P.T. Barnum famously said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Or maybe he never said that. Or if he did, we don’t know whether he came up with it himself or got it from someone else. There’s a lot of things we don’t know know for sure about Barnum, as he was in the business of making things up. So we don’t know whether or not there is any truth in the tale of the cherry-colored cat.
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According to this tale, one day Barnum received a letter from a Connecticut farmer who claimed to possess a genuine cherry-colored cat. The farmer asked Barnum if he would be interested in purchasing the cat, explaining that his cat would beat any of the other odd critters Barnum had on display at his museum.
Barnum contacted the farmer and said he’d gladly purchase the cat for his museum if the cat were truly cherry-colored. The farm agreed to ship the cat to Barnum for $300 (other articles say Barnum paid $25, $50, or $200.)
A few days later a crate arrived at the museum. When Barnum opened it, he found a an ordinary-looking jet-black cat inside. In response to Barnum’s angry letter, the farmer responded with a note: Dear Mr. Barnum, did you never see a black cherry? We have loads of them born in Connecticut. There’s a sucker born every minute.”