A long time ago a cat caught a sparrow, and licked his lips in anticipation of the delight he would feel in devouring it. After playing with it for a time, as cats will, he was going to eat it, when the sparrow spoke to him.
“The Emperor’s cat,” said the sparrow, “and all his family, never begin a meal without washing themselves first. Everybody knows that such is the custom in polite society.”
“Really,” answered the cat, “well, I will do as the Emperor’s cat does!” And he let go the sparrow and began to wash his face. Feeling itself free, the sparrow flew away, and alighted safely on the branch of a tree well out of reach.
“It serves me right,” muttered the cat, “for being so easily taken in.”
And ever since that time cats have always washed themselves after their meals.