Friday, January 16, 2015


The ancient Irish, having a flair for naming, called the cat Luchtigern, which means “Lord of the Mice.” The Ottoman sultan was called (among a very long list of titles) “Lord of the Horizon.” Before Michael Flatley usurped the name, Vishnu was known as “Lord of the Dance.” Vishnu, who preserves and in whose dream we live, can assume any shape he wishes, and why not a cat? And, since time is an illusion, who or what (or what combination of whos and whats, be they never so powerful) could stop him from manifesting in Istanbul some centuries ago, and becoming Sultan? (One presumes that he would not be a slave to custom, so that Bramhah and Shiva would not need to prepare for visits from a mute with a silk bow-string). But how call himself? Lord of the Horizon’s Dancing Mice? A certain fey charm to this, but lacking in the dignity one associates with gods and sultans. Dancing Mouse, Lord of the Horizon? No cat would call himself so (though a ruler called Dancing Mouse would afford considerable relief from such sobriquets as Cruel, Terrible, Drunk, Insane, or Foul-beard). Lord of the Dancing Horizon Mice? Fine, but Vishnu preserves; it is Bramhah who creates, and would he be willing to make horizon mice, let alone ones who could dance?

It is, no doubt, precisely such considerations as these which have prevented a cat from ascending (or, more properly, descending) to the sultanate. It has long been known that a cat may look at a king. It is less known that what the cat is thinking is “Suppose I were to take your throne? What would I call myself?”

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