[Culture] The Tale Behind the "Chapel Cat," Nabi
[Culture] The Tale Behind the "Chapel Cat," Nabi
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  • 승인 2006.06.01 00:00
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▲ [Photos by Kim Ji-sun]Nabi is well-liked by many students. After chapel is her favorite time to come out and be treated. As a young mother, she has the responsibilty to feed her young kittens, though they are kept out of sight to us.
   There is one true Ewhaian living within the school grounds who is adored by many. She is not average to say the least. She can be defined by the following terms: friendly, sassy, occasionally shy, inquisitive and gorgeous. If that wasn't enough, as a recent mother, she still maintains a sleek figure and is as ever popular with the male feline community of Daehyun-dong. She is none other than Nabi, the lady cat who lives under an old tree in front of the auditorium.
   As students swarm down the 45-steps after chapel, Nabi usually perches herself on the side to watch them as they go. By now, she is well acquainted to the noise and knows that this time is a golden opportunity for her to be treated with an extra snack by some of the generous students. Although she is friendly to all, she does have a few more special friends, one of whom is Lee Kyoung-won, who has just completed her study at the Graduate School of Policy Sciences.
   Lee was first acquainted with Nabi two years ago when she saw a teacher at Ewha feeding a newborn kitten which hardly fit into the palm of her hand. The kitten had little hair and could barely open its eyes. Lee instantly fell in love with the kitten and decided that she would start caring for it. Her first step in attempt to befriend the tiny animal was leaving small bits of ham and other snacks in front of the old tree where it lived. She says that although Nabi was out of sight in the beginning, the food would be gone the next day.
   As time went by, the kitten also became familiar with Lee and responded to the name "Nabi" which is a pet name of the word "cat" in Korean. Lee says that Nabi was too clean and friendly to be a wild cat, and although does not know if this is true, was later told by one of the boys at the Ewha Demonstration Elementary School, that his father had abandoned Nabi on campus because they could not keep two pets.
   As the weather grew colder, Lee naturally worried about Nabi and wanted to take her home or at least to an animal hospital. However, when she tried to put Nabi into a box, she ran away or hid from her. It was then that Lee knew the cat would have to stay with the school.
   Being an attractive lady cat, Nabi has had several romances in her life, some which that even have tragic endings. The first tomcat she got to know goes by the name of "Ddung," meaning "chubby" in Korean. He often visited Nabi, but only to take what was left over from her food bowl. He is said to be fat and dark, with features close to a raccoon. There was hardly romance with Ddung, but he was and is definitely Nabi's first friend. The second acquaintance was also her first love. He was a slender, handsome black cat who she befriended during winter vacation last year. Although it seemed like they were fond of each other, a tragedy occurred. One day, he was found dead, trapped in a cat trap that was set up by the school. After his death, Nabi has lately met another cat, this time with a pale blue complexion and a supposedly unattractive face.   Every evening, around five to six, Nabi waits for him, and so Lee conjectures that he is also the father of the kittens she had during the first week of May.
   Lee notes that there are currently two other people who care for Nabi. Although they are not officially acquainted, she says one is an undergrad from the College of Arts and Design, and another is a graduate student at Ewha. Lee says that, although it is unspoken, each of them have their share of work. Lee herself often combs Nabi's hair, which gives her that extra sheen. These silently helping hands are what have helped Nabi survive the thick and thins of life at Ewha.
   Lee would like to tell the readers who have either shared their lunch or snack with Nabi, that cats only eat proteins, especially lean meats, and so there is no use giving her potato snacks, left over rice, or even milk (yes, not even milk!). Lee is also worried that people may try to take her home or elsewhere, and would like to say, that if people take the time to care for her on campus, she can enjoy a happy life here as everyone's friend, which she has done so far.
   It is actually not just Nabi who is a natural inhabitant of Ewha. There are also flying squirrels which live in the wooded area in front of the Graduate Building. During the fall when acorns fall to the ground, women from around town come to gather them.  However, these acorns are crucial for the squirrels to survive the winter. Knowing this, the same graduate student who cares for Nabi also gathers the acorns and scatters them back on the ground after the ladies have gone.
   Similarly, there are numerous behind-the-scenes efforts gone in to preserve the wildlife at Ewha. It is not publicly recognized, but is certainly visible. Nabi is a prime example of how love and care can save and sustain life.

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