Once, when Lord Ganesha was in his infancy, he found a shabby house cat in a village near his home. The cat curled under a set of worn wooden stairs, and dust marred her coat.
"Come play with me!" Little Lord Ganesha commanded the cat. It slunk further into the shadows and hid its eyes with its striped tail. Lord Ganesha was displeased and pulled the cat out from under the porch by her hind leg. He swung her into the air and caught her again, and then threw her high in the air to see how many times she could land on her feet. The poor cat was soon tired and covered in bruises. Lord Ganesha tired of his game and went to Mount Kailash to meet his mother for lunch.
When he arrived home, the house was quiet. Lord Ganesha poked his head through the door.His mother was not in the kitchen. He passed to the back of the house and entered the garden. His mother was not there. He walked through the halls and found her huddled in a corner, covered in deep, purple bruises.
"Mother!" cried Lord Ganesha, running to her side. "What has happened?"
"You hurt me, child." Parvati sighed deeply. "When you tossed me in the air, I fell to the ground and bruised myself."
"But Mother," said Lord Ganesha, anxious to reassure her. "I did not throw you in the air. I have only just arrived home."
"I was the cat you tossed in the village below. It was my coat you dirtied, my tail you tweaked, and my sides that you bruised."
Parvati winced and paused to take her breath. Lord Ganesha bowed his head in shame. "Mother, I am grieved. I know now that to injure another for entertainment is wrong and hurtful." Great tears slipped from Lord Ganesha's eyes, and his tears moistened the floorboards near his mother's feet.
"It is a good lesson, child," said Parvati, rising. Lord Ganesha helped her to the kitchen and set before her a healing and hearty repast. Thus Lord Ganesha learned mercy and kindness to those smaller than he.