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The Mysterious Cat Food

"Easy now," Professor Curtis warned. Slowly the workers raised the lid of the ancient casket. Inside lay the mummies of two cats. They had been untouched for more than 4,000 years.

Lying beside the cats was a small package. Professor Curtis carefully lifted it out and put it into his pack. For the next few hours the archaeologist examined the ancient Egyptian burial room. "There must be a passageway into a larger tomb," he thought. Somewhere in this pyramid a pharaoh's son was buried. But he could find no trace of an entrance.

"Gee, Dad," said Rex Curtis later that evening, as his father told him about the day's discovery. "I wish I'd been along."

"Perhaps I'll take you out to the site tomorrow," said the archaeologist. "Meanwhile, you can help me. There was a package next to the cat mummies that was probably a supply of cat food to feed them in the afterlife. I brought it home to run some tests."

He lifted the package out and carefully unwound the wrappings. There was a crumbly brown substance inside. Professor Curtis took several samples of it for chemical and microscopic tests.

While his father was bending over the microscope, Rex looked at the ancient cat food curiously. "I wonder if it's still good," he thought. He picked up a few crumbs in his fingertips and went out to the kitchen. "Psst," he called.

His two kittens, Whiskers and Sparkle, ran over to see what he had for them. He held out his hand with the crumbs of ancient cat food. Whiskers sniffed at them, and then began to lick Rex's fingers eagerly.

"Hey, you like it," said Rex. "I'll get you some more." He went back into the lab. His father was still busy at the microscope and did not notice him come in. Rex scooped out a small portion of the cat food and placed it in his kittens' feeding bowl.

Whiskers and Sparkle quickly gobbled up the food. Later that night, Professor Curtis and his son Rex were in the midst of a chess game. The two kittens quietly entered the room. Whiskers rubbed against Rex's leg and meowed. Sparkle meowed, too. There was something in the cries of the kittens that gave both Professor Curtis and Rex a strange feeling.

They looked down at the kittens. Together, Whiskers and Sparkle turned and headed out the door. The archaeologist and his son rose and followed the kittens. Something seemed to be pulling them along.

The kittens led Professor Curtis and Rex to the newly opened pyramid. They went into the burial room where the mummies of the cats still lay. Each kitten, in turn, touched one of the mummies with its nose. Then the two kittens leaped up to a ledge on the far wall. Suddenly part of the wall swung backward. There was a passageway leading into the depths of the pyramid. Eagerly Professor Curtis and his son entered. The kittens slipped by them and ran on ahead.

There was a dim light in the passageway. It got brighter and brighter as they moved on. Finally, they could see the end of the tunnel. The kittens raced out. The professor and Rex stopped in surprise at the end of the passage. They were looking out of the pyramid -- but it was broad daylight outside!

"Look, Dad! Look at all those people!" Rex pointed. Below, thousands of Egyptian slaves were dragging huge blocks of stone up ramps.

"Dad, what are they doing?" Rex asked.

"It looks as though they are building this pyramid," Professor Curtis replied. "Somehow -- I'm not sure how -- we seem to have slipped 4,000 years into the past."

Just then there was a sudden hush among the workers below. A golden chariot drew up. The slaves bowed low. The pharaoh's son stepped down from the chariot and walked up toward the pyramid. Suddenly he stopped. He bent down to pick up two kittens.

"Hey, Dad!" Rex exclaimed. "He's got Whiskers and Sparkle."

The pharaoh's son petted the kittens and carried them to his chariot. Then the chariot started back down the road to the palace.

"Hey! Those are my kittens," Rex shouted.

Before Professor Curtis could stop him, Rex dashed out of the entranceway and began to climb down the side of the pyramid.

There were shouts from below. Some of the guards had spotted Rex. Suddenly a spear whistled past.

Professor Curtis climbed out after his son. Rex had already turned and headed back toward the entrance as a second spear hurtled by.

They scrambled back into the entrance. Professor Curtis turned and saw a dozen guards climbing up after them. He and his son rushed down the passageway and finally entered the cats' burial room. They slammed the stone door behind them.

Early the next morning, Professor Curtis returned to the tomb alone. He pressed on the ledge in the wall. But nothing happened. The door did not open.

Although Professor Curtis and Rex searched for many weeks, they never found the secret doorway out of the tomb of the cats. They never did find the tomb of the pharaoh's son. But every time they looked at the mummies of the two cats in the museum, they remembered their strange experience.





©1973, 2013 The Silversteins