightall right. I’ll call the others off.’

Very kindly the Jet showed Pickles where the music shop was and he had some music lessons too. In return, Pickles did as he had promised and never teased Jet again. 

Sometimes, when none of the other cats were watching, they even played a duet. 


  1. Love this Sarah - very whimsical! Would make a great picture book too.

  2. Oh wow, this is such a great story Sarah. I absolutely loved it. I also really like your style of writing. Good job.

  3. Wow! Enjoyed a lot reading it! Agree with Diana, the way this story builds up and is structured is awesome. And moreover if it's about animals its always cute! Why don't you put up your short stories for an online competition? Here check this out-http://www.tallenge.com/contest/literaturestorycontest.html
    There is no entry fee. Winner gets $100.


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