Childrens? Monster town pretends exists
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I read this book when I was in 4th grade. I am currently a freshman in college. In the book, a young girl and boy go to their uncle's/parents house for the summer in a small village. A monster terrorizes the village, and everyone is scared of it. The villagers say the monster lives at the top of the mountain in a hot cave. The boy and girl become skeptical of the monster's existence, and one day decide to hunt for it. They go to the top of the mountain to the monster's cave. They go all the way in, but it gets too hot. They can almost see the end, but there is a small crevice they can not see over and it's too hot to continue. They go back to the village and tell everyone they went to the monster's cave, and the monster was not there. Therefore, the monster does not exist. The town's people then come up with excuses as to why the children couldn't find the monster and then go back to their homes, content that the monster does not exist. The children go back to their summer home and run into the father/uncle, who tells them a story about a cat. Then it ends.
The uncle/father builds cuckoo clocks and sells them at the fair. At the fair, he sets each cuckoo clock at 1-minute intervals, so they continuously are going off
The aunt/mother loves to cook pies, and is constantly scared the monster will come and steal them
There is a drawing of the monster on one of the pages. The monster peeks into the house, and the aunt/mother swears she saw the monster. The author then draws what the monster looks like.
The uncle plays along with the villagers the entire book, but there are constant hints that he is "in the know" but he never gives it away
When the children-heroes return with news of the monster, a random little girl speaks up first, and her first question is: "But did you go ALL the way to the back of the cave?" The remaining villagers ask questions like this and then come up with excuses as to why the monster did not exist. It slowly becomes apparent that the villagers WANT the monster to exist. The children-heroes go back home defeated and discouraged.
The uncle/father tells the children an 8-line poem about a cat. The poem goes something like this (I only can relay the gist. The real poem is much more poetic and nothing like I wrote, and it rhymed)
"There once was a kitty cat, who was playing with some string
It threw it against the wall, and killed it
She tore its head off and drew out its brains
And when she was content it was killed, she left it down the hall
'Good Kitten' I said, 'That was not a mouse, only a piece of string!'
'Why sir!' said the cat, 'It was a lion! And had I not killed it, it would have devoured you all!'
Then the cat walked off, perfectly content
Then I thought, 'That is not a stupid cat, and she knows what she is doing.
If she claims she killed a lion in the hall, perhaps she knew all along it wasn't a piece of string at all.'"
The essence of the poem is a cat "kills" a piece of string, then claims she killed a lion, then the guy who questioned the cat realizes that maybe the cat knows it was only a piece of string, but deludes herself into thinking it was a lion so she feels better, even though the cat knows in its heart of hearts that the string was really just a piece of string.
I really really love the book, and the poem is really what I'm after. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. I'd even offer money reward.
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