This chapter is from the "Kittens: A Family Chronicle" book, by Svend Fleuron.
Tiny was, neither in appearance nor reality, a Hercules, being thin and stunted, with a large head and big, intelligent eyes.
For the most part he lay still and slept. He had an attitude of his own which he preferred when resting: doubled up, with his hind legs well under his body, and his absurdly big head between his paws. It seemed almost as if he were trying to shut his ears against the ceaseless hurly-burly around him.
He gave rather the impression of being slow-witted and sedate; but in reality he was not such a fool as he appeared.
For example, he possessed one unique characteristic: he was an infallible weather-prophet!
His talent in this direction, however, would have remained quite useless had he kept his prophecies to himself; but, on the contrary, the moment a change of weather was impending, he could not resist giving vent to his feelings. The others then knew at once what to expect.
For example, supposing he felt rainy weather approaching, he would walk about shaking himself, dragging his tail, and mewing continuously. Then he would seek out a good hiding-place where he could lie in warmth and shelter when the rain came.
But when fine weather was to be expected, he would appear with tail at the perpendicular, purring and humming with satisfaction.
In reality he was not only a professor of weather, he was more: he was a regular little meteorological observatory! Possibly the terrible treatment once meted out! to him in his earlier days by his brutal father accounted for his weak, supersensitive nerves.
Brother Black—the fighter—whose frequent mad expeditions he followed at a distance in order to be at hand at the right time to beg his livelihood, soon learned to utilize his small brother's eccentricity.
Black preferred hunting at nightfall; but if, during the day, when crouching at his gate-post stropping his claws, he observed Tiny walking about miauling and crying, he knew at once he must get away as early as possible: it would rain that night.
Black could never resist Tiny's cadging. His admiring looks and respectful mien were too much for the fierce warrior.
In addition, the little fellow suffered seriously from vomiting. The excess of feathers and the insufficiency of meat comprising his diet soon ruined his digestion; he had to go out and chew harsh, bitter cock's-foot grass the moment he awoke.
In spite of this, he was the sole humorist of the family—thanks to his unusually long tail, the vigour of which was so extraordinary that it gave the impression of being a separate personality. He would wipe his paws on it, or twist it right round his neck; it was a constant source of amusement; he could even play "postman's knock" with it.
But on the whole, his abilities and characteristics were much below the average, and he might safely be expected to turn out a failure.
When, by chance or design, he did go out on his own, he succeeded occasionally in making a catch of some sort by means of his abnormally acute powers of observation.
Thus, one day he saw a yellow-hammer settle in a tuft of withered grass; he hurried to the spot—and gulped down a most delicious omelet!
Another day he met a bunting fighting with a lark. By tacit understanding the hedge belonged to the bunting just as the field belonged to the lark, and neither permitted the other to trespass in his sphere of action—so they fought, and whirled round and round, until they both lay dead-beat in the grass.
Such a battle Tiny was a master-hand at turning to his own advantage.
He began to consider it worth while to slip out and look round. There was always something or other to be caught!