Gratitude

By Edith Nesbit

I found a starving cat in the street:
It cried for food and a place by the fire.
I carried it home, and I strove to meet
The claims of its desire.

And since its desire was a little fish,
A little hay and a little milk,
I gave it cream in a silver dish
And a basket lined with silk.

And when we came to the grateful pause
When it should have fawned on the hand that fed,
It turned to a devil all teeth and claws,
Scratched me and bit me and fled.

To pay for the fish and the milk and the hay
With a purr had been an easy task:
But its hate and my blood were required to pay
For the gifts that it did not ask.

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