Once upon a time there was a lady who was a knitter, and that knitter had a cat, and that cat's name was Darcy. Darcy was really a kitten, but he was already a prince among cats. He was a Maine Coon Cat, and his ear-tufts stood up straight as a pine tree. His feet were great white snowshoes, and his ruff was the envy of mighty lions.
His coat was grey and white, and his toes and sandpaper tongue were pink. But it is not enough to say that, as it would be insufficient to say that the sunrise is red. Darcy's coat was the grey of the soft ash left from burning incense and the white of clouds and fog. His tongue and toes were the soft pink of rose petals, freshly picked and awaiting the perfume press.
The knitter loved Darcy, and Darcy loved the knitter. And, generous soul that she was, the knitter shared Darcy with other knitters. And those knitters loved Darcy too - and who would not? Was he not a prince among cats?
Day after day, the knitters would flock, eagerly demanding new pictures of Darcy. And the lady would provide them, and all were happy.
Darcy had scrapes, as all kittens do, but cats are blessed with nine lives, and Darcy was no exception. He would find himself hurting, but the kind knitter loved him very much and would always take him to the clever vet. The clever vet, who also loved Darcy, took very good care of him, and Darcy always came home feeling better, if a little sorry for himself.
One day, however, Darcy got sick. This was a bad kind of sick, the kind of sick that clever vets cannot fix however clever they are. Sometimes cats get better, and sometimes they don't, but no-one can say which will.
The knitter was sad, and she told the other knitters about Darcy and his sickness. The other knitters loved Darcy, and so they did what they could. The ones who prayed, prayed. The ones who were superstitious crossed their fingers and held their thumbs and sent mojo. The ones who did neither sent best wishes and love to the knitter and Darcy. Some of the knitters who lived nearby went to help. Others, who lived far away, sent what they could to help the clever vet and the knitter, because clever vets have to be paid, even when they are generous and help sick cats for less than they might.
One of the many knitters who loved Darcy was a dyer with magical powers. One day, she took her dyes and worked a magic spell to turn plain old wool into something amazing - wool that looked like Darcy. She saw the results of her magic and thought, "I wonder if the other knitters would like to buy this wool? If they did, I could send money to the clever scientist who is working on a cure for this bad sickness, and then even if it won't help Darcy, maybe it will help other cats."
So the dyer showed the wool to the knitters, and they loved the wool. Those who knit bought yarn, and those who spin bought roving. And the dyer sent all of her profits to help the clever scientist with her research.
Alas, there are some things that no amount of love can cure, and Darcy died. The knitters wept, but nothing could bring back this prince of cats. The knitters held close their cats, and dogs, and rabbits, and all manner of creatures, for knitters love animals without question, and though they were sad that Darcy was gone, they had hope that other cats would be spared his fate.
And so I sit before my spinning wheel, looking into a basket full of spinning fiber. There is a roving that is the grey of incense ash, the white of clouds, the pink of rose petals and toes and sandpaper tongues. When I reach into the bag, it is like stroking the softest of kittens.
I cannot yet bring myself to spin this roving. Someday I will, and I will make it into a beautiful thing, in memory of another cat, much missed. For now it is enough to look upon it. It was dyed to honour a prince of cats. His name was Darcy, and he was loved.