Every day, eight-year-old Christine’s walk to school takes her past a talking alley cat. Christine stops and feels its warm head beneath her hand, and the cat’s insights invariably give her something to ponder. One day her teacher asks her why she’s always late for school. Frightened, she reveals her secret. Her punishment: she must write 200 lines stating repeatedly, “There are no talking cats, and from now on I will arrive at school on time.” However, the cat is real, no matter how many lines Christine writes.. . .and she might just as well leave out the “no” — the headmaster won’t even notice, says the clever cat. That’s what the cat always says — that life is all about being clever and looking out for yourself, first and foremost. Christine isn’t so sure, and she is a little scared of the cat, too. There must be more to life than self-interest, surely?