Hello from Zoe the Fabulous Feline! I’ve decided to allow my human, Emily, to co-write this month’s story. We offer our collaborative effort in honor of the upcoming holiday. Before we get to the story, though, we’d like to wish you all a lovely Valentine’s Day!
To prove to Emily that writing is actually work, I assigned her the background research, and since our offering this month is a tribute to the month most celebrated by lovers, she has researched St. Valentine. Yours Truly—that would be moi—has penned a love song which should be a “purrfect” ending to this story. And speaking of “story,” let’s get to it.
Valentine was a third century Roman priest who lost his head to love—more or less–courtesy of Emperor Claudius II Gothicus, also known as Claudius the Cruel.
It’s been said that St. Valentine was martyred during the time Claudius was persecuting Christians. It should be noted that contemporary historians doubt there was any such persecution, given that Claudius ruled for only a short two-year period, and during his reign, he was pretty busy with war activities; in fact, he was far too busy to wage a war on Christianity.
During the time just before and during the rule of Claudius, Rome was engaged in considerable war activity, having to fend off multiple invaders; she needed a strong army to ensure victory. As the legend goes, Claudius was having a hard time building a tough army; men were not joining his legions, and Claudius believed it was their attachments to their wives and families that kept them from signing up. His solution? Abolish marriages . . . ban couples from even becoming engaged! The people were devastated and begged their priests to find a way to marry them.
Valentine was all about love and realized the injustice of the emperor’s edict, which he defied by continuing, secretly, to marry couples. But the secret got out. When Claudius learned what Valentine had been doing, he ordered the priest be put to death and sent him to jail to await the “pleasure” of the Prefect of Rome, who would decide the manner of execution. While imprisoned, Valentine became friends with the jailer’s daughter; the night before his execution, he wrote her a farewell note, signing it “From Your Valentine.”
The next day, Valentine was brought before the Prefect of Rome, who ordered that Valentine be beaten to death with clubs and then beheaded. Legend has it that the sentence was carried out about the year 270 A.D., on February 14th. For his courage in defying the marriage ban, for his service to the people of Rome, Valentine was canonized, being made a saint after his death. Now ain’t that . . .
The Cat’s Meow
This here is Mr. Big Stuff, see him hanging by my door?
He thinks that I still love him,
He used to come a-begging,
I used to roll around the floor.
But I don’t think of Big Stuff anymore.
This here is Mr. Gray Shades, see him hanging by my door?
He knows that Mr. Big Stuff
Ain’t Number One no more.
Gray Shades played his cards just right,
While Big Stuff played the game.
Now Gray Shades is my new true love, my flame.