Everyone in the apartment complex that I lived in knew who Ugly was.

Ugly was the resident tomcat.  


Ugly loved three things in this world . . . . fighting, eating garbage,

and shall we say . . . . love.   The combination of these things combined

with a life spent outside  had their effect on Ugly.

To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have

been was a gaping hole.   He was also missing his ear on the same side.

His left foot has appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and

had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always

turning the corner.   His tail has long been lost, leaving only the smallest

stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch.   Ugly would have been

a dark gray tabby striped type, except for the sores covering his head,

neck and even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs.

Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction.

"That's one UGLY cat!"


All the children were warned not to touch him.   The adults threw rocks at

him and hosed him down.   They squirted him when he tried to come in their

homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.   Ugly always

had the same reaction.    If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there,
getting soaked until you gave up and quit.    If you threw things at him, he
would curl his lanky body around feet in forgiveness.    Whenever he spied
children, he would come running meowing frantically and bump his head
against their hands, begging for their love.    If you ever picked him up he
would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he

could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbor's huskies.    They did not
respond kindly and Ugly was badly mauled.    From my apartment I could hear
his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid.    By the time I got to where he was

laying, it was apparent Ugly's sad life was almost at an end.   Ugly lay in a wet

circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping

tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front.

As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing
and gasping, and could feel him struggling.   I must be hurting him terribly
I thought.   Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear.

Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying, was trying to suckle

my ear.   I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand
with his head.   Then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could
hear the distinct sound of purring.   Even in the greatest pain, that ugly
battled scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I

had ever seen.   Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try

to get away from me, or struggle in any way.   Ugly just looked up at me

completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a
long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray
could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit,
to love so totally and truly.

Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books,
lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be
thankful.   He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the
inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply.

To give my total to those I cared for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but
for me, I will always try to be Ugly.

~ Author Unknown ~




 Salem's Den  Salem 2004 2007

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