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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Asses and Cats

By Sam Schulman

The Magpie, Spring 1940, v. 24, n. 2, p. 42.

WHY did He send me here to this land of stupidity and selfishiness? All living creatures that the eye can see are either asses or cats. On every side there are asses and cats.

For what reason did my Creator send me to this horrid land? I dare not question, for He is my Creator, and I must do His bidding.

He sent me hither, and until the time when He sees fit to return, I shall remain. But there are many problems that perplex me. Every living, breathing creature on this planet is either an ass or a cat. They are very queer individuals, to say the least.

I have been residing in an inn kept by a small bewhiskered old cat with long beard. One day, upon leaving my lodging, I encountered an assemblage.

One young cat was standing upon a platform screaming his lungs out to great mass of asses who watched his every movement with their stupid eyes, and stored every word he said in their stupid heads.

Several older cats sat on the platform also, far in the background, smirking and smiling at the young speaker and the asses.

The young cat was shouting something. "Shall we allow our national integrity to stand in the way of our future postrosity? Our neighbors demolishize our citizens, barp down our houses, and then insultigate us. There is only one introgenious way out. WAR! We must fight for the glory of our own impregnastile state. Viva Catsassia!!"

"Yeah," said some dumb ass, "what we need is a war."

"Hooray for War!" shouted another.

"WAR, WAR, WAR, WAR!!!!" They all shrieked. The sly old cats in the background smirked and smiled some more.

"WAR, WAR, WAR, WAR!!!" The bells of some distant chapels started to clang, then some nearer chapels joined in the chorus. "Clang, clang. WAR, WAR, clang, clang, WAR, WAR."

Then the asses started to Haw and Hee, and kicked themselves and yelled and screamed in joy. They were becoming hysterical; I thought it best to return to my inn.

All through that night the bells and the shouts kept me awake. In the morning the tread of marching hoofs drowned out the now weary bells, for the foolish asses were going off to war. The steady tread kept on through that day and its monotonous sound put me to sleep. I awoke in the evening. The marching hoofs were gone. Off to the east there was a rumble that occasionally would cause the inn to vibrate.

That night, I wrote a letter to my Creator.

"Dear Creator,

This is a queer place You've sent me to; full of cats like weasles and asses as dumb as they look. I can't understand why You've sent me here, and undoubtedly I shan't ever know. I am not to question Your Supreme Judgment.

They do the queerest of things here. They talk nonsense, they jabber gibberish, they are extremely stupid. They fight with one another, and they wear clothes, which I am sure, my Creator, you did not mean to be. Every twenty years they get rid of their surplus population by a horrible means which will eventually lead to their extinction.

Tell me, please, if I am to stay here amongst these queer people. They are again fighting with one another in some sort of war to preserve democracy, the sly cats leading the dumb asses.

This must be another experiment of yours, and I'll be glad to stay longer but I see no use for it. These people are mad."

I signed the letter thus: "Very Truly Yours,

Ambassador of Heaven to the planet called EARTH."

I sent it by special messenger, and am now waiting for the reply. This last war has been over for quite a while now, and already the sneaking cats are at work trying to gain a war following amongst the asses. And whether they like it or not, the dumb asses are being driven to an even greater catastrophe. "We shan't go in again," they say, but they are wrong. The cats are at work, and soon the asses will be involved in another great war. They're all so very stupid, these asses of this planet called EARTH.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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