The Cat Bride

More than 2500 years ago Ancient Greek author Aesop wrote a short fable about the cat that was turned by the Zeus in the young lady. The Venus bet that even almighty Zeus, who can change the look of the cat, can’t change its inner nature. Venus put a little mouse into the sight of the Cat-Maiden and the young lady in the same exact moment started to hunt the mouse proving the Venus was right.

The moral of these fable, that our nature is buried so deep inside us that neither we are nor the environment we are living in can’t change it entirely, has outlived its author. 2500 years later, in the twentieth century psychologists and ethologists proved the huge role our primeval instincts are playing in our live, and how hard if not impossible it could be to overcome the reign of the prehistoric biological programs written down in our genes.

Probably, one of the most well known artists who drew inspiration from the Cat Bride fable was the XVII century etcher Wenceslaus Hollar. His illustrations for this fable became widely recognizable:

The Cat Bride by Hollar

Every fall Atlanta Botanical Garden is holding themed scarecrow exhibition. One of the showpiece, among Edvard Munch’s Scream and famous Sheryl Crow scarecrow, was the Cat Bride:

Cat-bride scarecrow in the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Cat-bride scarecrow in the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Here is the text of Aesop’s fable “The Cat Bride”:

The gods were once disputing whether it was possible for a living being to change its nature. Jupiter said “Yes,” but Venus said “No.” So, to try the question, Jupiter turned a Cat into a Maiden, and gave her to a young man for a wife. The wedding was duly performed and the young couple sat down to the wedding-feast. “See,” said Jupiter, to Venus, “how becomingly she behaves. Who could tell that yesterday she was but a Cat? Surely her nature is changed?”

“Wait a minute,” replied Venus, and let loose a mouse into the room. No sooner did the bride see this than she jumped up from her seat and tried to pounce upon the mouse. “Ah, you see,” said Venus, “Nature will win out.”

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