I thought I had lost this story!
The Cat and the Elephant
“Excuse me, sir?” said the Cat.
“Yes? Can I help you? ” said the Elephant kindly.
“I’m looking for somebody. Have you seen a fellow named Shroedinger around? ” said the Cat.
“I’m afraid not. Is it very important that you find him? ” said the Elephant.
“Yes and no. ” said the cat, swishing its tail fretfully. “You see, he stuck me in this box with a vial of poison, and now I don’t know if I am alive or not. ”
“That sounds like an important thing to know. ” said the Elephant sympathetically.
“It rather is!” said the Cat. “I mean, not knowing if you’re alive or not really makes it diffucult to make plans. ”
“I can well imagine! ” said the Elephant. ” Well, I’m afraid that the only people who have been around here are those odd old blind men. ”
“Old blind men? ” asked the Cat curiously. ” What was so odd about them? ”
“Well, they were trying to figure out what I was. ” said the Elephant. “One of them got a hold of my trunk, and loudly declared that I was a snake. ”
The Cat laughed. “Some snake! ”
The Elephant smiled but did not laugh. “And some of the others agreed with him, and said I had so many snake-like properties, I must be a snake. ”
“So they decided you were a snake and left? ” asked the Cat, eyes alight with humour.
“Well no. ” said the Elephant. ” And this is the part that has me worried, because then another of them got hold of my tail, and delcared that I was, indeed, a rope. ”
“A rope? Not a snake? ” asked the Cat.
“Nope. A rope, with rope-like properties. And the rest all agreed with him, and started arguing with the first group. ”
“Oh, my fur and claws! ” said the Cat. “The things people get up to! ”
“Don’t I know it! ” said the Elephant, with a sigh. ” They went at it for hours, making very eloquent and complicated arguments about whether I was a rope or a snake. ”
“But you’re neither. ” said the cat matter-of-factly. ” You’re an elephant. ”
“Well you can see that, and I can see that, but they were too busy arguing their points to notice. ” said the Elephant.
“I guess that’s what makes them blind, I guess. ” said the Cat.
“And then they left, still arguing, and now I’m worried that they’ll just keep fighting and missing the point forever. ” said the Elephant.
“It’s not impossible. ” said the Cat thoughtfully. “Seems like a lot of people would rather win an argument than find the right answer. ”
“I know, and here I am, left waiting for them to come back. ” said the Elephant, and sighed. “Well, it’s not totally without hope. Some younger blind guys came along and started talking about this new theory that tried to explain that I was BOTH a snake AND a rope. Or rather, that I had a nature that ‘sometimes expresses itself as a snake and sometimes as a rope. ”
The Cat blinked, and said “But…. you’re an elephant. ”
“I know, I know… ” said the Elephant. ” And at this rate, it will take them forever to figure that out, and till then, they’ll just keep arguing. ” The Elephant sighed a long, sad sigh, and flicked its tail.
“And at this rate, I’ll never find out if I’m alive or dead!” said the Cat, then sighed his own long, sad sigh, and pawed at its whiskers.
The Elephant took a good long look at the Cat. ” Well you seem alive to ME. ” it declared.
“Really? ” said the Cat. “Are you sure? It’s very important. ”
The Elephant nodded firmly. “Yes. As far as I am concerned, you are alive. ”
“Oh thank goodness! ” said the Cat. “It’s such a relief to finally know! ”
“I’m glad to help. ” said the Elephant. “But all I did was look at you. ”
“Well, maybe you resolved the question just be observing me. ” said the Cat. “Anyhow, thank you…. um… come to think of it, what is your name? ”
“Quantum. ” said the Elephant. “And yours?”
“I’m not sure. ” said the cat. “It might be Heisenberg. I’m not certain. Anyhow, I should get going. I feel like finding someplace to collapse. Fair well, Quantum. Don’t worry too much about those old blind men, I think they’re happy how they are. ”
“I suppose so. ” said the Elephant. “And whether you’re Heisenberg or not, I hope you enjoy being alive. ”
“Thank you, I intend to! ” said the Cat.
And with that, the Cat disappeared.