Parable of Mogg Hall
THE PARABLE OF THE MOGG HALL Bill Bayley
Once there was a small town, where lived an old lion. As he was dying, he asked that the townspeople should build a great shed, where all the young animals of the Town could play, and he left a lot of money for this to be done. A small group of cats said that as they were closely related to the old lion, they should be in charge of designing and putting up the shed. The other animals agreed and trusted them, but were surprised when a large building was erected, labelled "The Mogg Hall Cattery". When challenged, the cats laughed, and said "Don't worry! It really is a play shed for all." Nobody noticed how they tittered cattishly behind their paws. Cats do that a lot without being noticed, as you probably already know.
On the opening night, there were all kinds of games around. The young animals were delighted, and sorry they had doubted the cats. The next week, all the games were gone, and cat loungers had replaced them. The young animals were told to use a kennel behind the shed. They had no choice but to obey. Cat dances were held, cat dinners as well, in fact everything was done for the cats. Other animals were only allowed to use the kennels behind Mogg Hall. There were mutterings, but the cats said, “The old lion was our relative, he wanted us to do it this way.” There was no answer to that.
Predictably, over time the money set aside to maintain the Hall ran out. The cats had even bought a huge aviary, where they used to hunt, until the Town Council stopped it, as the Chicken Club complained. Soon the cats had to borrow money to keep up their high standard of living in the Mogg Centre, but they spent it on more luxurious cat loungers and a mouseburger bar, so soon it was all gone.
A pack of wolves were passing through the Town, and heard of the cats' money problems, so they went to see them. They persuaded the cats to sell them Mogg Hall, and in return they would provide the cats with a luxurious modern cattery, equipped with all the latest pneumatic cat hydro-loungers. The cats were overjoyed, but realized they would have to get permission from the Cattery Commission, as Mogg Hall was not really theirs at all, but they were looking after it in memory of the old lion.
The Town animals were furious. The cats said there was no other way, and the animals would be more than welcome to use the hydro-loungers if they wanted, even though they were to be put in a tiny hut behind the houses the wolves wanted to build after they had knocked down Mogg Hall.(The wolves were selling the houses made of straw and sticks to a load of pigs, which they would then eat, with a lot of huffing and puffing and blowing down of houses, but that is another parable).
The Town animals got themselves organized to get rid of the cats, and take over Mogg Hall themselves, but they were also short of money. It was an impasse. The cats strongly resisted the interference by the other animals, and formed an alliance with the wolves with legal safeguards, detailed architect’s plans, open days and goodness knows what. There was a great deal of fuss and bother on both sides, substantial name-calling and scathing insults were hurled in the Press, and in the street.There was even violence when the dogs got drunk.
This went on for some time, with no clear winner on either side. Eventually, the wolves got fed up. They ate all the cats, set the Mogg Hall on fire and left Town muttering “That was a waste of our valuable business expertise and time. And the cats didn’t even taste nice.”
The ghost of the old lion is still said to roam up and down the derelict site of Mogg Hall, bemoaning the selfishness of his relatives, roaring mournfully and wringing his paws at the dreadful outcome of what had been his kind act of charity for the Town he had once loved.
Moral: Never let cats run anything, don’t let wolves into the Town, or live in a place where animals have any say whatever in what goes on .