Film ID: NEFA 20682 Video of NEFA 20682 The Cat that Walked by Himself JUST SO STORIES: THE CAT THAT WALKED BY HIMSELF 1981 Visitor TabsDescription An animation by Sheila Graber based upon a story by Rudyard Kipling from the Just So Stories for Little Children series. This film explains how man domesticated all the wild animals with the exception of the cat which insisted upon its independence. The film begins with each of animals featuring in Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories appears on screen one by one; the whale, camel rhino, leopard, armadillo, kangaroo, crab, cat and butterfly. Title: Just So Stories Title: By Rudyard Kipling The camera pans in on the cat who is looking at the camera. It closes its eyes and the film changes to an animation of planet earth in a starry sky. The film cuts to show the branches of two trees intertwined. The branches separate to reveal four sets of eyes looking out from the darkness. The eyes morph into a wild dog, horse, sheep and pig. The film cuts to show the cat sitting on the stump of a tree. It climbs down and walks through the ‘wet wild woods’. The cat jumps onto the chest of a sleeping caveman lying on the ground. As it climbs off him the caveman looks up angrily waving his club in the air. He begins to smile when he sees a woman. They hold hands and the film morphs into the couple standing together in the entrance of a cave. A fire appears at the back of the cave. She pulls a ‘wild horse skin’ across the cave entrance leaving the man outside. She looks out from behind the skin and points for the man to wipe his feet. Inside the cave, the man eats a meal before relaxing against the wall of the cave, a cauldron on a fire burning in the background. He falls asleep. The woman looks down at a shoulder of mutton. Musical notes are scratched onto the inside of the bone which become coloured lights that move around the cave and outside to where the dog, horse, sheep, pig and cat are listening. The horse stamps his hoof and talks with the other animals. The dog lifts up is nose and licks his lips, watched by the cat. The dog gets up as the cat begins to lick and clean itself. The dog leaves for the cave as the cat continues to preen. The woman looks down on an image of the dog in the shoulder of mutton. In the background the cat is seen approaching the cave. The head of the dog appears under the entrance to the cave. The woman throws it a bone which it eats and licks its lips again. The woman holds up the shoulder showing the man and the dog hunting together. The images change to show the dog guarding the cave at night. The image changes a third time to show bones suddenly appear at the dog’s feet. The image morphs into the cat looking over a rock. Inside the cave the happy dog licks the woman’s face, then a bone watched by the man. The woman’s hand appears on the dog’s back as if stroking him, it’s tail wagging. The man and woman disappear and a halo appears around the dog. Outside the cat walks away back towards the woods. The film cuts to show the woman inside the cave plaiting a horse halter beside the fire. In her hands more musical notes appear on the shoulder of mutton which again become coloured lights which leave the cave heading towards the cat, horse, sheep and pig listening outside in the wood. The horse stamps his hoof again and begins to walk towards the cave. Sitting nearby is the cat cleaning itself. The film cuts to show an image in the shoulder of mutton showing the cat following the horse. The horse appears in the entrance of the cave and speaks with the woman who is sitting on the bed next to the sleeping man and dog. The shoulder of mutton in her hand glows. Holding up the shoulder of mutton an image of the horse wearing a halter and eating grass appears. The film fades to the cat standing outside behind a rock. The woman places the halter over the horse’s head and feeds grass to it. The camera pulls back to show the woman, man and dog on the horse’s back. A green halo appears around them all as the woman begins to stroke the horse’s mane. Outside the cat turns away and walks back into the woods. The film cuts to an image in the shoulder of mutton showing the cow outside the cave with the cat, watching from behind a rock. The woman feeds grass to the cow while holding a wooden bucket of milk. Sitting beside her the dog looks up and licks its lips. From behind a rock the cat watches before heading back into the woods. From behind a tree the cat appears and walks towards the cave. Inside the woman pours milk into a cauldron and speaks with cat now sitting by the entrance. She takes a spatula which is hanging from the cave wall and pours seed or corn into the milk. There is a close up of the cat speaking to the woman while preening himself. He becomes angry showing his teeth. The woman looks down smiling. Her feet follow him as he walks away from the cave. Turning the cat become submissive crawling back towards her then weaving between her legs. The woman rubs her chin while speaking. The cat looks up smiling. The outline of the number one appears around the cat which is replaced with a view of the cat inside the cave. The number two appears around the cat and changes to show the cat sitting by the fire. The number three appears around the cat and changes to show the cat sitting next to three bowls of milk. He licks his lips. Outside the cave the cat lifts his right paw which changes to show a face on the horse skin over the cave entrance within the outline of the number one. This quickly changes to show the fire and one of the milk bowls with faces on them. Both are seen within the outline of the numbers two and three. The film cuts to the cat turning and walking away from the cave into the wood. The film cuts to a bat hanging upside down from a tree. The bat flies to the cat sleeping in a nearby branch and taps it on its ear. The bat, now hanging upside down again from a tree points while speaking with the cat. The cat lifts its head and speaks with the bat. The bat tickles the cat’s ear which then gets up and stretches itself. There is a close up of the cats face. The film cuts to show a baby crying, its spotted blanket hanging over the edge of the crib. Inside the cave the woman drops a bone into the cauldron and quickly turns towards the crying baby covering it again with the blanket. The cat watches from behind a rock. Inside the cave, the contents of the cauldron boil over. The cat approaches the crying baby who stops and looks at the animal. The paw of the cat tickles the baby under the chin who smiles. The bat hangs down from a peg on the wall as the woman does the washing up. The outline of the number one appears around a face on the horse skin entrance. The image splits to show the cat sitting beside the crib inside the cave. He turns and walks out of the cave past the baby. The woman picks up the crying baby and places it on a sheep skin. She picks up a ball of thread with needles through it. As she begins to make a stitch the ball rolls out of her hand towards the edge of the cave where the cat sits hiding behind a rock. Seeing the ball approach it jumps out on to it and begins playing with it watched over by the baby. They play together with the ball after which the baby snuggles down in the cat’s fur. With her hand on her chin the woman speaks to the cat. The film cuts to the show the fire in the cave now with a face and the outline of the number two surrounding it. The film splits to reveal the cat sitting by the fire. Looking angry the woman waves her hand over the shoulder of mutton and a blue outline appears around the mutton and cat. A mouse appears beside two bowls of milk and begins eating in front of the cat which does not move. There is a close up of both the woman and cats eyes. Being scared of the mouse the woman stands on a stone table while the mouse looks up from the floor. The cat jumps down and catches the mouse’s tail in its claws. A smile appears on a bowl of milk as the woman, also smiling, speaks with the cat. The outline of the number three appears around the bowl. The screen splits to reveal the cat sitting surrounded by four bowls of milk. He begins to drink from one of the bowls. The cat walks towards the camera. Sitting on her knee the woman begins to stroke the cat’s fur. At the entrance to the cave the man, horse and dog appear. They look angrily at the cat which jumps down from the woman’s knee. The man looks down on the cat with his hands on his hips. He removes his shoes and throws them at the cat along with his club and two stone axes. The cat hides behind a stone table. After looking at the five objects the cat jumps and walks out of the cave past the man. The man begins to pick up the objects and throws three of them at the cat now outside the cave. The dog appears at the entrance and forces the cat to walk backwards into the cave. The cat jumps up onto a shelf with the dog following behind. Jumping back down from the shelf the cat walks past the man, woman and child sitting together. At the entrance to the cave the cow and the horse watch the cat leave. The dog appears at the entrance and chases the cat up a tree. The film cuts to the cat curled up on the ground. A number of objects are thrown over its head. The picture fades back to the cat sitting in the tree before fading back to him sitting on the ground. A mouse appears in its paws and then a baby snuggled up in its tail. The cat gets up and walks off into the woods. The picture fades to show the roof of a house on which the cat walks. The film ends with the cat appearing alongside a montage of other Just So Stories animals. End Credit: Music by Brenda Orwin End Credit: Narrated by Sylvia Welsh End Credit: Animated and Directed by Sheila Graber End Credit: Co-produced with Marble Arch Films Context Creature comforts Appealing 1980s animation of Rudyard Kipling’s children’s fable in which a cave woman’s magic fails to tame a cat with attitude. This wildly appealing animation by Sheila Graber is an adaptation of one of the best of Rudyard Kipling’s whimsical origin tales for children, published as the Just So Stories in 1902. And not surprisingly for an artist whose work is peppered with felines, Graber relishes the character of the outsider Cat, a trickster who walks the line between freedom and domesticity “waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone”. As a gifted amateur, Sheila Graber received commissions from the Tate Gallery, London, Tyne Tees TV and the BBC. The animations of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories were commissioned by Nicole Jouve of Interama, the French agent for The Magic Roundabout. They were first broadcast on French TV in 1983 and went on to be shown in 20 other countries. Kipling’s tale centres on the myth of Woman as the creator of home, tamer of man and beast, a role that is both re-iterated and parodied in the narration to comic effect. The independent Cat has been interpreted as an allegory of everything from the artist’s imagination to male sexuality. Ironically, the story was first published in the pages of the Ladies’ Home Journal.