Young's (Cat, Thy Name is Edith, not reviewed) first story concerns a homeless cat who was taken in by an animal-loving priest at St. Augustine and St. Faith Church in mid1930s London. From her first day of residence, the grateful little gray-and-white waif, named Faith, attended services regularly, sitting at the feet of Father Henry Ross, a firm believer that cats, too, "can have religion." Over the years Faith endeared herself to the church's many parishioners. In 1940, shortly after Faith gave birth, the church was bombed and badly damaged. Father Ross found Faith in the church's rubble-filled basement, huddled protectively over a kitten. For her bravery, Faith was awarded a special civilian version of the Dickin Medal, an honor usually bestowed on animals showing unusual bravery while serving England's armed forces. Also awarded such a medal was Simon, a cat who lived with the captain of the British warship Amethyst. When the ship was attacked in 1949 while sailing the Yangtze River in China, the captain was killed and Simon was badly injured. The ship was grounded for months, but the still-limping Simon helped save the much-needed food supplies by returning to his mousing duties with a vengeancethis despite the almost unbearable heat below deck. He also kept up the morale of the soldiers and regularly visited the wounded in sick bay. Months later, when the ship returned to safe harbor, Simon's heroism was widely acknowledged, but, sadly, he died before the Dickin medal could be bestowed.
Two perfectly lovely stories, padded a bit to fill up a slim, but nonetheless sweet, volume.