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TALES FROM CATLAND,
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TICKNOR, REED, AND FIELDS.
M DCCC LII.
THURSTON, TORRY, AND EMERSON,
Printers, Devonshire Street.
KITTENS OF ENGLAND,
S THX FOLLOWING PAGES
ARE VERY AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED,
SINCERE FRIEND AND WELL-WISHER,
TALES FROM CATLAND.
THE THREE CATS.
MANY hundred years ago, in the good
old times of the fairies, there lived a young
princess in a very grand palace. Its walls
were of the purest white marble, the doors
were of orange-wood, the window-frames
were of gold, and the furniture, of the
rooms was of the most costly description.
The princess's drawing-room was hung with
beautiful tapestry, the curtains were o4 the
richest crimson silk, all over golden flowers,
the mirrors reached from the floor to the
ceiling, and the chairs were of ebony inlaid
with precious stones. And the princess had
two hundred and four best gowns, some
TALES FROM CATLAND.
of cloth of gold, some of silver tissue;
besides a great many others, nearly as good,
that she wore every day.
But my story has not so much to do
with the princess, as with her cats, for she
had two; an elderly one, called Glum-
dalkin, and a very frolicsome young one
whose name was Friskarina. Glumdalkin
was, somehow or other, second cousin once
removed to Friskarina, but years older;
and, to say the truth, Friskarina was not
very fond of her: however, in consideration
of her age and relationship, she behaved on
the whole very civilly and respectfully to
her. They were so very different. And
there was not the least family likeness,
either, in their persons. Glumdalkin was
jet black, had an uncommonly cross pair of
green eyes, that seemed always on the look-
out for something going wrong, was very fat,
and moved as if it was too much trouble to
her to walk across the room; while Friska-
rina's coat was of the richest tortoise-shell,
and though she was quite plump, and as
THR THBUK CATS.
sleek as satin, yet there was not a more lively
little creature in all Catland; it quite did
one good to see her jumping over the foot.
stools in the princess's drawing-room. She
had a prodigious longing, sometimes, to
jump over cousin Glum's great broad back,
as she sat before the fire; but she knew
that would never do, so she was prudent,
and contented herself with scampering over
the furniture; while Glumdalkin, pretend.
ing to be sound asleep all the time, would
be watching her with one eye open the least
bit in the world, and secretly wishing that
Friskarina might be unlucky enough to
dash down one of the princess's old china
jars that stood under the table.
It was a cold winter's evening-very cold
-and the pages had drawn the thick
crimson curtains in the drawing-room, and
the fire had been mended, and was piled
high up, blazing and crackling; the candles
were lighted, and Glumdalkin's velvet cush-
ion had been placed ready for her in front
of the fire, and she was slowly crawling
TALZS raQM CATLAND.
towards it, that she might stretch herself
out at full length, and digest the wing of
a boiled fowl that she had just been dining
upon. The princess was lying on the sofa
by the side of the fire, apparently fast asleep.
But she was not asleep; and, moreover, she
was watching Glumdalkin, who had settled
herself very comfortably on her cushion,
while Friskarina, looking much graver than
usual, was sitting with her shoulders drawn
up to her ears, in.quite an old cattish
attitude, and her bright shining eyes fixed
thoughtfully on the fire.
Now you must know that the princess
had an old aunt who was a fairy; and
she had bestowed upon her niece the faculty
of understanding the language of animals;
a very amusing gift it was, and the princess
often derived great diversion from it. On
the present occasion, as she lay on her sofa
after dinner, she thought it would be very
good entertainment to hear what Glum-
dalkin and Friskarina might be talking
THE THREE CATS.
But some time passed before either said
anything; at last, Glumdalkin gave a great
yawn, and flapping her tail rather angrily
against the cushion, remarked:
'Really, Friskarina, you are dreadfully
stupid, to-night; you make noise enough
when I want to go to sleep: but now, when
I am inclined for a little rational conversa-
tion, you sit there as mum and sulky as an
Friskarina was used to polite observations
from her second cousin once removed, so
she very quietly answered that she thought
Glumdalkin had been going to take a nap,
and that she did not wish to disturb her.
'Well, I do admire that!' exclaimed
Glumdalkin; you are wonderfully consider-
ate, all at once; now, I think, Miss Fris-
karina, you have been getting into mischief,
and that's the reason you sit so quiet there.
I should like to know where you were all
this morning, when the pages were running
all over the house after you, because the
princess wanted you, and nobody could find
TALZS FROM CATLAND.
you? Well, people have strange tastes! I
should have thought she would have found
the company of a grave, decorous cat, like
myself, who knows the ways of the court,
and has seen something of society, a great
deal more agreeable than that of such a
ridiculous, light-headed thing as you are: I
declare you make me quite nervous very
often, you jump about so! But she never
sent for me; so of course I could not go to
her. The world's very unlike what it was
when I was young--very unlike indeed!'
and, giving an odd kind of grunt in her
throat, Glumdalkin curled herself round on
the other side, as if in a sort of despair at
the wickedness of the world.
Friskarina thought she had not much to
complain of, but she did not venture to say
it; so she answered, quite good-naturedly:
I am very sorry, cousin Glumdalkin, that
I was out when the princess called for me,
but indeed I was in no mischief; I was see-
ing such strange sights, it has made me
quite unhappy ever since I came back.'
THB THIIB CATS.
Humph said Glumdalkin, 'and pray
what wonderful things have you been see-
'Why,' replied Friskarina, 'I got uncom-
monly tired this morning of the palace
garden, I know every stick and stone in it
so well. I had been racing nine times
round the gravel .walk, and had got half
way round to make up ten, when, luckily, I
saw that the gardener had left the outer door
ajar; so I thought I might as well take the
opportunity of seeing what there was on
the other side of the wall; accordingly I
peeped out and found that I was in a kind
of road, with some such odd looking things,
here and there, I don't know what to call
them, but I fancy people live in them, for I
saw some persons going into one of them.
They were not in the least like this house
that the princess lives in; I am sure Grand"
magnificolowsky, the tall page, could never
have stood upright in any one of them--
Pnd so black and dismal and dirty they
TALES FROM CATLAND.
'And you went into one of the nasty
places, of course growled Glumdalkin;
'cottages, child, they are called.'
'You shall hear all, in good time,' an-
swered Friskarina; 'I was peeping about,
outside our garden door, rather afraid to
venture further, when I saw such a cat come
out of one of these cottages, as you call
them-0 Glumdalkin! it really would
have made your heart ache to have seen her.
I had no idea there were such cats in the
world. It was dreadful to look at her; she
was so horribly thin, you might have counted
her bones, and as dirty as if she had lived
all her life in a coal-hole: she crawled out
of the door as if she had hardly strength to
walk, and such a thin tail she had; it made
me shudder to look at her. I couldn't help
going up and asking her what was the
matter with her -
'What!' interrupted Glumdalkin, rousing
herself up, her eyes flashing fire, and her
whiskers standing on end, do you mean to
say, that you a cat descended from such
THE THAE3 CATS.
an honorable and distinguished family as
ours one of the most ancient in Catland
-that you actually demeaned yourself so
far as to enter into conversation with a
filthy, beggarly wretch, crawling out of a
miserable cottage ? Friskarina, on the honor
of a cat, I am ashamed of you.'
I certainly did enter into conversation
with her,' replied Friskarina, plucking up a
little spirit; 'for I asked her where she
lived, and why she was so thin and dirty.'
I wonder,' said Glumdalkin, how you
could bear to go near her.'
'But, one couldn't help it, you know,'
said Friskarina, when she looked so very
wretched. Poor thing! when I asked her
how it was she was so thin, the tears came
into her eyes, and she said, she had so very
little to eat. I asked her if her mistress'
never gave her any cream? and- would
you believe it 1- she actually asked me
what cream was.'
'Why, you simple child,' said Glumdalkin,
'do you suppose cottage cats ever taste such
TALZS 1ROM CATLAND.
a thing I They think themselves lucky if
they can get a drop of skimmed milk now
and then (Some people suspected,
but this is quite between ourselves, that
Glumdalkin, though she boasted that she
had never been outside the walls of the
palace garden in her life, knew more about
the ways of cats in humble stations than
she chose to confess--her father, it was
said, had married sadly beneath his fam-
'I don't believe,' continued Friskarina,
'that that poor cat ever gets even skimmed
milk; for she told me her mistress could
not get enough to eat herself, and that she
hardly ever gave her anything at all; so
that all she lives upon is a chance mouse,
when she can catch it, or the black beetles
she finds on the floor at night. And when
she is thirsty, she goes to a gutter that runs
by the side of the road, and laps a little
muddy water. Only fancy what a dreadful
life to lead. I had no notion that there was
a cat in the world so badly off. I really
THu THREE CATs.
could not eat my dinner today, for thifiking
about it. It seems so sad, to have all these
nice things, all the great saucers of cream
that we have for breakfast, and these soft
cushions to sleep upon, and then to think of
that poor cat, so near us, catching black
beetles (nasty things !) for her supper, and
lapping out of the dirty gutter; it makes
me quite wretched.'
Friskarina;' said Glumdalkin, rising
from her velvet cushion, with a great deal
of majesty in her air, and curling her tail
very solemnly round her toes -' Friskaria,
let us have no more of this nonsense, if you
please! I consider your behavior this morn.
ing, and your conversation at present, utterly
beneath the dignity of a cat of condition.
Remember the distinguished family from
which you have sprung, and that you have
the honor to belong to the household of the
princess so, pray, let me hear no more of
making acquaintances among the vulgar
cats of the village; you will be a disgrace
to the court!'
TALZS FROM CATLAND.
Friskarina shrugged hei shoulders, and
replied, in rather an under-tone, 'that she
really did not see anything disgraceful in
being sorry for the unfortunate -' to which
Glumdalkin made no answer. She seemed
to be seized with a violent fit of cleanliness,
and began washing and biting her right
paw with extraordinary vehemence.
Just then, the entrance of Grandmagnifi-
colowsky, and three or four more of the
pages, with the princess's supper, put an end
to the conversation. A fine gold dish, con-
taining several dainty morsels, which the
princess had carved with her own royal
hands, was put down upon the velvet cush-
ion, and Glumdalkin did them full justice.
When supper was over, two of the maids
of honor carried the two cats to their beds,
where we will leave them for the night, in
pretty little baskets lined with yellow satin,
and made so delightfully soft and warm,
that it almost made one go to sleep only to
look at them. Nevertheless, Friskarina lay
awake a whole quarter of an hour, turning
THR THUE c CATS.
over a plan in her little head, that she meant
to try and bring to pass the next day, if
Glumdalkin was fast asleep in a minute.
What was the princess doing? She was
lying in her splendid bed, thinking and
watching the fire-light dancing upon the
spangles of her curtains, for her bed was so
beautiful- so very beautiful! It was made
all of silver, in the shape of a nautilus
shell; and the curtains were of pale blue
satin, embroidered with silver flowers: you
never saw such a lovely bed as it was! And
the longer the princess watched the light
flashing so merrily upon all the fine things
in the room, the more she thought; and the
more she thought, the more unhappy she
grew, but what she thought about I can't
tell you; perhaps we shall guess by and
bye: I date say she dropped asleep at last.
During the night there was a heavy fall
of snow. When the princess came down to
breakfast, the grass was covered with a sheet
of pure white the trees quivered beneath
TALES FROM CATLAND.
the snow that covered their boughs the
shrubs in the garden looked like a fairy-
wood of frosted silver glittering in the cold,
bright sun and far, far away, many miles
distant, rose high mountains, white and
dreary, with pine forests nodding on their
summits. It was very-very cold.
Now there were few things Friskarina
liked better than a gambol in the snow; so,
as soon as she had finished her breakfast,
and had warmed herself well at the fire, off
she set, full drive, into the garden, pattering
hither and thither, that she might have the
pleasure of making as many footmarks as
possible, and jumping up at the flakes that
came tumbling down from the laurel-leaves.
Never was there such a merry little cat! At
last the thought struck her the poor cot-
tage cat did she like the snow, too ? and
Friskarina longed to know whether she
could come out that morning: perhaps she
meant to sit by the fire all day. By degrees,
Friskarina recollected that she went to sleep
the night before with a plan in her head. So
THr THBrK CATI.
she ran down the lawn towards the garden
door, hoping to find it again open. Alas!
the ill-natured gardener had shut it quite
fast. However, Friskarina was not easily
daunted; a cat of genius is never without
resources. She turned her eyes towards a
thick trailing of ivy that grew up the wall,
and she began to wonder whether cousin
Glumdalkin would be likely to spy her out
if she climbed up the ivy-tree, and so got
over the wall that way. She considered,
however, that on such a morning as that,
Glumdalkin would be sure to be on the
hearth-rug, with her nose as close to the
fender as possible, not troubling her head in
the least about the world out of doors.
So, making a vigorous spring, Friskarina
was soon half-way up the ivy-tree, shaking
down a shower of white flakes every jump
she made. At length she was fairly at the
top of the wall. It was a terrible height
from the ground, and there was no ivy on
the other side to help her down by.
So she sat down to rest, and look about
TALES r3OM CATLAND.
her a minute. The miserable cottages looked
still more miserable than they had done the
day before the snow lay thick on their
roofs -no smoke issued from their chim-
neys no one seemed stirring about them.
Nothing could well be more desolate.
Suddenly, the door of one of them opened,
and an old woman came out, followed by
Friskarina's new friend, the unhappy cat.
Such an old woman Friskarina had never
beheld, nor imagined, before. She was not
a bit like the Lady Dumbellinda, the prin-
cess's governess, the only old lady Friskarina
had ever seen, for she was very'fat, and
had very rosy cheeks, and very smooth hair,
in set curls that never seemed to get out of
order; and she had very fine velvet gowns,
and beautiful clothes. But this poor old
woman, who came out of the hut, was all
shrivelled up, as it were, and seemed as if she
had hardly a bit of flesh on her bones, and
her hair was nearly as white as the snow,
and the wind blew it from under her cap in
all directions; she had an old rag of a gray
THE THARE CATS.
cloak on, that she tried to keep about her,
with one hand, as well as she could, but the
wind got in so through the holes, that she
might almost as well have been without it.
She had come out to look for sticks; for
the gusts that swept down from the hills
snapped off the little twigs from the tall
trees, and scattered them about the road.
After picking up a few, the poor old crea-
ture, shaking her head, and shivering beneath
the cold blast, turned back, and re-entered
her cottage; shutting her door after her, so
that her cat was left without. Poor pussy
soon spied her friend, who had spoken so
condescendingly to her the day before, on
the top of the wall, and she saluted her
with an air of the greatest deference and
Friskarina returned her a gracious bow,
and, without further hesitation, dropped
down from the wall.
It was lucky for her that there was a good
thick bed of snow at the bottom, so that she
fell soft; but she rolled quite over. How-
TALES FROM CATLAND.
ever, she was nothing the worse, and she
ran up to her new acquaintance; and, after
remarking what a snowy morning it was,
demanded her name.
'My mistress calls me Tibb, please your
ladyship;' said the poor little cat, shaking
with the cold.
'I did not know whether I should see
you this morning,' pursued Friskarina, I
thought you might be sitting by the fire all
day, as it is so very cold.'
Dear ma'am, we have no fire!' exclaimed
poor Tibb, as if astonished at the very idea
of such a luxury; 'my mistress won't have
a fire till she wants to boil her dinner.'
'Then how do you ever keep yourself
warm asked Friskarina, quite horror-
'Please, my lady, I never am warm,' said
poor Tibb, in a very melancholy voice.
Friskarina was ready to cry, 'And you
say they never give you any dinner, either 1'
'Very seldom, indeed, your ladyship.'
THE THREE CATS.
But your mistress must be dreadfully
cruel,' exclaimed Friskarina, 'to take no
more care of you than that!'
'What can she do replied Tibb, 'she
has not got enough for herself and her
daughter, so it is not likely she can give me
anything. If your gracious ladyship would
just please to step this way, and peep under
the door, you will see how my mistress
lives.' So saying, Tibb led the way to the
hut; and Friskarina, crouching down to a
very wide chink under the door, saw a dwel-
ling, the mere notion of which had never
entered her imagination till that moment.
'And have you lived here all your life ?'
she said, drawing back at length, and look-
ing with the most sincere compassion at
'Where else could I go, my lady re-
plied the poor cat; it is better than lying
in the road.'
And you absolutely don't know what it
is to have a good dinner ? How very shock-
ing! But now listen to me, Tibb; do you
TALES FROM CATLAND.
think you can manage to climb over that
SI can but try,' replied Tibb, looking as if
she began to have an indistinct idea that
her new friend meant to do something for
SThen,' continued Friskarina, 'if you
will follow me, and keep quiet behind the
trees in the garden, I will give you part of
my dinner every day.'
Tibb's eyes sparkled as they had never
sparkled before, at this generous proposal;
and, running to the wall, by the help of a.
projecting stone here and there, she was
presently at the top; then, turning round,
she watched Friskarina ascending after her.
To scramble down by the ivy-branches was
the work of a moment, and the two cats
were soon hidden behind some low evergreen
bushes that grew in front of the wall
'Now lie quiet here,' said Friskarina,
'till I come and call you.' So saying, she
scampered off through the snow towards
the palace. The door of the princess's
THU THRUZ CATS.
drawing-room was not quite shut, so Frisks.
rina softly pushed it a little open, and
peeped cautiously in.
Just as she expected, there sat Glumdal
kin, on a high stool close by the fire, looking
more solid than ever, and her back so
awfully broad! Moreover, she did not look
by any means in the best of humors; but
she unbuttoned her eyes a very little atom
as Friskarina came towards the fire, and in a
very gruff voice, asked her where she had
been so long ?
'I'll tell you directly,' replied Friskarina;
' but really I must get a little warm first, my
jaws are quite stiff.'
'And it serves you right, too,' remarked
the amiable Glumdalkin; 'if you will go
out in the snow, when you might have a
good warm house over your head, and sit by
the fire, you must take the consequences.'
Now, from some cause or other, Friskarina
felt just then in a very particularly good
humor; so she answered, in a very cheerful
tone, that she was quite ready to take all
TALFJ FROM CATLAND.
the consequences, and that she hoped some
good ones, at least, would follow from her
going out that morning. -'Though, indeed,'
she added, 'I have been seeing some very
'Then, as sure as cream is cream,' ex-
claimed Glumdalkin, quite fiercely, 'you've
been talking to that good-for-nothing wretch
of a cat again. I am astonished at you,
SNow, my dear cousin,' answered Friska-
rina, very quietly, 'just hear me--let us
talk the matter over a little: I am sure you
would feel just as I do about it, if you had
been with me this morning.'
'Humph,' muttered Glumdalkin, I'm
not sure of that at all But, tell your story,
child. We shan't have any peace, I sup-
pose, till you have.'
Friskarina gulphed down a rather sharp
speech that was just at the end of her
tongue, and went on with the recital of her
adventures: -' I have certainly seen the
poor cat; and the cottage, too, in which she
THE THRBI CATS.
lives -0 Glumdalkin! such a place it is,
you never saw anything like it; there was
not a bit of fire on the hearth, and in one
corer there lay a woman on a heap of
straw, with an old rug over her. She was
not at all like the princess, or the maids of
honor, for she had such a thin white face,
and such skinny hands, it was dreadful to
look at her she was quite as thin as the
poor cat: and the old woman, I mean the
cat's mistress, was stooping over her, and
giving her something out of a broken cup.
Poor old woman! she groaned so, when she
looked at her, that it really went to my
heart to hear her.'
And pray,' interrupted Glumdalkin,
(what's all this to us I I do think you take
quite a delight in making one low spirited;
as if the day wasn't quite dismal enough
already. Of course, one's very sorry for
the people, and all that sort of thing, but
what good can you do, I should like to
know, poking your nose into such places
You can't do anything for them; and why
TALKS FBRO CATLAND.
should you put yourself into such a ridicu-
lous fuss ? If you were the princess, now,
you might help the people but you, a cat,
what can you do It's no concern of
It is too true,' sighed Friskarina, I can
do no good to the old woman and her sick
daughter; but, with your leave, Cousin
Glumdalkin, I can do something for the
poor cat, and that will be better than
nothing: if one can't do what one would,
one ought to do what one can. And now,
my dear good Cousin Glumdalkin, I want
you to lend me a helping paw, if you
'Well, what now grumbled Glum-
'Why, you know they always give us
our dinner behind the laurel trees, on the
grass, and you know, too, that they give us
more than we want; indeed, more than is
good for us for don't you remember, when
you were ill last autumn, the doctor said
you ought to live more sparingly 1 and they
TKH THIBU CATS.
never take away the bits when we have
done; so that it is all our own property, and
I was thinking that if you would be so very
kind as to leave a bone or two that you
really don't want, and I will do the same,
the poor -'
Astonishment and indignation had, so far,
kept Glumdalkin silent; but now, finding
voice' once more, she burst forth into a per-
fect torrent of wrath, declaring that not one
bone would she leave no that she
wouldn't. Se wouldn't be answerable for
bringing a parcel of thieving cats about the
house a pretty thing indeed I- what did
Friskarina think the princess would say ?
Friskarina meekly replied, that there
would certainly be no thieving in the case;
for that their dinner was all their own, and
if they did not eat it all, it would only be
left on the grass, to moulder away; and she
really could not think the princess would
have any objection to their relieving the
poor cat's want, out of their own abundance.
But these, and other similar arguments were
TALIS FROM CATLAND.
all wasted upon the selfish Glumdalkin:
she jumped down from her stool in a pas-
sion, turned her back upon Friskarina,
rolled herself round into a great black
ball, and seemed in a few moments to be
fast asleep. Not that she was asleep,
though; and her bad humor was not much
mended by hearing the princess, who was
lying on her sofa, call Friskarina to her, in
her most endearing accents:-' Her dear,
good, darling little Friskarina.'
'It's most uncommonly odd that she never
calls for me,' thought Glumdalkin.
Meanwhile, Friskarina had jumped up to
her mistress, who stroked her fondly, and
kissed her, and Friskarina felt her face wet
'What can be the matter with the prin-
cess thought she; I am sure she can't
have any troubles; 0 I wish she could see
that poor woman in the cottage!'
One o'clock and the great bell of the
palace rang and then the cats always
went down to dinner, and the princess went
THR THURI CATS.
down to her luncheon. And a grand lun-
cheon it was, for it happened that day to be
the princess's birth-day, and three of her
cousins were coming to dine with her, and
they were going to have such a plum-pud-
ding so very big; and there was to be an
elephant and castle, made of sugar, all over
gilding, at the top. But, somehow, when
the princess sat down to her luncheon, she
did not look happy, notwithstanding her
birth-day, and her three cousins, and the
great plum-pudding they were going to
May it please your royal highness,' said
the tall page, Grandmagnificolowsky, shall
I put the cats' meat in the hall for them, as
the snow is so deep in the garden, to-day 1'
No, no, nonsense!' replied the princess,
who had just helped herself to the breast of
a partridge, 'put it in the old place in the
garden; and here put this wing and leg
upon the dish too.'
Did not Glumdalkin's eyes sparkle when
she got to the dish, and found the wing of
TALES AT-- 8110 4 TlA .
the partridge; how she devoured it She
was really so busy, that she actually was
some minutes before she discovered that
Friskarina had gently drawn away a mutton
bone, with some beautiful picking upon it,
to a spot at a little distance among the trees,
and that she had then come quietly back, and
was making her own dinner upon the drum-
stick of a chicken, which she was eating very
deliberately, as if she were trying to make it
last as long as possible. There was still the
leg of the partridge left, and two or three
other very delicate tit-bits, besides two large
slices of cold roast-beef. Glumdalkin had
hardly swallowed the last morsel of the
wing, and was just thinking about the leg,
when, to her unspeakable surprise, the
house-door opened, and out came the prin-
cess, attended by one of the maids of honor,
and followed by Grandmagnificolowsky. The
ladies were muffled up in their fur cloaks,
and the maid of honor seemed to be carrying
a basket. Poor famished GlumdalkinI so
great was her astonishment, that she posi-
792 TEU CAMS.
tively paused, with her claw suspended over
the leg of the partridge, to see what her
royal highness could possibly be about.
The princess no sooner came up to the
place where the cats were dining, than,
stopping, she commanded the page to carry
Glumdalkin back to the house. 'That cat
will eat herself into an apoplexy,' she aid;
'I never saw such a greedy creature I'
The astonishment, the indignation of
Glumdalkin, what words can describe It
has been said, that she positively set up her
back and hissed at the princess; but I can
hardly believe that However, whether she
did or not, it made no difference. Grand-
magnificolowsky picked her up, and carried
her into the house, not without plenty of
scratches for his trouble. The princess and
the maid of honor passed on, and went out
at the garden door.
Here was a golden opportunity for Fris-
karina! She ran behind the bushes, where
Tibb was munching her bone with all her
might; and telling her to eat all that was
TALE FROM CATLAND.
left upon the dish, sat by, watching her with
the utmost satisfaction in her countenance,
though she certainly had not had a very
capital dinner herself. Poor little Tibb!
She looked as if she hardly knew how to
eat, for sheer joy! However, she did finish
at last; and then, running up to Friskarina,
called her her only friend her deliverer
from starvation and said many other very
affectionate things besides. But Friskarina
cut them short, by begging her to go home
without delay, for fear the gardener should
find her, and hang her up to the apple-tree.
That conclusion of her morning's adventures
not appearing desirable to poor Tibb, she
lost no time in following her friend's advice,
and, with a scramble or two, was soon over
the wall, and on her road home.
Now Friskarina had a strong idea that it
would be advisable to keep out of Glumdal-
kin's way that afternoon as long as possible,
having a pretty tolerable notion of the sort
of temper her respected relative would be
most likely to be found in, so, cold as it was
THE THERU CATS.
out-of-doors, Friskarina could not muster
resolution to go into the house till it was
really getting quite late, almost teatime. So
she amused herself with making foot-marks
in the snow, and running after the twigs
that the wind blew about, and such like
diversions, till it got almost dark, and she
began to feel very hungry, for she had not
had much dinner. That put her in mind of
her new friend; and she reflected, with great
satisfaction, that poor Tibb certainly was
not nearly so hungry that night as she had
been before: and then she began to wonder
where the princess could have been going to,
and whether she would see the poor old wo-
man at the cottage: and Friskarina thought
what a fine thing it must be to be a prin-
cess, and to be able to help people who were
in distress. What a great deal of good I
would do! thought she, as she threw herself
down to rest upon a little heap of snow. I
would be so careful, and never waste any-
thing; and I would have all the bones saved
for the poor cats round my palace; and,--
TAlra FRON CATLAND.
O what a deal of good I would do, if I were
only a great lady, like the princess! Just
then, a very odd thought came into Friska-
rina's head. She began to consider whether
she had done all the good she might have
done, as it was: and suddenly it struck her,
that she had very often, indeed, ate a great
deal more dinner than she really wanted,
just because it happened to be nice; and
she remembered, that once or twice old Bear,
the watch-dog, who was chained up in the
yard, had said to her, how glad he should
be to have something more to eat; and yet
it was very odd, but it had never occurred to
her, that she might so easily have saved him
a bone or two at her dinner time, and yet
have had plenty for herself too.
So poor little Friskarina hung her head
down, and felt quite ashamed; the tears
came into her eyes. 'Poor Bear she said,
'I might have helped you very often, if I
had only thought about you. I'm afraid I
have been very selfish!'
And then she began to think, that per-
THE TBHS8 CAMS.
haps it was rather unkind in her not to go
and look after poor old Glumdalkin, who
was, no doubt, in no very happy mood. So,
screwing up her courage as well as she
could, she trotted up stairs, and, finding
that the princess was just entering the draw-
ing-room, she slipped in after her. The fire
was blazing gloriously; but, at first, Friskas
rina was quite unable to see anything of her
second cousin once removed, (I'm afraid
Friskarina now and then sincerely wished
her removed altogether 1) for though the fire
was bright, there were no candles in the
room, and it was a very large one, so that
the further extremity of it was rather dark.
So she began looking round, for she could
not imagine where the old cat could be gone
to: at last, quite at the far end, she thought
she perceived some black object behind one
of the chairs, and, on going up to it, found
Glumdalkin, with her eyes closed, her head
very erect, her tail curled very tight round
her toes, and her whole person apparently
immovable, except, now and then, an angry
twitch at the end of her tail.
TALES FROM CATLAND.
Friskarina saw plain enough that she was
not asleep; so, as she really felt rather
sorry for her, she asked her if she did not
feel cold, sitting so far from the fire.
'I beg, Ma'am, you won't trouble yourself
about me,' was the gracious reply; 'if I
chose to sit by the fire, I should do so: I
suppose the princess would not order me
out!' this was said with such a strange kind
of hysterical laugh, that Friskarina thought
she was going to burst into a fit of crying.
'Come,' she said, kindly, 'don't be so
unhappy, my dear Glumdalkin! I am sure
the princess did not mean to be unkind to
you; I do think she was only afraid you
might, perhaps, not be quite careful enough
-might take more than was really good for
you; I'm quite certain she did not intend
'And do you mean to say,' screamed
Glumdalkin,' that, at my time 'of life, I'm
to be dictated to by a young thing like the
princess, and that I can't be trusted to eat
my dinner I No, indeed, I won't submit to
THE TH ZE CATS.
it! I'm not going to bear such indignities!
The princess will find out her mistake when
I am gone.'
'But,' said Friskarina, very gently, 'what
can you do 1'
'Do !' said Glumdalkin, striking her paw
with great violence upon the top of a foot-
stool, 'do! why, can't I leave the palace ?
You don't suppose I shall remain here
another day, do you ? I shall look out for
another situation directly a cat like myself
won't go a-begging.'
Friskarina was so astonished at this sud-
den resolve, that it was a minute or two
before she could answer; at length, she
quietly asked when Glumdalkin intended
to quit the palace.
'To-morrow, decidedly;' replied Glim-
dalkin, 'perhaps I may stay till after dinner,
there's a basket of fish just come in, and I
am really not strong enough to encounter
.the fatigue of the thing in a morning, it
will be a great trial to me--very great.'
And Glumdalkin put her paw up to her
TALUS 1WOM CATLAND.
eyes for a few moments; but Friskarina
thought it did not look at all wet when she
put it down.
I am very much concerned for you,' she
said; 'and I do strongly recommend to you
not to think of going away: you will be
lost in the snow, and I am sure you would
not like to take shelter in any of the cot-
tages; think what wretched places they
are I What will become of you 1 you will
lose your way in the woods, or fall a prey to
some wild beast; do pray think better of
Glumdalkin sat silent for some minutes,
seemingly plunged in the most dismal med-
'Well,' she said, at length, in a rather
mollified tone, 'I have no doubt you would
all miss me dreadfully; you, especially, Fris-
karina, as you are so young and giddy, and
so little able to take care of yourself; we
will see, I don't wish to do anything unking
by you -'
Just at that moment Grandmagnifico-
TrI THRIE CATS.
lowsky entered with the princess's supper;
and as the princess called Puss! puss!'
several times, Glumdalkin was forced at last
to present herself, being rather hungry be-
sides; so she lapped a saucer of cream that
her mistress condescended to pour out for
her, much more thankfully than usual, and
then went off to bed, thinking that, after
all, she might, perhaps, vouchsafe to remain
in the palace; and she dreamt all night that
she was being pursued by wolves in a forest,
and was forced to take refuge in a miserable
hut, where she had nothing to eat but a bit
of mouldy cheese, and nothing to drink but
a drop of muddy water.
What did little Friskarina dream about ?
I can't tell you; but the first thing she
thought of, when she awoke in the morning,
was poor Tibb, and the wretched cold bed
she had that night how different from her
own, with its nice soft warm cushions.
,. Glumdalkin got up later than usual, and
looked nearly as cross as when she went to
bed; but she said nothing more about
TALES FROM CATLAND.
going: and Friskarina took care at breakfast
to show her every possible good-natured
attention; she gave her by much the largest
share of the cream, took the draughty side
of the hearthrug herself, and, in short, did
everything she could to show that she was
anxious to be kind and civil to her; but all
her little politenesses seemed nearly lost
She sate, humped up, all the morning by
the fire, with her shoulders up to her ears,
and with a gleam in her eyes, if anybody
came near her, that was positively savage.
The princess sat in her drawing-room,
looking very thoughtful and rather sad. It
was certainly very stupid work in the draw-
ing-room that morning.
Friskarina got tired of such dull company,
and set off into the garden. But first of all,
she ran down into the court-yard, to have a
little conversation with Bear, the watch-dog,
and hear the news. Moreover, she wanted
to find out how Bear's own affairs were
going on, and whether he had enough to eat
tIf THRIE CATS.
now. And so, after a little chat about the
weather, and the probability of the wolves
coming down from the mountains, and so
forth, she ventured delicately to inquire into
the state of his finances, as regarded bones
and such things; and she learnt, to her
great satisfaction, that, since the new cook
came into office, Bear had been living in
clover, as it were. Come, thought Friska-
rina, that's one good thing, however; now I
may keep all my spare bits for poor Tibb!
So, after a little further conversation about
the affairs of the nation, for Bear was a
great politician, and read the 'Canine Guar-
dian' three times a week, and talked very
learnedly about the game laws, the friends
parted. Bear laid himself down to sleep in
his kennel, and Friskarina scampered off
into the garden, to watch for Tibb's descent
over the wall.
Punctually as the great bell of the palace
rung, Tibb's ears appeared among the top
leaves of the ivy, and in a second she was
at her benefactress's side, looking so much
TALES FPOM CATLAND.
less miserable than she did at first, that it
quite rejoiced Friskarina to look at her.
And now the house door opened, and out
came a page, carrying a large dish full of
chicken bones, slices of meat, pieces of fish,
and such like delicate morsels, and closely
followed by Mrs. Glumdalkin, making such
a clamorous mewing that one would have
thought she had had no breakfast.
Tibb, luckily, was hidden by a low bush;
or I would not answer for it that Glumdal-
kin would not have flown at her. However,
she was too much taken up with her dinner
just then to look about her; for seeing a
beautiful piece of cold sole among the bits
on the dish, and being dreadfully afraid that
Friskarina might take a fancy to it, she
seized upon it, and swallowed such a great
piece whole, that the back-bone stuck in her
throat, and she could neither get it up nor
down. She coughed she gasped but
there the bone stuck, she coughed again,
quite convulsively, still the bone remained
immovable; Friskarina, who was at a little
THE THBIE CATS.
distance, grew very much alarmed, and run-
ning up to her, thumped her on the back;
but all in vain, her struggles became abso-
lutely frightful to witness; she kicked, she
groaned she started to her feet, and ran,
in an agony, like a mad thing, twice round
the grass, shrieking with pain; at length,
sinking down, completely exhausted, she
stretched out her limbs, quite stiff, and giv-
ing a fearful groan, breathed her last!
Friskarina, exceedingly terrified, ran be-
hind the bushes to call Tibb to her assist-
ance, for she did not know, at first, that
Glumdalkin was really dead: but what was
her astonishment to find Tibb gone, and in
the place where she had left her, an odd
looking old lady, in a red satin petticoat,
trimmed with gold fringe, a gray cloak, a hat
with a very high crown, and she carried in
her hand a long ebony stick, with a queer
silver head to it.
'Come hither, pretty Friskarina!' cried
the old lady; and stooping down, she patted
her back, saying, 'So you were going to
TALES FROM CATLAND.
save your own dinner for me, you good little
creature.' Friskarina looked at her with
the utmost amazement; and it was not much
lessened when the old Fairy (for it was the
princess's aunt), stroking her again, thanked
her for the good lesson she had taught her
niece. What a strange old lady; thought
Friskarina, what can she possibly mean 1
Meanwhile, the princess had been looking
out of the window, and perceived her fairy
aunt, with a little secret consternation, for
she was rather afraid of her; however, she
hastened down stairs to receive her, wonder-
ing all the time what she could be come
So, niece!' was the old lady's saluta-
tion, I find you have been indebted to your
cat for the best lesson you have had for this
many a day.'
The princess stooped down to kiss the
fairy's hand. 'It is too true, indeed, dear
aunt;' she replied, 'but I hope it is a les-
son which I shall be the better for as long
as I live. I blush to think that I should
- THE THBEE CATS.
have been so long insensible to the wants
and miseries of the poor people who were
dwelling so near me, till, as you say, my
little cat's example. taught me how selfish
and unfeeling I had been.'
'It is well for you, niece,' said the fairy,
'that you visited the poor old woman's
cottage yesterday, and took her what was
needful to supply her wants; for you little
thought,' added the old woman, laughing
rather maliciously, that the poor miserable
cat, who was sitting behind the door, was
your old aunt. I say, it was lucky for you
that you bethought yourself at last of your
duty; or, I promise you, the last should
have been your very last night in your pal-
ace that it should,' she continued with
increasing vehemence, striking her stick on
the ground till the walk rang again. 'Let
me find things very different when I pay you
my next visit!' And with these words,
waving her ebony wand in the air, the fairy
vanished; and the princess found that her
own fine dress had disappeared too, and that
TALES FROM CATLAND.
a gown of plain gray cloth had taken its
But only imagine her consternation when
she went into the palace All the gay
things were gone out of the drawing-room;
the thick velvet curtains no longer hung
from the windows there were no soft easy
chairs no pretty ornaments; her beautiful
silver nautilus-shell, with its pale blue satin
curtains, was gone also; and in its place,
there was a plain little bed, with brown stuff
furniture, so exceedingly ugly and dismal,
that the princess declared to herself she
should never be able to get a wink of sleep
in it. In short, all her favorite apartments
wore an air of what seemed to her the most
Yet the princess had all the necessaries of
life left; there was plenty of bread and meat
in the larder, though all the dainty things
were gone; there were coals and wood
enough in the cellar ; she had a good bed to
lie upon; and her house was a palace still
in comparison with the cottage of the poor
ThU THlEA CATS@4
old woman who lived near her gate. But
she was some time in finding that out.
Poor princess I when she looked round her
drawing-room, she burst into tears. Just
then, a voice near her said, 'They are taken
away till you have learnt to pity others, and
to be unselfish I' She turned, and caught a
glimpse of the Fairy's red petticoat disap-
pearing through the door-way.
When she was sufficiently recovered to go
round the house, and see what was left, she
found, to her great satisfaction, that all her
money was spared, and she determined, in
future, to make a very different use of it.
The melancholy decease of Glumdalkin
threw several distinguished families in Cat-
land into mourning; but I never heard that
any body particularly lamented her.
And so the princess and Friskarina went
on living together in the palace 1'
Why no, not exactly: but you shall hear
about it. One fine bright morning, not
many days after the Fairy's visit, Friskarina
was sitting, all by herself, on the drawing-
TALES FROM CATLAND.
room window-seat, thinking over all the won-
derful things that had happened, when sud-
denly she saw, flying past the house, a pair
of milk-white doves, with silver collars round
their necks, and bearing between them what
seemed to be a small white box, which they
gently placed upon the lawn, and then they
flew away. The white box grew taller and
taller, larger and larger; till, in a few
minutes, there stood the loveliest little
cottage you ever beheld. Its walls were of
the richest carved ivory- there were two
parlors in it, one for the winter, which
faced the south, and was lined with crimson
velvet, and the other for summer, hung
with sea-green silk. The chairs and tables
were of satin-wood; the cups and saucers
of the prettiest porcelain; and there were
crystal flower-pots in the windows, filled
with maiden-blush roses and lilies-of-the-
valley. Over the door was written in
SA PRESENT FOR FRISKARINA.'
I do not think you ever beheld such a
THE THEE CATS.
charming dwelling for a cat; and Friskarina
took possession of it, and commenced house-
keeping directly, and the princess presented
her with a superb silver cream-jug, towards
her stock of furniture. And, as there were
more rooms in her cottage than she wanted
for her own use, Friskarina took in six
infirm, homeless cats, advanced in life, and
provided for them as long as they lived;
and when they died, she supplied their
places with others, equally necessitous. As
Glumdalkin died without a will, Friskarina,
being her nearest relation, of course, succeed.
ed to her property, which chiefly consisted
of that delightful soft bed, of yellow satin,
which I told you about before, and which,
together with her own, Friskarina imme-
diately det aside for the use of the two oldest
and most rheumatic cats in her establishment.
And now I must tell you a little more
about the princess: when the Fairy paid
her next visit to her, which was in about a
year's time, she found a great change for the
better in her. Instead of lying in her bed
TALES FROM CATLAND.
half the morning, she was up by six;
instead of sitting all day on the sofa,
reading nothing but story-books and silly
fairy-tales (which, of course, sensible people
never read), she studied wise books of
history and geography, and made flannel
petticoats, and knitted warm stockings for
the poor, and went to see them at their own
dwellings: in short, she had become as
useful as she had been idle and selfish
before. The wretched huts at her gate
were gone, and in their place was a very
pretty row of cottages; and such nice, neat
old people lived in them for, as for the
young and healthy, the princess ordered
them to go out into the world and earn
their own livelihood.
But, did the princess ever get back her
fine things '
Why that is rather a puzzling question.
Some people say that she never did: others
believe that the Fairy made her the offer of
them, but that she declined it, thinking that
she should, perhaps, grow too fond of them
THE THREE CATS. 53
again: while some other people say, that
the Fairy gave her back those things which
her high station as a princess required, but,
that the young lady herself begged her to
keep those things which would only have
tended to make her vain and self-indulgent.
And I am very much disposed myself to
think that this account of the matter is the
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
ONCE upon a time I can't say exactly
when it was there stood a neat, tidy little
hut on the borders of a wild forest. A poor
old woman dwelt in this hut. She lived on
the whole pretty comfortably; for, though
she was poor, she was able to keep a few
goats, that supplied her with milk, and a
flock of chickens, that gave her fresh eggs
every morning: and then she had a small
garden, which she cultivated with her own
hands, and that supplied her with cabbages
and other vegetables, besides gooseberries
and apples for dumplings. Her goats
browsed upon the short grass just outside
the garden, and her chickens ran about
everywhere, and picked up everything they
could find. There were some fine old trees
which defended the cottage on three sides
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
from the cold winds, and the front was to
the south; so it was very snug and sheltered.
The forest afforded her sticks and young
logs for fuel, so that she never was in want
of a fire; and, altogether, she managed to
make out a pretty comfortable life of it, as
The only friend and companion the old
woman had, was her gray cat. Now, the
cat was a middle-aged cat: she had arrived
at a time of life when people grow reflective;
and she sat by the hearth and reflected very
often. What did she reflect about 1 That
is rather a long story. You must know,
then, that a few leagues from the old wo-
man's hut, on the other side of the forest,
there rose a grand castle, belonging to a
very great baron. And sometimes, on fine
summer mornings, as the old woman and
the cat were sitting in the sunshine, by the
door, the old woman at her spinning-wheel,
and puss curled up for a nap after her
breakfast, the forest would suddenly ring
with the sound of hunting-horns, shouts
TALKSB ROM CAT AND.
and laughter; and a train of gay ladies and
richly dressed gentlemen would sweep by on
horseback, with hawk and hound, and fol-
lowed by servants in splendid liveries; for
the baron was fond of hawking and hunt-
ing, and frequently took those diversions in
the neighboring forests. Now, it so hap-
pened, that in one of the tall trees behind
the cottage, there lived a magpie: not by
any means an ordinary magpi, but a bird
that had seen a good deal of the world; in-
deed, at one time of her life, she had, as ahe
took care to inform every body, lived inthe
service of the Countess Von Rustenfusten-
mustencrustenberg. How she happened to
leave such a grand situation tt riagpie
never explained: to be smreaonup iWlaatured
people did say that there ha4 bee. an awk,
ward story about the loss of one of the
countess's diamond bracelets, which was
found one fine morning, in the inside of a
hollow tree in the garden; and that Mag
was turned away in disgrace directly. But
how the matter really was, I cannot say: all
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
that I know is, that she took up her abode
half-way up one of the large oaks, behind
the old woman's hut, a long time before our
story begins; and that, being of a par-
ticularly sociable and chatty disposition, she
soon established an ardent friendship with
the cat, and they became the greatest cronies
in the world. So when, as I said just now,
the baron's grand hunting parties swept
past, they afforded the magpie a fine oppor-
tunity for displaying her knowledge of life
and the world. And sometimes, too, she
would dwell at great length on the splendor
and happiness she had enjoyed while she
lived with the countess in her palace, till
the cat's fur almost stood on end to hear the
wonders she related. -What a place that
palace must have been very different, in-
deed, from the old woman's cottage!
Now, these conversations with the magpie
sadly unsettled the mind of the cat; more
particularly when the magpie related to her
how daintily the Countess Von Rustenfusten-
mustencrustenberg's cat always lived -what
TALES FROM CATLAND.
nice bits of chicken she dined upon, what
delicious morsels of buttered crumpet she
often had for breakfast, what soft cushions
she lay upon, and a great deal more to the
same purpose: all which made a powerful'
impression upon our humble friend. So she
sate and reflected by the fire, while the good
old woman, her mistress, went on spinning
the wool which she sold afterwards at the
nearest town, to buy food and clothes.
The more the cat talked to the magpie,
the more dissatisfied she became with her
present condition; till, at last, I am sadly
afraid that when, in a morning, the old
woman gave her her breakfast of goats' milk
with some nice brown bread broken into it,
she began rather to despise it, instead of
taking it thankfully, as she ought to have
done, for she was really very comfortably off
in the cottage -having bread and milk
every morning and night, and something for
dinner too; besides what mice she could
catch, to say nothing of a stray robin or
sparrow now and then. But, as I said just
THR DISCONTENTED CAT.
now, the magpie's chattering stories un-
settled her; she thought it would be so
charming to dine upon bits of roast chicken,
and have buttered crumpets for breakfast,
and fine cushions to lie upon, like the
countess's cat. All this was very silly, no
doubt; but she wanted experience: she
knew nothing of the thousands and thou-
sands of poor cats who would have thought
her life quite luxurious. It is a very bad
thing to get unsettled; it sets people wish-
ing and doing many foolish things.
One fine, bright evening, the magpie was
perched upon a projecting bough of her oak,
and the cat, who thought the cottage par-
ticularly dull that day, had come out for a
'Good evening!' screamed the magpie,
as soon as she saw her; do come up here
and let us talk politics a little.' So the cat
climbed up, and seated herself on another
bough a little below.
You look out of spirits to-day;' began
the magpie, bending down a very inquisitive
TALES tIROM CATLAND.
eye to her friend's face; I am afraid you are
not well; but I'm not surprised: that old
sparrow I saw you eating for dinner must
have been as tough as leather; it is no
wonder you are ill after it! You should
really be more careful, and only .catch the
nice tender young ones.'
Thank you,' replied the cat, in a rather
melancholy tone; I am perfectly well.'
'Then what in the world ails you, my
dear friend '
SI don't know,' answered the cat; 'but I
believe I am getting rather tired of staying
here all my life.'
Ah!' exclaimed the magpie, 'I know
what that is I feel for you, puss! you
may well be moped, living in that stupid
cottage all day. You are not like myself,
now; I have had such advantages! I declare
to you I can amuse myself the whole day
with the recollection of the wonderful
things I have seen when I lived in the great
'There it is!' interrupted the cat; 'to
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
think of the difference in people's situations!
Just compare my condition, in this wretched
hole of a hut, with the life that you say the
countess's cat lives. I'm sure I can hardly
eat my sop in the morning for thinking of
her buttered crumpets'- dear! dear it's a
fine thing to be born in a palace!'
'Indeed,' replied the magpie, 'there is a
great deal of truth in what you say; and
sometimes I half repent of having retired
from her service myself; but there's a great
charm in liberty it is pleasant to feel able
to fly about wherever one likes, and.have no
impertinent questions asked.'
'Does the countess's cat ever do any
work inquired puss.
'Not a bit,' answered the magpie. I
don't suppose she ever caught a mouse in
her life; why should she 1 She has plenty
to eat and drink, and nothing to do but to
sleep or play all day long.'
'What a life!' ejaculated the cat; 'and
here am I, obliged to take the trouble to
catch birds or anything I can, if I want to
TALES FROM CATLAND.
make out my dinner, -what a world it
'Your most obedient servant, ladies!'
just at that moment hooted an old owl from
a neighboring fir-tree; 'a fine evening to
Dear me, Mr. Owl! how you made me
jump!' cried the magpie, rather pettishly; I
had nearly toppled down from the bough -'
To say the truth, the magpie did not
particularly fancy the owl's company--he
was apt to come out with very rude things
sometimes; besides, he was reckoned a very
sensible bird, and Mag always declared she
hated sensible birds -they were so dread-
fully dull, and thought themselves so much
wiser than other people.
'I beg pardon I am afraid I have inter-
rupted an interesting discourse,' began the
owl, observing that his salutation had rather
discomposed the magpie.
The cat, however, was not sorry to have
the opportunity of imparting her griefs and
perplexities to a bird who was so generally
respected for his wisdom; so she replied: -
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
'Why, indeed, my dear sir, we were con-
versing upon the lamentable differences
there are in the world.'
SYou may well say that,' answered the
owl, giving a blink with his left eye. I
suppose, now, ma'am,' he added, rather dryly,
turning to the magpie, 'your ladyship finds
a good deal of difference between your
present abode, and the countess's grand
palace-garden I only wonder how you
could bring yourself to make such a change
- at your time of life, especially.'
What an abominable uncivil speech,
thought the magpie; she fidgetted upon the
branch, drew herself up, and muttered some-
thing between her beak about the propriety
of people attending to their own concerns.
But you, my dear cat,' continued the owl,
'you have every reason, I should think, to
be perfectly satisfied with your lot in life '
I am not so sure of that,' said the cat;
'I think I have a good many reasons for
being quite the contrary; the countess's cat
has buttered crumpets and cream for break-
I rClr~~~lr~*~-~-~~~cag-~m~u ~I~ ICCrnClrpLC~ ~L1
TALES FROM CATLAND.
fast, and sleeps on a beautiful soft cushion
all night, and all day too, if she likes it:
and just look what a dull life of it I lead
here! and I have nothing but the heartheto
lie upon, and nothing for breakfast but milk
and brown bread!'
'And you ought to be thankful you can
get that!' cried the owl, quite angrily. I
tell you what, Mrs. Puss, I have seen more
of the world than you have, and I just say
this for your comfort if you could see how
some poor cats live, you would be glad
enough of your present condition.'
'Humphl' muttered the cat, 'I really
don't know how you have contrived to see
so much of the world, sitting as you do in
a tree all day, blinking your eyes as if you
couldn't bear a ray of sunshine: now, with
all due submission to your superior wisdom,
I should think the magpie ought to know
something of life, after the high society she
has lived in, and I do say it is a shame
that one cat should have buttered crumpets
and cream for breakfast, just because she
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
happens to live in a palace, while another
has only brown sop, because she happens to
live in a cottage!'
'But suppose,' replied the owl, 'that some
other cat, who lives in a cellar, and never
gets anything to eat, except what she can
pick up in the gutters, should take it into
her head to say, "What a shame it is that
some cats should have nice snug cottages
over their heads, and warm hearths to sit
by, and bread and milk for breakfast, while
I am obliged to live in this horrid cold
cellar, and never know how to get a mouth-
The cat was rather disconcerted by this
observation at first; but presently an-
'My dear 'Mr. Owl, don't let us exagger-
ate, you can't seriously mean to say there
are any cats in the world in such a condi-
tion as you speak of I am sure the
magpie, with all her experience of life,
would have told me about it, if it were
really so- you must be mistaken.'
TALES FROM CATLAND.
The magpie, by this time, had become
exceedingly tired of such a long silence,
and was beginning to think that she had
stood upon her dignity quite long enough.
You will excuse me, my worthy friend,'
she said, turning to the owl,' but really you
do sit there so, day after day, blinking in
the sun, without a soul to speak to, that I
don't wonder at your taking very strange
fancies into your head. I can only say,
that during the whole of my residence in
the palace of the Countess Von Rustenfus-
tenmustencrustenberg, my late respected
mistress, I never came in contact with any
cat in the condition you are pleased to
imagine; and I should know something of
the world, I think.'
Well,' replied the owl, quietly,' I will
not dispute your ladyship's knowledge of
the world, but I strongly advise our friend
Mrs. Puss to remain contented at home, and
not try to improve her fortune by going into
the town: people should learn to know
when they are well off.'
THI DISCONTENTED CAT.
Just then, patter, patter, patter, came a
few large drops through the leaves; the
magpie making a prodigious chattering, and
declaring that a tremendous storm was
coming on, flew down from the bough;
and, whispering the cat not to mind what
the owl said -' a stupid old bird I' she
presently hid herself, very snug, in a hollow
place in the trunk: not very sorry, to say
the truth, to break up the conversation.
The owl very deliberately nestled himself in
a thick bush of ivy that grew near, and the
cat ran into tle cottage, to sit by the fire
and reflect; for between her two friends,
her mind was a little perplexed.
The old woman shut the cottage door,
heaped some dry fir-logs on the fire, and
sate down to her spinning-wheel The rain
pelted against the shutters, the wind howled
in the tree-tops, and roared loudly in the
forest behind the hut; it was a terrible
night out of doors, but within the cottage
it was snug enough,- the fire was blazing
merrily, the old woman's wheel turned
TALES FROM CATLAND.
briskly round, the kettle was singing a low
quiet song to itself beside the crackling logs,
and the cat was sitting on the hearth, look-
ing warm and comfortable. But I am afraid
she was not at all comfortable -in her
mind; for discontented people seldom are.
It never entered her head to consider wheth-
er there were any poor cats abroad that
night, without a shelter over them; for
grumblers are always selfish, and never think
of the wants of others. In fact, she could
think of nothing, just at that time, but the
luxuries enjoyed by the fortunate cats who
might happen to be born in grand palaces;
so, curled up in the warmest corer of the
hearth, she sate watching the little spouts of
flame that kept flashing up from the pine
logs, and wishing, for the hundredth time
that day, that she had had the good luck to
be a palace cat. Presently a very strange
thing happened to her.
All of a sudden she felt something very
lightly touch her coat; and looking round,
there stood, close by her, the most beautiful
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
little thing that anybody ever dreamt of.
She was not many inches high; her robe
seemed made of gold and silver threads,
fine as gossamer, woven together: on her
head she wore a circlet of diamonds, so
small and bright, that they looked like
sparks of fire, and in her tiny hand she bore
a long and very slight silver wand it was
more like a very, very fine knitting-pin than
The cat looked at her with unutterable
astonishment: it was very odd that the old
woman did hot seem to see her at all.
The'beautiful little lady looked at the cat
for a minute or two very steadily, and then
said,'You are wishing for something; what
is it '
By this time the cat had sufficiently recov-
ered from her consternation to be able to
speak: so she answered, Please your ma-
jesty, whoever you are, you have guessed
right for once -I am wishing for some-
thing: I wish to live in the palace of the
magpies grand countess!'
TALES FROM CATLAND.
Wonderful to relate the words were no
sooner spoken, than the Fairy struck her
wand upon the floor three times, and lo! and
behold! instantly there appeared--though
how it got there, I can't imagine--a car
made of four large scallop shells joined to-
gether, and lined with rich velvet; the wheels
were studded with the whitest pearls, and it
was drawn by eight silver pheasants. The
Fairy seated herself inside, and told the cat
to jump in after her. Puss obeyed, and in
an instant the hut, the old woman, the little
garden, all had vanished! and she and the
Fairy were sailing through the air as fast as
the eight pheasants could fly.
Where in the world are we going, please
your majesty said poor puss, in a dread-
fully frightened tone, clinging to the sides of
the car with her claws, that she might not
be tossed out. Hush!' said the Fairy, in a
voice so solemn, that the cat did not venture
to ask another question.
On--on -on they flew, till the gloomy
forest was left far behind; the storm had
THE DISCONTENTED CAT.
subsided; and, as the moon came out
from behind the clouds, the cat perceived
they were passing over a wild moorland
country. On on, the birds flew, and the
wild heath swelled into mountains, and sank
again into plain and valley; and they heard
beneath them, like the distant sea, the
rustling of the wind among clumps of pine-
trees. On--on, the birds flew, till, at
length there appeared, far before them, the
glimmering lights and dim outlines of a
stately city. On on, the birds flew, and
the city grew nearer and nearer; turrets
and spires and ancient gables rose in the
bright moonlight, and the houses grew
thicker and thicker together.
At length the pheasants flew more slowly,
and the cat saw that they were approaching
a very magnificent palace. How her heart
beat, partly with fright, partly with the rapid
motion, partly with expectation! Yes, they
were evidently drawing near to a magni-
ficent palace. It had high towers and
curiously carved gateways, that threw strange
TALES IRON CATLAND.
deep shadows upon the walls, and the panes
of the lattices glittered like diamonds in the
moon-beams, and the smoke from the chim-
neys curled up into the cat's face, and got
down her throat, and made her sneeze dread-
fully she wondered how the Fairy could
bear it. But now, slowly, slowly, slowly,
the wonderful car began to descend, till it
was just on a level with one of the windows,
which happened, very conveniently, to have
been left wide open: so in flew the pheasants,
car and all, and alighted on the hearth-rug.
' Jump out be quick!' cried the Fairy.
The cat did not wait to be told twice-
she was out in a twinkling; but before she
could turn her head round, car, Fairy, and
pheasants had vanished, and she was left
alone in the strange room. 'To be sure,'
she exclaimed to herself, 'was there ever
anything so extraordinary What an ad-
venture! And what a room it was! It
was so large, that three or four huts, like
her old mistress's, would have stood in it.
The floor was covered with something so
TBI D1SCONIUWED QAT.
thick, so warm, and so beautiful, all over
flowers in bright colors, that she had never
seen anything like it before: in short, every-
thing in the room was so fine, or so soft, or
so large, or so bright, that the cat could not
conceive what such strange things could be
However, she soon decided that the hearth-
rug was the most delightful bed she had
ever reposed upon; and, stretching out her
limbs upon it, before the huge fire that was
burning in the grate, she strove to collect
her bewildered ideas ere she proceeded any
further to investigate these unknown re-
gions. Suddenly the door opened.
'Dear! what a pretty cat exclaimed a
waiting-maid, entering the room; and just
as we were wanting another, too: my lady,
the countess, will be quite pleased.' Then,
coming up to the cat, she took her in her
arms, and began stroking her most affection-
ately. 'Pretty pussy how could you ever
get into the room O I see they have left
the window open, so you have wandered in
TALES FROM CATLAND.
out of the street, poor little cat! It's really
quite lucky, just as the old one is dead.' So
saying, she again stroked the cat, and carried
her away with her into an inner room, where
there sat an old lady in an easy chair by
the fire, apparently employed in eating her
Please your ladyship,' said the waiting-
woman, 'here's a poor cat come into the
house to-night, just as we were wanting one
--will your ladyship be pleased to let it
remain here 1'
'To be sure,' said the old Countess Von
Rustenfustenmustencrustenberg (for it was
she); 'it has just come in to supply the
place of poor old Finette: put it into
Finette's bed to-night, Ermengarde, and give
it a good meal first, for I dare say it is
hungry enough, poor creature But, first,
bring it here, and let me stroke it.'
You may imagine how puss purred her
very loudest as the countess patted her, and
called her a pretty cat. She thought herself
now the luckiest cat in the world: how she
TEt MUCObVSWTZFl fl 01.7o
wished that spiteful old owl could but know
about it! Ermengarde, the waiting-woman,
now took her back into the room she had
first entered, and setting her down on the
hearth-rug, went out. Presently she re-
turned, and placed before the cat a dish,
containing such a supper, as had never
entered her imagination till the magpie en.
lightened her on these subjects: it was some
minutes before she could believe it; was it
real? However, she'did it full justice in
time; and then, after a great deal more pat-
ting and petting, the maid again took her up,
and deposited her by the side of the fire, in
a very pretty basket lined with soft cushions.
And could she go to sleep ? Not for some
time, in spite of her long ride. It all seemed
so strange -so wonderful! that she, who
had been longing for months to belong to
the household of the Countess Von Rusten-
fustenmustencrustenberg, should now be ac-
tually in her -palace! It was extraordinary
indeed. But she fell asleep at last.
The next morning the cat was awake
TALZE rlOM CATLAND.
early, and the sun was shining through the
satin curtains of the splendid room, and
everything in it looked so very beautiful!
How different from the old woman's hut!
So the cat sate up in the basket, and looked
about her. After she had thus amused her-
self in this way for some time, Ermengarde
opened the door.
4 Well, Pussy,' she said, 'so you are wide
awake, and ready, I dare say, for your break-
Now for the buttered crumpets! thought
the cat. The maid went out, and quickly
returned with a large saucer full of rich
milk, with some roll crumbled into it. No
The cat felt a sort of blank feeling of dis-
appointment; it was very odd: but perhaps
she should have some another morning.
However, she made an exceedingly good
breakfast, as it was; but it must be con-
fessed she was a little cross all day. Soon
after breakfast, the old countess came in,
followed by a lap-dog-- a fat, spoilt, disa-
TR DMuCOTIMTED CAT.
agreeable looking animal, and the cat took a
dislike to him at first sight. And as for the
dog, he almost growled out aloud when the
countess stooped down to stroke the cat It
was evident that the hatred was quite
SNow, Viper,' said the old lady,' be good I
you know you are my own darling, that you
are; but you must not quarrel with poor
pussy: no fighting you know, Viper 1'
Whereupon Viper struggled down out of
his mistress's arms, for she had taken him
up to bestow a kiss upon him, and giving a
short snarl, by way of showing his perfect
contempt for her admonition, he mounted
upon a stool before the fire, and sat eyeing
his new acquaintance with such a fierce pair
of eyes, that the poor cat really shook all
over, and wished herself safe out of the
palace again. However, whenever the coun-
tess left the room, she always called Viper
away too; so they were not left together at
all the first day. On the following, the cat
began to get used to Viper's cross looks, and
8TALMS -7383.. CA1 iA
did not mind him so much: and the old
lady petted and made so much of her, that
she thought no cat had ever been so for-
tunate before. As to that, we shall see.
Dinner-time came: and as Viper was to
dine with the cat, Ermengarde brought in
two plates this' time, and to work they fell
with all their might. Viper had nearly
eaten up all his own dinner, and the cat
- was saving a beautiful merrythought for her
last tit-bit, when, as ill luck would have it,
the countess was suddenly called out of the
Instantly, with a growl that sounded in
the cat's ears like thunder, Viper darted full
at the merrythought, exclaiming:
You vile little wretch of a stray cat, do
you suppose I shall suffer you to come in
here, and rob me of my bones V'
Indeed, my lord,' said the cat, dreadfully
. frightened, 'I did not mean to take more
than my share!'
'And pray, madam,' screamed Viper,
'what do you mean by that Do you
T mco DWI5OnwD .
intend to insinuate that I have taken more
than mine ? Now, Mm, Puss, just listen to
me once for all, if you give me any more
of. your impertinence, I'll worry you to
death in two minutes I'
Poor puss! she trembled so frdm head to
tail, that she could hardly stand: but just
as she was going to beseech him not to
be offended, the countess came in again;
and as she soon afterwards took Viper out
an airing with her, the cat saw no more of
him for that afternoon. Poor pss I she
had a great deal of sorrowful reflection all
that evening. The result of it was, that
she very seriously asked herself what she
had gained by leaving her mistress's cot.
tage To be sure, she had cream for
breakfast, and chicken for dinner, but what
was that, if, every mouthful she ate, she was
in fear of that savage brute of a dog snatch-
ing away her meal, or even attacking and
worrying her ?
Fifty times did she wish herself a hun-
dred leagues off How careful she resolved
TALKS rIMl CAILAwN.
to be to do nothing that could possibly
offend the dog. And so, for the next three
or four days, by dint of giving up to him
all her best bones, and always jumping
down from her cushion whenever he wanted
to lie upon it, and looking the picture of
humility whenever he was in the room, she
contrived to get on in tolerable peace with
him. But unluckily, one morning, puse,
finding herself all alone in the drawing-
room, and everything quiet, and feeling very
sleepy (for she had had very little repose
the night before, from distress of mind),
thought she might as well take the oppor-
tunity of getting a nap; so she jumped
upon a high footstool, beside the fire, and
was soon fast asleep. How long she had
napped she could not tell, when she was
awakened by a furious barking; and open-
ing her eyes, she saw Viper standing at a
little distance, looking as if he was going
into fits with passion.
Poor puss! she recollected, all in a mo-
ment, that she had got upon Viper's own
THE DSTY 2D(. GM
footstool She jumped down before you
could count one.
'You audacious little upstart' cried the
dog, as soon as his rage allowed him to
speak, 'do you think I shall submit to
such impertinent liberties 1'
'Indeed, indeed,' stammered the poor cat,
'I humbly beg your lordship's pardon, but
I really quite forgot -'
Forgot, indeed!' roared Viper, 'I'll
teach you to forget, Mrs. Puss and mak.
ing a tremendous dash at her, he would
doubtless have demolished her in no time,
had not, fortunately, the window been open
a little, just enough for the cat to get
She was on the window.seat in an instant,
and had scrambled out of the window before
Viper, who was very fat, could come up to
her. It was with some difficulty that he
got up upon the window-seat, and quite in
vain that he tried to squeeze his fat body
through the opening of the window. How
he growled with disappointed passion, as he
TALES -OM AT0AN.L
stood on his hind-legs on the window-seat,
stretching his head, as far as his little short
neck would allow, through the opening, to
see what had become of puss.
What had become of her She had
dropt down into the street, and had crept
into the shade of one of the heavy broad
stone-carvings beneath the window, know-
ing that there she was safe enough for the
present; and she lay down, panting with
the fright, to recover her breath a little, and
consider what was to be done. To go back
to the palace was clearly out of the ques-
tion. But then where could she go 1 Poor
cat! what a perplexity she was in! She
lay snug for the best part of an hour before
she durst venture out of her hiding-place.
At last, cautiously peeping about her, she
crept out, and ran, with all her speed, down
the street, not knowing in the least whither
she was flying. She had not gone far before
she attracted the attention of a group of
children, who were playing in the street.
Shouting, whooping, and laughing, they
TOW A5QWMO inZ5 0A 35
pursued her. She redoubled her speed, and
darting suddenly down a little side alley,
was soon out of sight of her pursuers She
heard their screams and yelings, growing
fainter and fainter, in the distance; and
feeling that the immediate danger had past,
she relaxed her pace, and looked to see
where she was. She found that she was in
a little, dirty, miserable court, open at the
end, through which she saw trees and green
fields. But she thought it would be very
hazardous to loiter; so she ran on, and in a
short time found that she had left the town
behind her, and was once more in the open
country. Dreading lest she might encounter
any more dogs, she carefully avoided ap.
preaching any human habitation; so she
glided along among the grass, till she came
to a small clump of trees, which put her in
mind of the forest near her old mistress's
hut. Seeing no better prospect of shelter for
the night, she climbed up into the largest
of the trees, knowing that, at least, she
should be out of the way of dog there; and
8rtALS aDW OATLAMT.
finding a snug place among the branches in
the middle of the tree (for, though it was
autumn, yet the leaves were still pretty
thick), she made up her mind to pass the
But it wanted some hours yet of night:
and what was she to do for supper ? It was
not at all a pleasant consideration. More-
over, her squabble with Viper had taken
place before dinner; and now there was no
prospect of any supper but such as she
could earn by her own exertions. Perhaps
she might, with good luck, catch a robin
before night; but that could very ill supply
the place of the nice bits of fowl, and
saucers of rich milk, that Ermengarde gave
her every night. However, she was too
glad to be safe and snug up in the tree, to
be very particular. So she made up her
mind to lie there till it grew towards
roosting-time, and then see what she could
find for supper. She peeped out as well as
she could between the branches to see what
the surrounding country was like; it all
TER DMcoNnnW W AT. .
looked quite wild and lonely, and she saw
but few dwellings anywhere near the clump
Her place of refuge seemed at a consid-
erable distance from the high-road; so she
hoped she was tolerably safe from both men
At length the cold dews of the evening
began to fall, and the little birds began to
return home to their trees: so the cat ven-
tured to descend and look about for her
supper. I am sorry to say, that being by
this time exceedingly hungry, she obeyed
the dictates of nature, and in a very few
minutes had attacked and devoured a dear
little robin, that might have sung merrily all
through the autumn, if puss had only been
contented, and staid quietly at home in the
cottage. Be that as it may, poor little Red*
breast fell a victim to.her hunger, and yet
she considered him but a very poor supper,
after all. He was the best she could get
that night, however; for the other birds
proved too nimble for her: so, weary and
6 TAL e PeW CATLAt.
hungry, puss climbed up her tree again,
and was soon asleep--for she was very
tired indeed, with all she had done that day.
The next morning, when she awoke, her
limbs felt quite stiff; for the night had been
frosty, and she was very cold. But there
was no fire in the tree; so she had nothing
for it but to crawl down, and try to warm
herself with catching a bird for her break-
fast. She was so benumbed, that she could
hardly get down, and her bones ached as if
she had got the rheumatism all over her:
however, jumping about after the birds
revived her by degrees, and she began to
feel in a little better spirits; till, spying, at
a distance on the high-road, a carriage with
a large dog running after it, all her panic
returned, and she climbed up into her tree
again with all expedition. But the carriage
rolled along, gnd took no notice of puss;
and the rumbling of the wheels soon died
away, and all was quiet again.
What a melancholy long day it seemed!
and, moreover, she could hardly catch a bird
TMe bItSCON110D GAIN
- they all seemed to fly away from the trees,
instead of settling upon them; and puss had
really hard work to get any dinner at all that
day. And then the night was so cold again.
Many a time when she awoke, and felt the
frosty wind whistling round the trees, strip.
ping away more and more of the leaves at
every gust, did the poor cat, in her cold
and hunger, think of the nice bright fire on
her old mistress's hearth, and her brown
bread and milk, till she was ready to cry her
eyes out with vexation at her own folly--
and what was still worse, her own ingrati.
tude--in being willing to leave the good
old woman, her best friend, who had taken
care of her all her life long, merely because
she fancied it would be very grand to live in
a palace. People sometimes find out their
mistakes when it is toolate.
But, to make a long story short-three
or four more days and nights-melancholy
days, and cold wretched nights passed
over in piuch the same miserable way, or,
rather, things grew worse: for the weather
TALXS VoM CATLAND.
became stormy, the trees were almost stripped
of their leaves, so that they scarcely afforded
her any shelter from the wind, and the cat
was so dreadfully cold!
It became still more difficult, too, to pro-
cure any food; and the birds became very
shy of venturing within her reach: the poor
cat did not know what to do she was really
half dead with cold and hunger!
Oh groaned she, stretching herself out
upon some of the fallen leaves at the foot of
the tree -' Oh, that I had never listened to
that deceitful, mischievous magpie!'
And, indeed, she had good cause to say
It was drawing towards sunset; there had
been several storms during the day, but, as
the evening came on, the weather had a little
cleared up; and a gleam of sunshine just
then shot out from among the black clouds,
and fell upon something glittering beside
She lifted her eyes languidly, for she had
no strength to be alert now, and saw the
THU DISCONTENTED CAT.
bright and beautiful Fairy, with her car
drawn by the silver pheasants.
'Have you learnt yet to be contented
with plain fare at home ?' said the Fairy to
the cat, with an expression in' her counte-
nance that the cat could hardly make out:
she did not know whether her strange visitor
meant to be kind or not. to her.
'Oh! if you would but take me back to
my old mistress again!' cried the poor cat,
clasping her paws in an agony of entreaty,
'I would never be discontented any more '
The Fairy smiled, and touching her lightly
with her silver wand, bade her close her eyes
- another moment, and she bade her open
them; and, most wonderful of all the won-
derful things that- had happened to her,
the trees, the country, the distant city, all
were gone! There was a charming log-fire
on the hearth, sparkling and crackling;
whirr, whirr, whirr, went the old woman's
wheel, and there she sate in her chair just
as usual ; and the wind was blowing, and
the .rain was pelting against the shutters,
TALES IROI CATLAND.
exactly as it did the very night puss had
left the cottage in such a mysterious way.
In fact, everything looked precisely the same.
The cat rubbed her eyes, but nothing could
she see of the Fairy, or the car, or the silver
However, had she got back, and so quick
too I And the old woman did not seem at
all surprised to see her -it was very odd.
She could not make it out anyhow: at last
it struck her that, perhaps, she might have
been dreaming, and never have been out of
the hut at all. Yet those terrible growls of
Viper's, and those dismal days and nights in
the trees no," they must have been real!
Still, it was very strange that the old woman
should take no more notice of her, if she
had been lost how could it be ? It was
But her perplexities were interrupted by
the cheerful voice of her old mistress calling
out, 'Come, my pussy! it is supper-time!'
and as she spoke, she rose up from her
spinning-wheel, and taking down some eggs
TM DI O nISCOFir CAT.
and a cake of brown bread, with a large
jug, from her corer cupboard, she broke
the eggs into the frying-pan, and they were
soon hissing and sputtering over the fire.
Then she placed a large saucer on the table,
and broke some bread into it; and returning
to the fire, she took off the frying-pan, and
emptied the eggs into a dish on the table,
and sat down to her supper. But before she
tasted a bit herself, she poured some nice
goat's milk over the bread in a saucer, and
set it down on the hearth before the cat.
Now I will venture to say, puss never ate
a meal in her life half so thankfully before.
She made a resolution, between every mouth-
ful, never to say one word to that silly
chattering magpie again; and never to in-
dulge in any more foolish wishes, but to stay
at home, do her duty in catching her lhis-
tress's mice, and be contented, and thankful
for the brown bread and milk, without
troubling her head about countesses and
buttered crumpets any more.
And I am happy to be able to tell you
TALES FROM CATLAND.
that she faithfully kept her resolution. She
never spoke to the magpie afterwards; but
contracted a steady friendship with the owl,
which lasted to the day of his death; and
when he did die, which was not till he had
attained a venerable old age, he bequeathed
to her his share of the mice that infested
the neighborhood of the cottage.
As to the magpie, finding that her com-
pany was no longer desired in that part of
the world, she very wisely took her flight
far away to the other side of the wood.
Whether she still lives there, and goes on
chattering about the grand things she used
to see in the palace of the Countess Von
Rustenfustenmustencrustenberg, is more than
I can inform you. If you want to ascertain
that fact, you must go to the northern part
of the Duchy of Kittencorkenstringen, and
then you must walk seventeen leagues and
three quarters still further north, and then
you must turn off to your right, just where
you see the old fir-stump with the rook's
nest in it; and then you must walk eleven
THE DISCONTENTED CAT. 93
leagues and a quarter more, and then turn
to your left, and after you have kept straight
on for about fifteen leagues more, you will
see the wood where the magpie lives; and
then, if you walk quite through it to the
other side, you will see the old woman's
cottage; and if it should happen to be a fine
day, I dare say you will see her sitting in
the sunshine spinning, and, curled round
beside her, the contented cat.
LONG, long ago, in the glorious reign of
King Huggermuggerus, there lived in an
ancient castle a highly respectable cat and
his wife. They led a very comfortable life
of it, for the castle belonged to an old baron
who kept very little company, and was very
fond of his cats: so it was very rarely that
any strange dogs were admitted within the
walls; and the cats breakfasted every morn-
ing with their master. They had only two
children; all the rest of their numerous
family having been barbarously drowned by
the housekeeper, who was a very cross old
woman, and did not like cats, nor anything
else very much. But the cats did not trouble
their heads much about her; in fact, they
had very little to do with her, for they were
allowed full liberty to wander about the
castle at their pleasure.