Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Darling Two-Tailed Demon Cat

Mothers can't have favorites (in public anyway) but authors certainly can. The Bake-Neko is one of my favorite characters in Guardian of the Green Hill. How can I resist a two-tailed demon cat who looks like this:

and says:

You did the great magic, did you not? Surely that was all for me, lovely me? I imagine you heard of my great beauty and unsurpassed softness and decided you must stop at nothing to do me this favor. And I, in return, allow you a glimpse of me.”

Or, when he finds the heroine unclothed:

The protuberances and declivities of your species don’t interest me. Or perhaps you hide your ungainly hairless body in natural shame, for beside lovely me, what an unsightly creature you are. Still, as there must be admirers and admirerees, I do not begrudge you your existence.”

The quintessence of cathood, my Bake-Neko considers himself the supreme being, but he's gracious enough to occasionally help out the less-fortunate and less-furry. The Bake-Neko (or bake-neko, or bakeneko) of Japanese folklore is a confusing creature, sometimes benevolent, sometimes downright wicked. So of course he fits in well with the morally ambiguous fairies. According to some legends, a cat can become bake-neko if it lives a certain number of years (I've read anything from 13 to 100), grows an unusually long tail, or weighs more than one kan, which is a little over 8 pounds. So apparently, every cat I've ever owned is a bake-neko. Sometimes they live peacefully with humans and bring luck and riches to their companions. Sometimes they eat the woman who owns them and take her shape.

And, because all writers have to have cats, here is my own little neko, Whiskey:



Anachronist said...

I love cats and your bakeneko is, I am sure, a great addition. I suppose cats tolerate us, humans, just because we provide food.

Shanan, The Book Addict said...

One of the restaurants where I get my lunch a lot has a saying on the way: Dogs thinks they are human. Cats think they are God. It makes me laugh every time I read it. :)