Happy Thursday and K day!! The two animals I have for you today span the ages – one is from the first century CE and is only rumored event; and the other isn’t even alive but counts as an interesting -awesome animal!!
The Japanese emperor Ichijo (986-1011 CE) loved his cats very much. During this time Japan had only native wild cats and only royalty or nobles could afford to import domesticated cats, or Kara neko, from China. When one of Ichijo’s female cats gave birth to 5 kittens, he was so happy he had day recorded for posterity; that day was the nineteenth day of the ninth month of the year 999. Special attendants were appointed to feed the kittens and dress them in clothing. One of those cherished kittens, Myobu No Omoto, was so much loved by the emperor that he named her The 5th Lady of the Court. As an example of Ichijo’s overwhelming love for his 5th Lady, when, after a dog chased her through the court one day, the dog was exiled and his owner was sent to prison. As for the Lady, she was quickly rescued and abundantly pampered after her terrifying ordeal.
Our second “K” is a cat as well and his name is Kaspar. What’s so special about this sleek, black, panther? He’s not real! Well, he’s real in the physical sense but he’s just not alive! Kaspar is an art deco wooden sculpture and is employed by the Savoy Hotel in London, England. His sole-purpose is to be the fourteenth guest at dinner parties of only thirteen guests—thus avoiding bad luck!
Back in 1898 a diamond magnate named Woolf Joel had a dinner party for 14 at the hotel. At the last minute one of the guests had to drop out leaving the guests numbering 13. One of the guests predicted that the first person to leave the table would die. Not one to be intimidated, Joel laughed and left first. A few weeks later he was shot dead. After that, the hotel didn’t want to take any further chances with bad luck and so from then on hotel staff were invited to the table when dinner guests numbered 13. This, however, was unpopular as guests may want to talk about personal and private matters were unable to do so with a stranger at the table. In 1926 artist Basil Ionides was commissioned to design and carve Kaspar, a 2-foot high sculpture, the requisite 14th dinner guest.
These days, Kaspar attends dinner only when requested and when he does, he is set on the table, a napkin placed around his neck and served all the courses of the meal. Winston Churchill was said to be very fond of the cat. During WWII Kaspar was catnapped by some mischievous Royal Air Force personnel and flew to Singapore with them. Churchill himself demanded the cat’s immediate return.
After a 2010 renovation of the Savoy, Kaspar got his own restaurant, Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill, with his image being used for the logo.
Very Kool, yes? ThanKs for stopping by on “K” day! I’ll see you tomorrow for Friday Fill-ins and “L” day!!! Love and Kisses, Toby