Benjamin West, the father of American painting, showed his talent for art when he was only six years of age. But he did not know about brushes before a visitor told him he needed one. In those days , a brush was made from camel’s hair. There were no camels nearby. Benjamin decided that cat hair would work instead. He cut some fur from the family cat to make a brush.
The brush did not last long. Soon Benjamin needed more fur. Before long, the catbegan to look ragged （蓬乱）. His father said that the cat must be sick. Benjamin was forced to admit what he had been doing.
The cat’s lot was about to improve. That year, one of Benjamin’s cousins, Mr.Pennington, came to visit. He was impressed with Benjamin’s drawings. When he went home, he sent Benjamin a box of paint and some brushes. He also sent six engravings （版画）by an artist. These were the first pictures and first real paint and brushes Benjamin had ever seen. In 1747，when Benjamin was nine years old，Mr.Pennington retured for another visit .He was amazed at what Benjamin had done with his gift.He asked Benjamin’s parents if he might take the boy to Philadelphia for a visit.
In the city, Mr.Pennington gave Benjamin materials for c