Thoughts from the cellar

The ball flew through a broken window and landed in the cellar. One of the children, the fourteen-year-old daughter of the concierge, hobbled down after it. A tram had cut off one of her legs, poor thing, and so she was quite happy if she could at least pick up the ball after her playmates.
The cellar was in semi-darkness, but she thought she could see something stirring in a corner.
“Kitty!” the wooden-legged daughter of the concierge called out. “What are you doing down here, dear little kitty?”
She then picked up the ball and hurried off with it as fast as she could.
The old, ugly and foul-smelling rat – for it was a rat that had been taken for a kitten – was stunned. No one had ever talked to it like that before. Up till then everyone had been repulsed by it, pelted it with bits of coal, or fled screaming for their lives. But now, for the first time, it thought how different everything would have been if only it’d been born a kitten, or better yet – because we’re all insatiable, and it too continued to weave the web of its reveries – it thought how very wonderful it would have been if only it’d been born the lame daughter of a concierge. But this thought was so very beautiful, the rat couldn’t even imagine it in earnest.