Feeding 5000

Finally, the rooster crowed. The little black and white kitten had to amuse herself while everyone slept. But she knew that noise. It meant company. She scrambled up a bed and landed on her boy’s stomach. She walked up to stand on his chest and watch his face. As soon as he opened his eyes, she said a little “meow” and got a “good morning, Shasta” in return. The day had started and she purred happily.

Shasta continued to follow the boy around as the family got up and began the day. She played with the water while he washed his face and pounced on every strap or string that moved as he got dressed. At breakfast, just like every other meal she had known, he saved some scraps as a special treat for her.

But then things changed. The family wrapped up bundles of bread and fish. Lunch, so early? When Shasta wasn’t attacking the boy’s sandal straps, she watched carefully. And when the family left the house she scampered along behind. Where fish went she went. Part of it belonged to her.

They walked for a long time before they came to a hillside. A hillside full of people. Shasta had never seen so many people in one place. Her family found a place to their liking and settled down on the grass.

Shasta went to the boy’s side and looked at him with her serious kitten face. She said a little “meow” to let him know that she wasn’t sure of herself in a crowd like this. He brought her onto his lap, spoke to her softly and petted her. She curled herself around, making sure that every pet-able inch got petted. Then, with a long happy purr, she settled herself down to wait for lunch.

From her safe place she looked around. As she did, she noticed Someone. The Creator was here. All these people must have come to hear Him. He was talking about Himself and how the people could be sure that He spoke the truth. Everyone in the crowd paid close attention to Him. Even a little kitten knew that was the smart thing for them to do.

Her long walk had made Shasta sleepy. She flattened her ears and worked her way into a fold in her boy’s coat to nap. When she finally woke up and poked her head out of her fold she realized that they had been there a very long time. She climbed out onto the boy’s leg, yawned and stretched. As she looked around her, she noticed that people looked very hungry. Food seemed like a good idea to her, too. She started to sniff around her boy’s lunch and rub her head against his knee.

The men with the Creator began going through the crowd, as if they were looking for something. Suddenly her boy stood up, took his lunch and walked very determinedly toward the Creator. What was he doing? Where was he taking her fish? Shasta followed close behind him. She watched him hand his lunch (their lunch!) to the Creator. She jumped up and tried to catch it with one paw and then cocked her head to look at him, trying very hard to understand. She looked at the Creator and gave a little “meow” of protest. He turned to see a very upset little kitty face and chuckled. He spoke softly to her. “Don’t worry, little one.” Then, as she watched from between her boy’s ankles, she saw something amazing.

The Creator took her boy’s lunch, thanked His Father for it and began giving it away. She continued to watch as that one lunch fed everyone on the hill. Everyone. And they all ate as much as they wanted.

The meal ended and they cleaned up the hill, collecting all the scraps in baskets. Shasta stretched herself up and up until she could rest her front paws on the edge of one of the baskets. She stretched herself even more to get her little chin over the top and look inside. What she saw was more fish than her little kitty head had ever imagined. Her little eyes got very round, her whiskers twitched, her ears moved in little circles. And she purred with all her might.

She shouldn’t have worried. The Creator does things right—even scraps for a kitten.

© 1995, Micki Parkinson

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