This chapter is from the "Kittens: A Family Chronicle" book, by Svend Fleuron.
In the neighbourhood of the pool also, where the red baby-calf was tethered, autumn began to wave its withered hand. The great burdock plants were dying of consumption; their huge flat leaves were faded and contracted. When White brushed against them in passing, they crackled irritably.
White-kitten came down almost daily to the pool; the little red ruminant and she became quite friendly after a while. They rubbed noses together and galloped away at full speed, the calf in front with its stiff, clumsy hops, and White just behind.
One day, as the calf rose to its feet, the kitten seized hold of the tuft at the end of its tail and let herself be dragged some distance along the ground.
After that, "joy-rides" at the end of the calf's tail became one of her greatest delights.
She knew exactly when the calf's owner— the small farmer from the cottage by the side of the bog—came out with the milk-pail; but she had not yet summoned up courage to greet him. But as soon as the man went away again she sneaked forward to lick up any stray milk-scum.
She felt enormously attracted by the man —and long after he had left she wandered about feeling a strange longing to make his acquaintance.
One day she found an old brown switch, which had been thrown on the field one winter with the manure, and had now taken root in the earth with its weather-beaten remaining twigs sticking up in the air. White-kitten ran and rubbed herself against this broom every time the man had been with the calf!
In spite of the wild environment in which she had grown up, White was quite tame. Her dreams always centred round what seemed to her the greatest luxuries in life: dry shelter and delicious heat. Although she had never been inside a house, she was constantly obsessed with the idea of a warm stove with glowing sides, before which she lay curled up roasting herself.
One morning, when the crofter was bringing milk to the calf, she could hold back no longer. She left the shelter of the dock-leaves and hopped quickly past him—but stopped for a moment before bolting into cover again.
The man called to her as she went; and then, softening his voice and drawing out the sound alluringly, he repeated, "Pu-s-s! Pu-s-s!"
It was the first time the kitten had ever heard these human sounds—and the new, delightful music charmed her. She felt her trust in mankind growing. . . .
And the next time the man called she went nearer still.