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Douglas R. Skopp

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· Shadows Walking, A Novel

Short Stories
· Hypatia (born 350-370? died 415)

· Details

· Byron Luckipaw, the cat who established the first Scenic Over-look

· Frou-Frou, the cat who supported the French Revolution

· Amber, the cat who opposed stir-fried breakfast cereal

· Thunder-and-Lightening, the cat who completed the Lincoln Tunnel

· Armina, the cat who invented canned dog-food

· Junius Flavius Albanius, the cat who invented the letter “u”...

· Indigo, the cat who encouraged Christopher Columbus

· Schmutzy, the cat who confounded hostile aliens from outer space...

· Lake Placid High School Commencement Ceremony, Lake Placid, NY, June 2013

· Remarks at the Dedication Ceremony of the Holocaust Memorial Gallery

· Holocaust Fatigue

· Remarks at Memorial Ceremony for Victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks

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· Hope is a chipmunk, too...

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· By the sundial...

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Celestine, the cat who helped Galileo...
By Douglas R. Skopp
Posted: Friday, July 18, 2014
Last edited: Saturday, July 19, 2014
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Douglas R. Skopp
· Hypatia (born 350-370? died 415)
· Details
· Byron Luckipaw, the cat who established the first Scenic Over-look
· Frou-Frou, the cat who supported the French Revolution
· Amber, the cat who opposed stir-fried breakfast cereal
· Thunder-and-Lightening, the cat who completed the Lincoln Tunnel
· Armina, the cat who invented canned dog-food
           >> View all 13
Another in my series, "Little Known Cats Who Have Helped Humankind." I wrote these to relieve the darkness of writing my dark novel, Shadows Walking, about a Nazi doctor...
* * * * * * * * * *
Celestine, despite her name, was born in the sixteenth century in an alley in Pisa. She was therefore, by definition, “an alley cat.” She tried desperately, though, to shine and reflect the glories of the heavens wherever she went. After all, she was named “Celestine.” If "Fate" decreed that she be born in an alley, that was no reason for her to stay there. Instead, she aspired to the glory for which she felt she had been born. (Don't we all?)

This was in the time of Galileo, the controversial and ultimately vindicated genius of so many things--optics, engineering, and, especially, of astronomy, to name but a few. Like Celestine, he encountered powerful opposition but his perseverance and determination to see and learn about the world--which for him included the entire universe--were formidable and profound. Celestine was determined to meet this great scientist. Perhaps she could find a way to help him in his work. Then, she thought, she would be worthy of her lofty name.

She did everything she could to cross Galileo’s path, even to lounging around the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” hoping for a chance opportunity to be of service. She was sure that Galileo would recognize her charms and take her to new, and much deserved, heights.

As luck would have it, she did meet Galileo and he did take her to new heights, up the very Tower itself. It seems that Galileo was curious as to whether cats always landed on their feet, as well as whether, if he dropped a pea as the same time as the hapless feline, both would land at the same time. Celestine, of course, when she realized what was about to happen, protested. Vigorously!

Lucky for them both, Galileo came to his senses and decided that he could do the experiment in his mind instead. (Contrary to what you may have been taught or told, he never did the actual experiment with inanimate objects of different weights, let alone any living creature; rather, it was a “thought experiment,” one of many that Galileo carried out.) Casually throwing the pea out the window, he picked up Celestine, took her home with him and cherished her for the rest of her natural days.

With his conscience clear and having gained in self-esteem and resolve from his inspiringly celestial companion, Galileo went on to discover four moons of Jupiter through a telescope of his own design. With Celestine, he speculated about the tides along Italian shores as a result of the moon—feeding her from fish he found stranded at the shore. And with Celestine curled up on his window sill—by then she had overcome her fear of any untoward act by the man she revered—Galileo endured his life-long house arrest under decree of the Pope, writing about the other lofty discoveries that earned for him the praise he justly deserves.

Galileo is “the father of modern science,” according to Einstein, who is supposed to have added, “thanks to Celestine, his sensible cat.” Had Celestine not been there to inspire Galileo’s revelation to be kind to all creatures, there’s no telling what other fiendish schemes might have occurred to him. She is justifiably praiseworthy among the many noble cats that have helped humankind.

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Reviewed by Isabella Koldras 8/18/2014
...succinct story about adorable cat named Celestine...that offers
a warmth-cuddle-plenty of mischief to the life of the first modern scientist. With grace intelligence and elegance...serves as a loving support and source of strength throughout Galileo's tumultuous
scientific life...Almost...father/daughter relationship...Noble cat
serving and helping humankind...
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 7/24/2014

enjoyed the read
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 7/19/2014
An interesting sideline on Galileo. I never heard or read about any cat that he had. However, I have heard the story about how cats always land on their feet. I have two stories about that.

We were walking one day by the side of the lawn here the woods when our little cat was with us and decided, in a playful mood to dash out into the road. We didn't see, nor did the cat, a car coming from the side blocked by the woods. Upon spotting the car, the little cat leaped about 6 feet high and somehow escaped being hit. It was amazing to see how quick that was in an emergency.

My younger twin brothers had a big tomcat that they called, based on his color, Butterscotch. They would pick him up and throw him completely across the large room. After flipping over a couple of times, he would always land on his feet and then run back to them to be thrown again, like a dog chasing a thrown ball.

If Galileo was under house arrest, how was he able to wander the shore to pick up dead fish for the cat?


Books by
Douglas R. Skopp

Shadows Walking, A Novel

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Humor Stories
1. A Reluctant Father Christmas
2. Better Late Than Never. ...
3. A Normal Family
4. Nude-Night-Naughty 6
5. She Told Me To Do It
6. 'One Day You'll Look Back On This And Laug
7. The Seer
8. Fresh Milk 1968
9. The World of Aposiopesis
10. The DMV Funnies
11. The Elephant
12. Celestine, the cat who helped Galileo...
13. Indigo, the cat who encouraged Christopher
14. Big Bird & the fish pond
15. Nude-Night-Naughty10&11
16. Nude-Night-Naughty1
17. Island Santa, by Owen Thomas (an excerpt)
18. Rose is dead
19. True story from Bong Son Vietnam 1968
20. Age Retirement What it means to me

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