Hovhannes Toumanian

(19 February 1869 - 23 March 1923 / Dsegh, Lori Province)

The Dog And The Cat - Poem by Hovhannes Toumanian


Once there lived a pussy cat,
Who was very sleek and fat.
As for his trade,
Warm things he made:
Hats and mittens
For cats and kittens.
One fine day the furrier-cat
Whistling in his workshop sat
When in came a dog
Out of the fog.


He made a low bow
And he yelped “Hullo!”
And after he’d yelped
He pulled out a pelt.
Then he said to the cat:
“Have a look at that.
I’ve got no hat
And the winter’s near.
It’s all too bad;
I’ll freeze, I fear.
If it comes out nice,
I’ll pay any price.
What do you say?”


“How long will it take?”
“Oh, less than a week.
To oblige a friend,
I’ll be double-quick.
Sewing a hat
Isn’t sewing a coat
Oh no, mere play.
Come on Saturday!”


“It won’t be a hat
But a very peach,
The envy, I’ll warrant,
Of every and each.
As for the money,
That can wait.
We’ll talk it over—
Never too late.
Sewing a hat
Isn’t sewing a coat.”
“Good-bye, Cat!”
And off the dog strode.


On Saturday morning
The dog turned up,
Shaking and shivering
Like a wretched pup.
“Is it ready, my hat?”
“Oh no,” they said.
“And where’s the Cat?”
“Not at home yet.”


Before the doorstep
On a mat
Frozen Mr. Doggy sat,
When down the street
Came Mr. Cat
In a brand-new lambskin hat.
Tile saw the dog and he said:
“Waiting for me, I bet?
You’ll be getting your hat, don’t worry,
But don’t be in such a hurry..
Though it isn’t a coat but a hat,
It takes time, a job like that.
I sprinkled the pelt before tea.
Now I’ve got to cut it, you see?”


“Too bad,” said the dog, “too bad,
That you haven’t yet finished the hat.
But maybe you’ll tell me plain
When can I see you again?
I’m coming here not to chat,
But to get my hat, Mr. Cat!”


“Come on Wednesday,
But please don’t grumble.”
The furrier-pussy mumbled.
So again the unlucky dog
Came on Wednesday at three o’clock.
“Good day! Now it’s ready, I hope?”
“Good day! Lovely weather! Nope!”
But here their voices
Rose in pitch.
They told each other which is which,
And finished with a noisy tussle
Involving claw and tooth and muscle.
“You're just a thief!”
“And you’re a crook!”
“She's just a bitch,
The wife you took!”
“You pig!”
“You brat!”
“You milksop, you.
“You filthy cat!”
“I spit on you!”


Things went from bad to worse
Till it got to court, of course,
Where the Judge and Jury sat
Who promptly ordered:
Both the dog and cat!”
The swindler cat
And swindled dog
Both came to court
At ten o’clock.


Who judged the case
And where and how
I see no need to say.
But ever since that famous row
The furrier ran away.
He disappeared
And what is worse
Took with him
All his stock of furs.


And since the cheeky furrier
Of all our cats was sire
To get their own back on the tribe
Is what all dogs desire.
On seeing one,
An honest pup
Starts growling at the cat
As if he wants to ask again,
“Well, what about my hat?”
The cat just hisses in reply
And spits from shame or fright
Just like the cat whose story I
Made up my mind to write.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, December 23, 2011

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 28, 2012

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