Story Scripture: Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me. – Psalm 41:9
Story Saying: A fake friend is an enemy in disguise. – Ellen J. Barrier
Behind the Story: A cat and a mouse considered themselves such great friends that they decided to live and keep house together. They bought a pot of fat to store up for the winter when food would be scarce, and decided to keep it underneath the church altar because it would be safe from thieves there. After some time, the cat had a great yearning to taste the fat, so she told the mouse that her cousin had asked her to be godmother to her new-born kitten and she had to attend its christening. The mouse consented and agreed to stay at home and keep house while the cat went out. In reality, the cat had no cousin, was not asked to be anyone’s godmother, and there was no christening to attend. The cat sneaked off to the church and licked the top of the pot of fat off.
When the cat returned home, the mouse asked, “What name did they give the child?”
“Top off,” replied the cat. The mouse thought this a strange name, but did not say much else about it. Twice more the whole I’ve-been-asked-to-be-a-godmother-and-must-attend-a-christening thing happened. Both times, the cat snuck off to the church and had her fill of fat. Upon the cat’s return, the mouse always asked what the child had been named.
“Half-done,” the cat answered the second time.
And the third time, the cat’s answer was, “All-gone.”
The mouse thought both these names strange, too, but did not say much else about them. Winter finally arrived and the cat and the mouse were all out of food. The mouse remembered the pot of fat and suggested that they go get it, only to find that it was all gone. “Alas,” said the mouse, “now I see what has happened, now it comes to light.” When the mouse confronted the cat about her lies, the cat seized her and swallowed her down.
Verily, that is the way of the world, the story ends.
We all know that the majority of cats and mice don’t get along. In this fairy tale, it was the cat who initiated this unlikely friendship. She said so many great things and talked so highly of her love for the mouse, that the mouse believed she was sincere. This is not to say that people from different backgrounds can’t get along, but we should be wary of those who seek to gain our friendship through flattery. No friend will be perfect, but the difference between a good friend who makes a mistake and a fake friend is that the good friend won’t keep doing things to hurt you. They won’t lie to you. They won’t tell you things they don’t believe.
The cat didn’t believe she was doing anything wrong by being dishonest, sneaking, and stealing. When the mouse, who was truly in the right, confronted the cat, the cat responded by devouring her. That is how most fake friends will respond when confronted about their behavior. No, they won’t literally devour you. But instead of talking to you, they’ll start talking about you. All of a sudden, they won’t consider you their BFF anymore. They’ll only have mean words to say to you and about you. Most fake friends don’t think they’re being fake. They think their inauthenticity is just who they are.
Beware, the fake friend!