Naming the Cat

The ambassador of Japan presented a cat to the Emperor of China who became very fond of it. People kept asking for its name and were told it had none. Eventually the emperor decided it should have a name. He asked his ministers to find a suitable name for his pet.

The youngest thought he’d found the perfect name. ‘Tiger!’ he announced. ‘Good name,’ said the emperor. ‘The tiger is a powerful beast.’ ‘But not as powerful as the dragon,’ said the second minister. ‘A dragon can soar into the sky. Dragon would be a more suitable name for the cat.’ ‘Clouds can go higher than dragons,’ observed a third minister. ‘Let’s call it cloud.’ Said the fourth wise man: ‘Clouds may fly high but they are pushed around by winds. Winds are more powerful than clouds. Wind is the best name.’

‘Wind?’ said the emperor, doubtfully. ‘Isn’t there anything better?’ ‘There certainly is!’ rasped the fifth wise man. ‘Brick wall! A brick wall can stop a wind, however powerful,’ explained the minister. ‘Oh, I see,’ said the emperor. ‘Isn’t it somewhat long though?’ ‘I have a shorter name,’ said the sixth minister, ‘Rat. A rat can eat through a brick wall, which makes it more powerful than the wall, the wind…’ ‘I get your point,’ interrupted the emperor, ‘but can you call a cat, Rat?’ ‘Indeed you can’t!’ piped up the seventh wise man. ‘A cat is a cat is a cat. And if a rat is more powerful than the others the cat is even more so because it is mightier than the rat.’ So the royal pet was simply called Cat from then on.

Moral: At times we look for sophisticated ways to do things while the simple, straightforward ways taught to us by Islam are the best.