Punch,  47 (1864), 64.

The Old, Old Story (Respectfully Dedicated to Small German Princes in General)



Poetry, Drollery


Comparative Philology, Animal Behaviour, Politics, Military Technology, War, Internationalism

    Describes the fable of a cat and monkey, whose 'moral's seen in action in all ages, ranks and climes'. The cat is an allegorical representation of Prussia and/or Otto E L von Bismarck (Count of Bismarck-Sch√∂nhausen), while the monkey represents 'the smaller powers'. The poem describes how the cat and the monkey lived together but that, one day, the cat 'closed her soft fur round' the monkey who was a generally well-behaved and peaceful animal that 'kept out of the way of edge-tools, gun-powder, fire'. The cat and monkey then craved for 'Duchy chestnuts' (a reference to the Danish duchies of Schleswig-Holstein over which Prussia and Austria were fighting Denmark), but after roasting the chestnuts the cat used the monkey's paw to 'extract the dainties from the fire's hungry maw', an act that caused extreme pain to the monkey but which enabled the cat to enjoy the food. The moral of the poem is that the cat (Prussia) is the 'artful one', while the monkey (smaller powers) is 'the tool eximious'.

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