This chapter is from the "Kittens: A Family Chronicle" book, by Svend Fleuron.
THE September moon rises red-gold and majestic from the mists of the horizon, and lights up the harvested fields where the five big kittens are stalking their prey. They no longer hunt in a body, but are spread out all over the field, working independently. . . .
A soft, many-hued light bathes the undulating hills; only the hollows and valleys are gloomy and colourless. Voices from the surrounding homesteads echo through the motionless air, mingling with the mooing of calves and the bleating of lambs. The guns of the duck-shooters drone faintly from the marsh. But here among the barley stubble where the partridge coveys settle, all is still and silent. . . .
Along one of the many paths left by the broad wheel of the reaping-machine Grey-kitten glides, her whole soul absorbed in the rustling of invisible mice. . . .
Big is out after partridge; he hugs the edge of the ditch, stopping frequently to peer over the tall golden-rod and the knap-weed's empty pods. He sees the coveys of partridge running to and fro among the rakings; the young males are quarrelling, while the old cock looks on and crows. His aim now is to find out where they mean to "pack" for the night.
Black hangs about near a drain-pipe in which lives a fox-cub, with whom he hopes to pick a quarrel! In the wood a few days ago the cub had bagged a sparrow from right under his nose—an event which upset the kitten so terribly that he has quite lost his appetite!
A little way off a flock of terrified sheep stand gaping at him; they have heard his weird hissing and spitting. . . .
But on the top of the hill Tiny sits on a stray sheaf and makes a grab with his paws at every maybug that hums its way past. He is waiting patiently for Black and Big to make a haul—when he hopes to get something more satisfying to eat.
The moon, which immediately after rising had dived into some black clouds, now thrusts its yellow-green face from its sombre garments and stares fixedly at White-kitten, who has just finished a cheese-rind left behind from the harvesters' lunch.
White then discovers a tuft of grass, on which an old woman has recently been sitting —and begins rolling over and rubbing her back on the place.
Red is nowhere to be seen—probably out on one of her usual thieving raids in the village.
The full moon again veils 'herself; and then, peeping out for a moment, silhouettes the form of an old cat on the turf-house roof. The cat scrambles down the thatch and leaps to the ground—then sneaks off in the direction away from the kittens.
The kittens are now seldom seen together: each spends the day according to his bent, flitting along ditch and hedge, or nosing around farm and outhouse. They all find their own food, using the means best suited to their different natures and capabilities.