Buttercup the Cat Is Not Black and White

buttercup

Buttercup in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

This is an embedded reading for a passage taken from the first book of Hunger Games. The original version is the fourth text.

I

A cat is sitting beside Prim. He is ugly. His hair and eyes are dirty yellow. Prim named him Buttercup, like the flower. He hates me. I put him in a bucket of water when he was a baby cat. I didn’t want to feed him. But Prim cried, so he lived. My mother cared for him. He hunts mice. Sometimes I give him the entrails of dead animals. He has stopped hissing at me. But he doesn’t like me.

II

Sitting beside Prim is a very ugly cat. His nose is flat, half of one ear is missing. He has eyes the color of old squash*. Prim named him Buttercup. She said his dirty yellow hair was the same color as a flower. He hates me. I think he remembers that I put him in a bucket* of water when Prim brought him home. He was a little kitten with a big stomach and fleas*. I didn’t need another mouth to feed. But Prim cried and I had to let him live. It’s OK. My mother cleaned him and he is a good hunter. Sometimes, when I clean a dead rabbit, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me.
Entrails. No hissing. But we are not friends.

* squash = courge      *bucket = seau     *fleas = puces

III

Guarding Prim is the world’s ugliest cat. A flat nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of old squash. Prim named him Buttercup. She insisted that his dirty yellow coat was the same color as the yellow flower. He hates me. I think he remembers that I tried to put him in a bucket of water when Prim brought him home. A very thin kitten with a big stomach, worms* and fleas. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But Prim begged* and cried, I had to let him stay. It’s OK. My mother gave him medicine for the vermin and he was a good mouser.* Occasionally he catches a rat. Sometimes, when I clean a dead rabbit, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me.
Entrails. No hissing. But we do not love each other.

*worms = vers     *begged = suppliait     * mouser = chasseur de souris

IV

Sitting at Prim’s knees, guarding her, is the world’s ugliest cat. Mashed-in* nose, half of one ear missing, eyes the color of rotting* squash. Prim named him Buttercup, insisting that his muddy yellow coat matched the bright flower. He hates me. I think he still remembers how I tried to drown him in a bucket when Prim brought him home. Scrawny* kitten, belly swollen* with worms, crawling with fleas. The last thing I needed was another mouth to feed. But Prim begged so hard, cried even, I had to let him stay. It turned out OK. My mother got rid* of the vermin and he was a born mouser. Even catches the occasional rat. Sometimes, when I clean a kill*, I feed Buttercup the entrails. He has stopped hissing at me.
Entrails. No hissing. This is the closest we will ever come to love.

 

*mashed-in = écrasé     *rotting = pourri     *scrawny = maigrichon     *swollen = gonflé     *get rid = débarasser de     *kill = gibier

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