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The Birman Legend
"At that time there lived, in a monastery built on the slopes of the Lugh mountains, the Kittah Mun Ha, the Grand Lama, the most honorable of all the Kittahs (Khmer-Priests), whose golden beard had been woven by the god Song Hio... His entire life, all his thoughts, all his glancing at was devoted to and in the contemplation of the goddess Tsun Kiankse; Tsun Kiankse was the goddess with the sapphire colored eyes, the goddess of the transformations of the souls. She had given to the Kittahs the power to live again, after their deaths, in the form of a sacred animal. After the animal died, the Kittah could again be reincarnated as a Grand Priest at which time he was considered pure and perfect. Next to Mun Ha, the Grand Lama, sat Sinh, his dear oracle, a white cat with yellow eyes, as yellow as the golden body of the goddess with the sapphire eyes. The color of the ears, the nose, the tail and the tips of the paws were of the dark color of the earth, a symbol of the impurity of all that touches or can touch the ground....
One evening, in the moonlight, Phoums coming from Siam were able to approach the sacred place. That moment, Grand Priest Mun Ha died while praying. Next to him sat Sinh and in front of him stood the desperate Kittahs.... Then the miracle happened, the miracle of the transformation of the soul. With one leap Sinh reached the golden throne and placed himself on the head of his dead master. It was the first time that the eyes of his master were not directed toward the goddess. Without moving, the cat remained in contemplation of the eternal goddess and suddenly, his hair turned golden and his eyes deep blue like the eyes of the goddess. While he was turning his head south toward the entrance, the four paws turned into a pure white up to that point where they were covered by the sacred clothes. With a commanding look, his eyes turned from the south entrance to the Kittahs who understood the cat's look and immediately rushed to lock the heavy bronze doors, in which the first robbers already appeared.... The temple had thus been saved from desecration and looting. Sinh was still sitting on the throne and on the 7th day, without moving just once and always glancing at the goddess, he died. He took the soul of Mun Ha with him in order to present it to the goddess Tsun Kiankse, because Mun Ha did not have to live on, he was pure and perfect...
Again 7 days later, the priests assembled in front of the statue of the goddess in order to choose Mun Ha's successor. While they prayed, all cats of the monastery assembled there, too, and they all had turned golden, with blue eyes instead of the former yellow ones and every single one of them had the sign of purity, the white paws. Silently, the cats gathered around the youngest Kittah. The dead Kittahs, reincarnated in the form of the cats had thus chosen their successor. When a cat dies in the monastery of Lao Tsun, it is the soul of a Kittah which has been freed forever and which takes its place forever in the paradise of Song Hio, the god of all golden things. But woe also to he who brings about the end of one of these marvelous beasts, even if did not mean to. He will suffer the most cruel torments until the soul he has upset is appeased."
from Harriet Rindfleisch's papers
legend attributed to Sir Russel Gordon.
The Tradition of Naming Birmans
Americans follow the French tradition of naming Birmans according to the alphabet. For example, all Birmans born during the current year, 2008, have names that begin with the letter F. Last year all Birmans that were born had names that started with the letter E, and next year names of all Birmas born will begin with the letter G. One very nice thing about this tradition is you can tell how old a cat is by its name!