Naughty Nasna by Laura E. Richards
Nasna was a coati-mondi, a cousin of the raccoon family. She was
about the size of a cat, with thick, coarse fur, brown on the back and
sides, and shading from yellow to
orange underneath. She had a head
and four legs, and a fat body; but
the two most important parts of
her, in her own opinion at
least, were her nose and her
tail. The tail was certainly
very handsome, long, and
bushy, with black and yellow
rings round it. The
nose was long, too,—long
and sharp, and always
poking, poking itself
never was such an inquisitive
nose. Now it
was lifting the lid of a pot
on the kitchen fire (for Nasna
was tame, and a great pet of
her master's), and scalding itself
with the steam; now it was
sniffing at a bottle of strong ammonia,
without seeming to be troubled
in the least by the smell; now it
was in her master's pocket, trying to find
out what it was that went "Tick! tick!"
But what do you think the nose did one day? oh! what do you
think it did? You never could guess, and so I must tell you.
The old cat had been asleep beside the kitchen fire. She had had
a long, long nap,—the sleepy old cat,—and when she woke up she felt
that she needed a long, long stretch before she was quite herself again.
Now, the way in which the old cat stretched herself was this: she put
her four feet close together, and humped her back just as high as she
could possibly hump it; then she stretched herself, and opened her
mouth to its fullest extent, and said, "Mu-aw-yu-aouw!"
This was a singular performance. Nasna had never seen it before,
and when she saw the red mouth open, wide, wider, widest, she immediately
said to herself, "Dear me! how very odd! I wonder what
there is inside that red cavern? I'm going to look!" and the next
moment the long, velvety nose was poked right into the old cat's
mouth, and almost down her throat.
Did the old cat shut her mouth? She did, indeed, my child; and
who can blame her for doing so? But there was a sound of woe in the
air, and a squealing as of a coati in despair, and the next moment
Nasna was crouching in the farthest corner of the room, holding her
wounded nose in both hands, and sneezing
But do not think that this was a lesson to
Nasna; nothing of the kind! The very next
morning she managed to find her way into the
dining-room when the master and mistress
were at breakfast. She climbed up at
once into the mistress' lap, and poked
her nose at the shining coffee-pot.
Ah! it was hot. Pop went the
nose into the cup of coffee that
was steaming beside the mistress'
plate. Oh! that was
"I won't stay here any longer, to be treated so!" cried Nasna; and
down she jumped to the floor.
Buzz! buzz! what is that by the window? Something small, flying
about, with a black and yellow jacket on. See, now it is crawling on
the floor, and Nasna can catch it. Nasna does catch it, putting her
soft paw on it. Mr. Wasp extends his sting, as the utmost he has to
offer. Nasna squeaks wofully, but does not understand yet, so puts
her nose down instead of her paw. This time there is no doubt about
the matter, and she retires in great anguish to the kitchen.
One day as she was playing about, tettered by a string to a chair,
her master took an egg and placed it on the floor, at a very provoking
distance. Nasna could just touch it with one paw, but could not
get hold of it. She tried with fore paws, she tried with hind paws; but
all in vain: she only succeeded in rolling the egg a little further off.
What was to be done? She sat down and looked at the egg long
and thoughtfully. At
last she put her head on
one side and winked:
she had an idea. She
turned her back on the
coveted treasure, and
backed towards it as far as she could. Then she grasped her tail with
one paw, stiffened it and curved the tip almost into a hook, and,
touching the egg with this hook, slowly and cautiously rolled it
round in front of her, till she could reach it with her fore paw. Then,
in triumph and much pride, she sat up on her haunches, cracked the
egg, and sucked it, without spilling a drop. Clever Nasna! I think
she deserved a good breakfast, don't you?