Nian the cat was a volatile, young creature. He roamed the village day to day, always making the same stops to collect offerings of fish and milk that the villagers would leave out for him. No one liked to be on the bad side of Nian, as he had made it very clear that if he was left unsatisfied or disgruntled in any way, he would start roaming the streets at night again and eat any small children that stayed out late to play. 

After the villagers attempts of trying to ignore the fat, patched cat when he had arrived in the village all that time ago, they discovered that he had prowled in the darkness and was responsible for the disappearance of many a young child and small, pet Pekinese dogs which he didn’t even enjoy the taste of but ate anyway to stop their insistent yapping. Nian had no reservations in letting the villagers know the nature of his ways, as he even returned the odd, indigestible piece of clothing to the corresponding families, which he felt was all in good taste.

When the villagers tried to scare Nian away or harm him in any way, he grew angry and ferocious, leaving the villagers with no choice but to keep him satisfied as best they could. Then one day, an old man with silver hair and a dark, leathery face, came across the small village and enjoyed its mountainous view so much that he decided he would stay for a while. He quickly learnt of Nian and decided that he would try to help the villagers rid themselves of such a menace. His plan was to poison the local rats and in turn, poison Nian, but the rats were too smart for the old man and always knew which food he had poisoned. The rats became so enraged at the old man’s audacity, that they told Nian of the old man’s plan, so Nian would act accordingly and eat the old man for breakfast.

Just as the rats had predicted, Nian waited for dawn to approach and began stalking the cobbled streets. He crept underneath windows and silently leapt up onto the window sills, looking for a sprout of white hair on the pillows. After encountering a couple of unlucky children, he came across a bedroom that did indeed belong to an old man with silver hair. Without thinking, a sly smile spread across Nian’s face as entered the room and raised his arm slowly, creating a shadow on the wall. 

Within seconds and without warning, the old man had turned around, smashing a huge china urn on top of Nian’s head, making him shriek out and crash to the floor. Nian lay there in a daze, unable to move, but could see the old man looming over him as he cackled to himself. Nian tried to flip himself up but found himself well and truly stuck. When he tried to turn, he ended up rolling across the floorboards and couldn’t stop as the chuckling, old man followed. The old man bent down and picked Nian up, and placed him back on the window sill to face the village. There Nian stayed, forever more, now only bringing good fortune to the villagers as he waved outsiders in.

 

Fin.