The story of the spotted cat and the swallow Sinhá

The story of the spotted cat and the swallow Sinhá

This fable was invented by the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado, unfortunately disappeared. As in the majority of fables, its protagonists are animals with human characteristics. Almost always, the intention of this type of narrative is to transmit a teaching or a morality: they have a didactic function and also raise questions on certain aspects of the human condition.

The narrative structure of the fable is based on opposition, that is, its protagonists confront each other with subjective positions.However, this clash occurs with unequal conditions. For example, socially, this could happen between a high-ranking character and his low-ranking counterpart. But because of an unexpected narrative element, the situation changes.

The spotted cat

The story that interests us, that between the spotted cat and the swallow Sinhá, takes place in a park where live trees and animals of different species.As the story unfolds, we observe that time and seasons create an atmosphere that influences and plays a role in the animated state of the characters.


"It is just as impossible to light a fire with snow as to extinguish the fire of love with words."

-William Shakespeare-


Amado describes the spotted cat (one of the protagonists) as middle-aged, far from his youth. And he continues: ” nearby, there was no such selfish and lonely creature. He now has no friendship with his neighbors and almost never responds to the rare compliments that, out of fear and not of kindness, some walkers addressed him ".

Nothing changes the daily life of the park, until spring makes its appearance. Thus, with "Merry colors, stunning aromas, melodies sound. The spotted cat was sleeping when spring burst, suddenly and powerfully. But his presence was so strong and insistent that he awoke him from his sleep without dreams; he opened his brown eyes and stretched out his arms.

In this new spring episode, the spotted cat finds itself in a state of unusual optimism. "He felt light, wanted to say words without embarrassment, wander aimlessly, and even chat with someone. He looked again with his brown eyes, but saw no one. All were gone.However,” on a tree branch, the swallow Sinhá sang and smiled at the spotted cat ".Meanwhile, "from their hiding-places, all the inhabitants of the park watched with terror the swallow Sinhá ".

The swallow Sinhá

Jorge Amado recounts how the other protagonist of the fable was: "When she was walking, smiling and coquettish, there was no bird of marriageable age who did not sigh for her. She was still very young and no matter where she was, all the young people in the park were approaching her.

She laughed with everyone, gave herself to everyone, but did not like anyone. Free from all concern, she was flying from tree to tree through the forest. Curious and talkative, with a pure heart. As a matter of fact,in none of the surrounding parks was there a swallow as beautiful and kind as the swallow Sinhá ".

The swallow had a conversation with the cat, during which she came to insult him, something the other inhabitants took for a death sentence on the bird.Her parents had forbidden her to come into contact with cats, since they were natural predators for birds.But she did not respect this order and argued with him.

That night, the swallow "put her pretty head on the rose petal that served as a pillow, she decided to continue the conversation she had with the cat the other day: –He's ugly, but nice … "she murmured as she fell asleep.The spotted cat also thought of the wild swallow Sinhá. However, there was one thing he did not have: a pillow. In addition to being mean and ugly, the spotted cat was poor and rested his head on his arms.

Cat disease

The cat was very tired. So tired that he thought he was sick.He finally realized that he had a fever and went to get water from the lake to calm the burns he felt in himself.And there, in the waters of the lake, he saw the reflection of the swallow Sinhá who was looking at him: "And he recognized it in every leaf, in every drop of dew, in every ray of the twilight sun, in every shadow of the night that came ".When he finally gets to sleep, "he dreamed of the swallow: it was the first time he had dreamed for many, many years.

The spotted cat did not understand that he had fallen in love.He did not recognize his feelings very well.When he was young, he had fallen in love very often, almost every week, but he did not care about those feelings. In fact, he had broken a lot of hearts. When he woke up, he remembered that he had dreamed about the swallow all night, but decided not to think about that story again.

However, all through the spring, he kept looking for the swallow Sinhá to chat. They were never short of topics of conversation.They soon began to walk together in the park.He walked on the fresh grass and she accompanied him, flying at his side. They wandered aimlessly and discussed the color of flowers and the beauty of the world.

The spotted cat was totally transformed. "He was no longer threatening other living beings, no longer destroying the flowers with a poke,He no longer bristled when a stranger approached or whiskers to scare off the dogs, insulting them in a low voice. He became a gentle and kind person. He was the first to compliment the other inhabitants of the park, who previously did not respond to any greeting addressed to him. "

Does love have borders?

At the end of the summer, the swallow and the cat dined together. In an instant,as they chatted, the cat could no longer restrain herself and confessed that if she had been a cat, he would have asked for her in marriage.” That night, after what had happened, the swallow did not return. The cat tried to understand what could happen to her, and what contradictory feelings she was struggling with. Filled with sadness and loneliness, he resolved to go and talk to the owl ".

At first, he only spoke to her about unimportant topics. But as the owl was wise, she quickly guessed what was hidden in this unexpected visit. And so, without waiting for the cat to ask her, she informed him of the rumors circulating in the park about his meetings with the swallow.

All thought only of him, and that made him mad with anger. Finally, the old owl gave her his opinion:"Old friend, there is nothing to do.How could you imagine that the swallow was going to accept you as a husband? Such a case never happened, even if she loved you. "

Nevertheless, at the beginning of autumn,the spotted cat went back to look for the swallow. He found her serious and distant.She no longer smiled and expressed no sympathy. The cat felt very sad and could not hide it. The owl's words echoed in his heart and he just managed to walk in silence with the swallow.

That night, the spotted cat became the trickster he had been.He ran the black duck, frightened the parrot, scratched a dog's snout, and stole the eggs from the henhouse just to throw them into the fields. All the inhabitants of the park spread the news and began to fear this cat who resembled the incarnation of evil.

The end

After a few days, the spotted cat received a letter from the swallow Sinhá, transmitted by a traveling pigeon.She wrote to him that a swallow could never marry a cat. That they should never see each other again.

She added, however, that she had never been happier than during those walks in the park with him. And she ended the letter with a sentence that burned her heart: "I will always be yours, SinháThe spotted cat read this message several times, until he learned it by heart.

Not long after, the swallow appeared without warning. She was as charming and sweet as in the spring. It was as if nothing had changed, as if all the distances separating them had diluted. The cat was moved. At the end of the afternoon, he knew the truth:"They stayed together until nightfall.She told him that it would be the last time they saw each other, that she was getting married to the nightingale.Why ? Because a swallow can not marry a cat ".

The spotted cat was annihilated by the news. On the day of the wedding he could not bear it and passed the place of the party. The swallow, who knew the sound of his footsteps, knew he was there and let out a tear that, carried by the wind, landed on the cat's paw.

That "illuminated the solitary path of the spotted cat, in the night without stars. The cat took the direction of the narrow paths that lead to the crossroads of the end of the world.Ultimately,a beautiful story that reminds us of the eternal darkness of impossible loves.

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