It is about 10 days ago now, when I first heard Annelise
shouting for Helge, that he should come quick and listen, because
there was a cat, that you couldn't see, who was miaowing
somewhere. When Helge came to listen where the sound was
coming from, the miaowing stopped.
This whole performance was repeated nearly every day for
the next few days, and we started to have a little fun about, this
thing with a ghost cat, that only was there, when Annelise came
into the old rubbish-room in that end of the house, and stopped
miauwing when Helge came.
Every morning when we were having our morning coffee,
there was a lot of fabulating around and about the mystery of the
noisy cat without a body, and that reminded me of the Cheshire
cat in Alice in Wonderland, where the cat disappears and only the
grin is left, but here it was only the sound of the grin, that was
hanging in the air.
Perhaps it was the souls of cats long since dead,. which
haunted the house, because they, at times in the past, were
drowned in the toilet bowl in that end of the house, and only
could be heard by a person, who like Annelise was in a very
close psychological contact with the cats on the farm.
"The children are all grown up and gone now, so 1 have
only the cats and you stupid lot of menfolk to take care of, and here
the cats are the most important people".
Annelise is mother to a whole clan of wild cats, among
which a few are less wild than the others and sometimes honour
the house, by coming in and reposing themselves on the floor in
front of the wood-burning stove.
They are all red striped marmalade cats, and I can't see the
difference between them, but apparently Annelise knows them
personally and have names for all of them, but as there are so
many of them, and they all the time walk around in different
places in and around the farmyard busy catching rats and mice,
so it is not so easy to see if one or two are missing.
One day one of the old cats called me into the ghost room
and tried to explain to me, what was wrong, but as I am not really
well up on the special dialect of the cats on Bornholm, I did not
believe his story, that there was a member of his family behind
the panels of the wall. Actually I believed the cat was a
ventriloquist, and that is why 1 did not do anything to clear up
the truth of the matter.
When all this mallarcy had been lasting a week or so,
Helge got tired of listening to all this 'katzenjammer', and in the
end he did no longer bother to take the trouble to go and listen to
a sound that wasn't there when he arrived, but it nevertheless
nearly every day gave us the opportunity to tell weird stories
about supernatural phenomenon with werewolfs and hellhorses
and cats, which in reality were witches, who were burned on
the stake at the time of King Christian number four.
So one day Annelise got so desperate, when she again heard
the sound of the invisible cat, that she started to tear down the panels
from the wall, and when she saw the tail of a marmalade cat sticking
out of the glass-wool behind the panel, she was struck by the terrible
thought, that the cat was dead. She fled from the place in horror,
loudly screaming for Helge, who came flying and heroically ripped
some more panel boards away from the glass-wool.
Suddenly a very much alive cat jumped out of the wall and
disappeared out of the door and across the yard without as much
as saying thank you. Annelise was deeply chocked by the thought,
that the poor cat had been shut up in the wall for 10 days without
food or anything to drink.
After having made sure, that the cat had come to no harm
from the stay behind the panel, Annelise came back and radiant
with happiness told us, that everything was all right with Redfe,
that is the name of the cat, because she is a young red female feline.
Back of beyond the old horses stable the panel cat was
sitting and stuffing her self with food and milk; but Annelise
was still so upset about what the poor cat must have suffered, that
she again and again told us, how she several days ago had heard
something scratching behind the panel, it must be rats, she said,
and then she hammered so hard on the panel by her chair, that the
coffee cups were dancing on the table, where we were sitting
and drinking our breakfast, to stress the fact, that this was the way
she had done it several times during the 10 days the poor cat had
been sitting in there behind the hammering and couldn't get out.
The worst thing being, that the cat had got nothing to
drink for many days, and having had nothing at all to read, as
Helge drily remarked.
Surely someone will ask, how the dickens did the cat get in
there? If you look, at the drawing, you will see a hole in the
windowsill, that is probably the way she got in there, and as
cats cannot walk backwards, Helge has explained that to me, the
wee being couldn't get out again.
Annelise was so chocked, that she had to take a glass of
something or other, very strong, to strengthen her self. As the
level of the liquid behind the label of the Tequila bottle sank
towards the table top, so was Annelise sinking down into a deep
dark misery caused by what had happened to one of her beloved
cats, and while she was stumbling around the house in her nearly
unconscious drunken stupor, she tumbled backwards into a large
cardboard box, that she could not get out of, until[ she in spite of
her incredible intoxication succeeded in cutting her self out of
the box by means of a pair of garden scissors, which accidentally
lay floating about within her reach.
Not until later did she become aware of the fact, that the
pinible pain in her backside was caused by the sharp points of
the metal clamps in the bottom of the cardboard box.
In spite of a little thought, that mad cats get a scratched
skin, it is nevertheless a very special pleasure for me to express
my unlimited admiration and acknowledgement of the abilities of
Annelise to handle any situation. Even when she is gloriously
drunk she can cut her self free from being boxed.
Everything is now back in the old groove, and Redfe is
walking quietly and proudly in and around the farmyard with her
tail held high and by tiny elegant dips by the tip of her tail she is
telling the other cats about the frightful days and nights behind
Written on the seventh day of the month of March 1997.
Kalmon von Balticum.