After many readings, I lost count somewhere along the way, I have been scratching my head trying to answer, exactly what is the message Spencer Holst is trying to deliver? I have run several concepts through my mind;.
• I associated the Siamese cat with a striving business person who is manipulative and undermining, trying to climb his/her way to the top and those that do wrong in life always get theirs in the end. .
• Possibly the cat trying to be something he is not, getting comfortable in his "game", letting his guard down and getting caught. .
• Or maybe the Zebra Storyteller as a judgmental person who makes an assumption about the character of the cat based on what he has dreamed up in his head, not on truly the qualities of the cat, a prejudice person who forms his/her opinion on someone's looks or maybe what they wear. .
Through my many rereads there is one thing that remains consistent; from the first four words of The Zebra Storyteller the storyteller controls my emotions and expectations. "Once upon a time" sets a tone of a lighthearted fairytale, a story possibly intended for children. This fairytale lightheartedness is continued as we learn about the cat and his mysterious behaviors. A sense of humor; " he's just fit to be tied. So the little cat quickly ties him up - that warrants a little giggle. Then a change in tone, the cat becomes a killer that feeds on his prey, flaunting his catches with zebra ties and wide belts. This takes me to a somewhat dark place, undecided as to what could happen next. A twist occurs as we are reminded the zebra storyteller is making this story up for entertainment of the other zebras. Encouraging the reader to ask; "where is this story headed?", "what should I be expecting?", "what is the mood the storyteller is trying to set here?". When all of a sudden, in two sentences the unexpected, "The zebra storyteller wasn't fit to be tied- " , so he kicked him with a hoof and killed him.