Front Cover
 Title Page
 List of Illustrations
 The three little kittens
 Back Cover

Group Title: Three little kittens
Title: The three little kittens
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080474/00001
 Material Information
Title: The three little kittens
Alternate Title: Little kittens
Physical Description: 63 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ballantyne, R. M ( Robert Michael ), 1825-1894
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1891
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cats -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kittens -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's songs   ( lcsh )
Nursery rhymes -- 1891   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1891
Genre: Nursery rhymes   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by R.M. Ballantyne ; with illustrations by the author.
General Note: A vocal score, a children's duet, precedes Ballantyne's prose retelling of song.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080474
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002221805
notis - ALG2035
oclc - 187308808

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    List of Illustrations
        Page 5
        Page 6
    The three little kittens
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

The Baldwin Librar

R imL 7B

C~ 7

,-r^ <




*c L
: [L~/LL ('

/S 6

.; *"

The Kittens tell of the loss of their mittens.



1R. nM. Sallantine.


A tale of a cat will here be found,
With three little charming kittens,
And all that they said, and thought, and did,
When they lost-and found-thder mittens.



-~jtof 1,[MIm~t V.1tiLill C.

The Kittens tell of the loss of their mittens,
The Kittens are scolded,
The escape of the mouse,
The Kittens going to eat the pie, ...
A rich feast, ..
Naughty Kittens, ... ...
Spottie falls into the washing-tub, ..
A regular chase, ... ...


.. 29

.. 35
... 39
... 45
S.. 49



they be gan to cry, "0 mam my dear, We


sad ly fear Our mit tens we have lost."


" What!


w w


lost your mit tens, You naugh ty kit tens! Then

you shallhave no pie." Miew, miew,

__ __ =- -- ---__

miew, miew! Miew,
ft4tf--t4- _I-1 --1

miew, miew, miew !



THREE little kittens they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
mammy dear,
We sadly fear
Our mittens we have lost."
"What! lost your mittens,
You naughty kittens !
Then you shall have no pie."
Miew, miew, miew, miew!
Miew, miew, miew, miew!

The three little kittens they found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
O mammy dear,
See here, see here!
Our mittens we have found."
"What! found your mittens,
You little kittens!
Then you shall have some pie."
Purr, purr, purr, purr!
Purr, purr, purr, purr!


The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie.
0 mammy dear,
We greatly fear
Our mittens we have soiled."
"What! soiled your mittens,
You naughty kittens!"
Then they began to sigh.
Miew, miew, miew, miew!
Miew, miew, miew, miew !

The three little kittens they washed their
And hung them up to dry.
"0 mammy dear,
Look here, look here!
Our mittens we have washed."
"What washed your mittens,
You darling kittens !-
But I smell a rat close by!
Hush, hush!" Miew, miew!
Miew, miew, miew, miew!



Three little kittens lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh! mother dear,
We very much fear
That we have lost our mittens."

So the three little kittens ran to their
mother, and held up their paws to
show that the mittens were really lost.
Now, the kittens' mother was a large
gray cat. She wore a cap on her
head, -and a pair of red mittens on
her arms. And when she saw the


three little kittens sitting before her,
with their paws up, and looking half-
frightened, half-astonished, she be-
came angry, and said, Mee-a-ow!"
Then she sat down before them,
looking very fierce, and said, Mee-
a-ow !" again. At this the three little
kittens began to cry, and said they
were very sorry indeed for losing
them; but they could not tell how it
happened, for they were quite sure
they had them on when they were
eating their breakfast of bread and
milk, and that they did not take them
off when they went to play.
But when did you miss them ?"
asked the cat.


"We don't remember," answered
the two eldest kittens.
"Oh! I missed mine just after I
went to sleep on the rug," replied the
At this the other two kittens went
into fits of laughter; but their mother
gave them each such a slap on the
head and a scratch on the nose that
they sat down again, trembling, be-
fore her.
"Come, come, you naughty things,"
she said, you must not laugh when
I am scolding you. It is an easy
thing to lose mittens, but not at all
easy to find them again. As a pun-
j ishment, I will not speak to you until


you have found them.-Ah! Miss
Spottie, it is all very well to cry, but
it would be much better if you never
did anything to make you cry, or to
oblige me to scold you. Fuff! mee-
a-ow! fuff! I'm very angry."
The cat was silent for a short time
then she said,-
Now, sit still, kittens--do you ~
hear !-and wipe your eyes and noses,
and listen to me. You are very badA
for having lost your mittens. It cost
me much money to buy worsted for
them, and much time to make them;
so, since you have so carelessly

"Lost your mittens,
You naughty kittens,

The Kittens are scolded.


Then you shall have no pie.
Mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow !
Go; you shall have no pie.
Mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow!"

Their mother said this last mee-
a-ow" so fiercely, and followed it up
with such an awful "fuff," that the
poor kittens turned round and scam-
pered away as if they were mad, with
their hair all standing on end.
Now, the eldest kitten was black,
the second was white, and the
youngest spotted ; so they called
each other Blackie and Whitie and
What shall we do ?" said Blackie
to his sisters when they had fled
under a sofa,


I don't know," said Whitie; and
"I don't know," said Spottie.
Blackie shook his head and twirled
his tail slowly, and said, Dear
mother is very angry with us. And
no wonder, for we had no business
to lose our mittens. I'm very, very
sorry about it."
"And I'm very sorry too, but I
cannot think where we have put
them," said Whitie sadly.
"Oh, dear me!" sighed Spottie,
"I do wish that dear mamma had
never made them for us. Of course
it was very, very kind of her to do so;
but they have given us so much
trouble, I really think we should
(418) 2


have been much happier without
Hush hush! my dear sister,"
said Blackie; "you must not speak
that way. You might just as well
say you wished we had been mad
without tails, because they give us s
much trouble, and are so often caught
in the doors, and trod on by careless
Spottie could hardly speak as she
looked up with tears in her eyes and
said, Oh dear! I'm so grieved
about the pie!" and she rubbed her
stomach gently with her paw.
"What think you," cried Blackie,
starting up -"shall we look for


them ?" So they cried, "Yes, yes,"
and scampered off to search.
I'll find them, if I should search
for a week!"said Spottie with a very de-
termined Mee-a-ow." And they did
each, and found them too. Then
hey ran joyfully to their mother,
waving their mittens in the air, and
uttering shouts of a very peculiar
kind, which were no doubt intended
for hurrahs, although they did not
sound very like it.
Aren't you glad we have found
them ?" said Blackie.
Of course I am," replied Spottie,
whisking her tail. So
The three little kittens found their mittens,
And they began to cry,


"Oh! mother dear,
See here, see here!
See! we have found our mittens."

The cat received them with a sweet
smile and a long, loud Purr-r-r-r."
".Well, my dear children," she
said, "I am glad you have found
your mittens, and I hope you will
take care not to lose them again."
"Oh yes! dear mother," cried the
three kittens; "we will take great
care of them in future."
The cat smiled and screwed up
her whiskers with joy to find that her
little ones were so anxious to please
her, and then she said,-
Don't you find them nice, useful
things, my dears ?"


Blackie looked at Whitie and said
nothing; but Spottie gave a little
jump and said,-
Well, we didn't think so at first;
but I believe they are very nice and
useful after all, now I think of it, for
they are constantly being lost, and
keep us employed looking for them;
and then they are for ever catching
on corners and nails, and making me
tumble, which makes Blackie and
Whitie laugh very much-and that's
funny, you know, if it's nothing else."
Now, while they were so busy
talking, a mouse peeped out of its
hole, to see if there were any crumbs
lying about; and as it saw that the


cat and kittens were not watching, it
ventured to run a little along the
floor. In a moment Spottie caught
sight of it. Up went her tail, which
grew nearly as thick as her little body,
and away she went in pursuit, with
her claws out, and her eyes flashing,
and her mouth open. Blackie and
Whitie and their mother- instantly
followed; but the little mouse was so
quick that it got back in time; and
when Spottie crammed her nose and
paws into the hole, there was nothing
to be found there. Blackie and
Whitie each ran against Spottie in
their haste, and the cat fell on the top
of them all, amid much noise and


mee-a-owing; which caused the little
mouse to laugh, although it trembled
a good deal too when it thought of
the danger it had escaped.
When they had recovered from the
flutter into which this had thrown
them, the cat praised her children,
Called them good, active little dears,
and said, No doubt that naughty
mouse is laughing at us just now;
but never mind; we shall catch it
yet, depend upon it, and have it
stewed with green pease for supper,
my pets; so now
"Put on your mittens,
You silly kittens,
And you may have some pie.
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r.
Oh, let us have the pie!
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r."


On hearing this, Spottie gave such
a sudden scream of delight that her
brother and sister jumped five times
their own height into the air with the
fright; and when they alighted on
the ground again, their backs and
tails were up, and their hair standing
on end, so that they looked like two
round balls of fur. What do you
mean by startling us so ?" they asked,
with an angry little Fuff."
Oh! I beg pardon," replied
Spottie, looking very meek and in-
nocent; "I did not wish to startle
you, but I'm so glad that we are to
have the pie after all!" and Spottie
was so overjoyed at the thoughts of

t o .

The escape of the Mouse

The escape of the Mouse.


it that she gave another scream, made
up of a Purr" and a Mee-a-ow"
mixed together, and scampered round
the room till she was quite out of
breath. Blackie and Whitie ran
after her all the time; but although
Spottie was very little and very fat-
just like a dumpling-she ran so fast
that they could not catch her for five
minutes at least.
Then they all rolled together in a
lump, so that you would have thought
it was one cat with three heads, and
three tails, and six pairs of legs!
Then they separated with a wild
cry, and bounced away from each
other with their backs up as usual,



and their tails very thick, and walk-
ing very much sideways -just like
crabs-and staring at each other all
the time, as if they intended to have
a very fierce battle.
As they stood thus, Blackie caught
sight of his own tail, and immedi-
ately began to run round after it.
Seeing this, Whitie and Spottie
rushed at their brother, clasped him
in their arms, and they all rolled
along the floor again in a knot of
confusion, hugging and worrying
each other as if they were really
"Let go my tail, Blackie, you
rascal," cried Whitie.


No, I won't !" replied Blackie.
Keep your claws out of my nose,
yee-aw! mee-aw! a-a-ow! mee-!
spurt fuff!" shrieked Spottie.
In the meantime their mother took
up her knitting, and looked on with
a smile, purring very loudly all the
time. At last she called to them to
stop; and when they were seated in
a row before her, she told them to go
and eat the pie, and said, Spottie,
you little monkey, don't stuff your-
self too much." So

The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie.
"Oh! mother dear,
We greatly fear
That we have soiled our mittens."

The Kittens going to eat the pie.


The pie was a very fine one. It
was made entirely of the tails of mice
and rats' noses, and was covered with
a rich crust of toasted cheese. Be-
sides this, there were a great many
different kinds of spices in it. This
may perhaps surprise you, for it is
well known that cats are not fond of
spices; but you must remember that
the kittens we. are speaking of were
different from all other kittens i
many things. They were fond of
spices, so the cat put into the pie
a little pepper, a little cinnamon,;
a little nutmeg, a little ginger, be-
sides a good many cloves and some
mustard, and a large quantity of


canaries' claws, and the whiskers of
The moment Spottie saw it she
made a rush forward, and would
have jumped right into it; but
Blackie saw what she was going to
do, so he caught her, and said in a
reproving voice, My dear sister,
you should not be so impatient. Let
us all begin to it together. There is
no need of hurry."
Spottie blushed deeply, and said,-
"Oh, dear brother, I'm very fool-
S'ish and very sorry, but-" Spottie
could say no more, for at that mo-
ment the smell of the crust passed
her nose, and, unable to resist it any


longer, she burst away from Blackie,
rushed up to the pie, leaped upon a
footstool, clambered on the edge of
the dish, and plunged her fore paws
and her nose into the very middle of
it! Seeing this, the other two gave
a whisk with their tails and did the
same; and in ten minutes the whole
was finished-not so much as the
point of a nose or the end of a tail
was left. When they had finished,
and were trying to lick their lips,
paws, and whiskers clean, Spottie
gave a terrible Mee-a-ow," and
cried out, Oh, dear me! my mittens
are soiled. What will dear mamma
say ? alas alas !" The other two


also began to cry, for they too had
soiled their mittens, so that they
were not fit to be seen. But Blackie
soon dried his eyes, and said, Let
us go and tell mamma; perhaps she
won't be angry. At any rate, it is
better to tell her at once." So they
agreed, and went and told her. The
cat could only hold up her paws in
astonishment, and cry, Alas! alas!"
Oh dear! oh dear mee-oo !
oo !" cried Blackie.
I'm very, very sorry; but it was
the pie's fault !" sobbed Spottie.
Whitie wept in silence.
The cat shook her head and ex-
claimed sadly,-
(418) 3


",Soiled your mittens,
You naughty kittens !"
Then they began to sigh,
Mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow!
Then they began to sigh,
Mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow!

It was a sad sight to see these
three little kittens sitting with their
mittens all covered over with grease,
and the tears rolling down their
cheeks; and it was a sad sight to see
their poor mother quite unable to
speak for sorrow at their foolishness.
For, after all, they were really good
kittens, and all the evil they did was
owing to thoughtlessness. So the
cat sighed, and said that it was very
sad, and the kittens wept more than
ever. But Spottie caught sight of

A rich feast.--
A r f----.

A rich feast.


Blackie's tail, which was moving at
the point, and she could not help
making a sudden dart at it. Then
she remembered that it was wrong to
play when she was naughty; so she
sat down and cried again, wiping her
eyes with the end of her tail, a
looking very wretched.
"Oh, forgive us, dear mother!"
said Blackie, "and we will, try to be-
have better in future."
"Forgive us, dear mother!" said
Whitie, "and I will never do any-
thing wicked again."
Forgive us, dear mother!" cried
Spottie, "and I'll try all I can to
remember not to be naughty. I'll


never dirty your ball of worsted by
chasing it, and I'll never upset the
tea-kettle, and I'll never scratch
Blackie's face even in fun, and I'll
never grow wild with delight or an-
noy you any more, and I'll never-
,ieLver-oh dear! boo-hoo! I wish
lp\\vere only good!" and little Spottie
put both her paws up to her eyes,
and rubbed her face with the soiled
mittens, and cried as if her very heart
would break.
"Ah yes, forgive us! do forgive
us this time!" they all cried out to-
"I forgive you, my children; but
you have indeed made me very mis-


erable ;" and the cat shook her head
mournfully, and sobbed as she went
on with her knitting. Now, while
she lifted her paw to wipe awav
tear, and put her spectacles right,
let fall the ball of worsted, which
rolled slowly along the floor. In an
instant the three kittens forgot their
sorrow, rushed after the ball-Spottie
first, as usual-and knocked over
small table on which stood a beauti-
ful china bowl and a glass of flowers,
which were smashed to atoms. With
a general yell they all fled out of the
room in extreme terror.

After this the kittens began to

Naughty Kittens,


think that they might try to wash
their mittens; so

The three little kittens washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry.
"Oh! mother dear,
Do you not hear
That we have washed our mittens?"

These kittens were very deter-
mined little creatures, and when they
had once made up their minds that
a thing ought to be done, they always
did it, in spite of all difficulties; so
they resolved to wash the mittens.
Whitie laughed at their troubles, and
Blackie laughed too; but as the
soap-suds made his eyes smart and
water very.much, it just seemed as if
he were crying and laughing at the


same time; and this looked so funny
that Whitie laughed till she nearly
cried, and let her mittens fall into the
water two or three times.
They washed them in a small tub;
and much difficulty they had in doing
it. The sides of the tub were so
high that Blackie and Whitie were
scarcely able to reach the water, and
Spottie was so small that she had to
climb up and stand on the edge of it
while she put down her paws to
wash. Then Whitie said she
couldn't hold the soap, it was so slip-
pery; and some more suds went into
Blackie's eyes, and made him nearly
blind; and the soap was lost in the


water two or three times, and they
had great difficulty in finding it again.
All this time Spottie was sitting on
the edge of the tub, washing very
busily, when Blackie said, "Take
care, Spottie; you will fall in if you
don't mind."
"No fear!" cried Spottie; but,
just as she said so, down she went,
head first and tail last; and when she
recovered her feet again, and stoodc
up on her hind legs, her eyes staring,
with fright, and her mouth gasping
for breath, she looked so funny,
covered all over with soap-suds, that
the other kittens laughed very much
and then cried; after which they


pulled her out of the tub. But this
was no easy thing to do. And then
when they did get her out, they
rubbed her with a towel, and held
her up to the fire to dry; but they
were so stupid that they singed the
point of her tail very badly! How-
ever, they got her dried at last, and
dried their mittens also.
"Now, darling," said Whitie, giv-
ing Spottie a kiss, do you feel bet-
ter ? are you quite dry ?"
Of course she is," said Blackie,
pulling her tail slyly.
When all was ready, they took the
mittens in their paws and ran joy-
fully with them to the cat, who was


still at her knitting, looking very sad
indeed. When she saw what they
had done, she exclaimed with pleasure
and surprise,-

"Washed your mittens !
Oh you're good kittens;
But I smell a rat close by.
Hush! hush! mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow !
We smell a rat close by.
Mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow, mee-a-ow!"

As she spoke, a rat sprang out of
its hole, rushed across the room,
along the passage, and out into the
garden. The cat instantly threw
down her knitting, tossed her spec-
tacles into the fire, jumped over the
heads of her children, and dashed
away in chase of the rat, while the

.I '
k ii, I

Spottie falls into the washing-tub.


three little kittens dropped their mit-
tens and followed her as fast as their
little legs would wag, mee-a-owing
wildly as they went, and tumbling
over the window in their haste, so
that Spottie fell flat on her back, and
White fell into Spottie's arms, and
Blackie fell on the top of them both.
But they soon scrambled up again,
and then they saw the cat standing
at the mouth of a hole into which the
rat had run.
They all stood watching the hole
for a good long time, for they knew
that the rat did not live there, and
that it was not a comfortable hole at
all, being not very deep and rather


damp, so that it was likely the rat
would catch cold if it remained long
there. The cat stood near the hole,
to be ready to pounce on the rat the.
moment it should show its nose; and
he three kittens stood a little way
behind her, looking on anxiously.
I wish very much," said Whitie,
"that we could catch a rat. I think
the three of us might manage to kill
it easily.
"Oh!" whispered Spottie, as her
eyes opened wide with surprise, "just
look at mamma's tail !-such a size!"
"Just look at your own," said
Blackie; "it's not much less."
Spottie turned her head to look at


it, but at that moment the rat rushed
out of the hole, and her mother flew
off after it. The kittens immediately
followed, and away they went over
fields and hedges and ditches, with
their eyes flashing, their tails up, and
their hair on end.
Now, the chase which had begun
thus furiously was a much more
adventurous one than the cat and
kittens had expected it would be.
Blackie thought they could catch
the rat at once; Spottie and Whitie
hoped that they might catch it very
soon; but their mother knew better.
She had often chased rats before,
and knew that they were very nimble,


Ia I, :

1 ,

N __ -

A regular chase.


and that when overtaken they were
extremely fierce, so that even terrier
dogs were sometimes afraid of them.
Mamma," gasped Spottie as they
rushed along, do rats bite ?"
"Yes, my love, they do. Once I
caught a rat by the tail, and it seized
me by the nose and almost bit it off"
"Almost bit it off, mamma !4 ex-
claimed Spottie in horror; wis it
very painful ?"
"Yes, very. Oh! so painful that
I almost fainted away; but it hap-
pened to be supper time, and I
thought it best to put off the fainting
till after supper."
"I wish I could catch a rat," cried


Blackie, with a swaggering flourish
of his tail.
"Take care, foolish boy," ex-
claimed the cat; "you will fall into
that puddle. There! I told you
[ so !

As sle spoke Blackie tripped over
a stone and fell into a large puddle
of water which lay in the middle of
the road. Fortunately it was not
deep, and he scrambled out without
much difficulty, to the joy of his
sisters, who really thought he would
have been drowned; but the cat was
so eager in pursuit of the rat that she
paid no attention to her son.
Come on !" mewed Spottie.


Quick!" fuffed Whitie.
Hooray!" yelled Blackie; and
away he went again as fierce as ever,
without taking time to dry himself.
Now, the rat was a very large and
desperate one. Many a time had it
been chased before by cats and dogs
and boys, so that it was not easily
frightened. It was an uncommonly
wise rat too, and knew exactly how
to lead its enemies into danger. It
was familiar with all the by-ways of
the villages around its dwelling, and
was better acquainted with the wind-
ings and turnings and chokings of all
the drains than the sanitary commis-
sioner of the district. Thus it came


to pass that after leading the cat and
its kittens across several fields, and
round a number of hay-stacks, and
down into a ditch or two, it flew past
the mouth of an open sewer.
Where away ?" asked an old gray
rat with white whiskers which sat at
the entrance of the sewer.
There's a cat with three kittens
after me," exclaimed the rat.
"Turn in here, then, and give
them the slip," said the old rat.
No. I want to kill them. I
shall lead them to their doom!"
shrieked the other rat, viciously, as it
dashed away.
"I wonder what their doom is,"


muttered the old gray rat; but before
it could think that subject out, the
cat and kittens flew past, frightened
it nearly out of its wits, and sent it
squeaking into the sewer!
After that the other rat led its pur-
suers over a wild moor and up a hill
towards a steep precipice, over which
it hoped they would fall; but the cat
knew of this precipice, and warned
her kittens in time.
Keep in a straight line," she
cried, "quite straight, each of you,
one behind the other."
The kittens were very obedient,
and it was fortunate that they were
so at this time. Blackie ran immedi-


ately behind his mother, and Spottie
went behind Blackie, and Whitie be-
hind Spottie. Thus it came to pass
that when the rat ran to the edge of
the precipice, and turned sharply to
one side, hoping to see his enemies
fly over, the cat stopped short;
Blackie ran against her, Spottie ran
against Blackie, and Whitie ran
against them all. Seeing this, the
rat made off again as fast as ever in
another direction; and the cat and
kittens, gathering themselves up, fol-
lowed at the top of their speed.
The rat now began to find that his
enemies were not to be got rid of so
easily as he had expected. Serious


thoughts as to the possibility of his
being overtaken and killed began to
agitate his breast, and he cast about
in his mind as to the best way of
escaping. Crossing a ridge of coun-
try, he saw a village lying in a hollow
surrounded by beautiful trees, and,
as people sometimes express it,
" smiling in the sunshine."
I'll give them the slip here,"
thought the rat.
I'll catch him here," thought the
Oh, what fun !" thought Blackie.
"How charming!" thought Spottie.
Hooray!" mewed Whitie.
But scarcely had Whitie said this


when they all saw a hen rush into
the middle of the road, with her
feathers on end and her eyes glaring.
"Oh dear!" cried Whitie, bounc-
ing up to her mother's side, "what's
the matter with her ?"
She has a family!" gasped the
None the worse for that," thought
Blackie, but he said nothing.
The rat darted to one side and
passed the hen with chickens.
I must not take my eye off the
rat for a moment," cried the cat in
an anxious tone. Scatter, my chil-
dren, and you shall be safe."
The three little kittens were much


surprised and a good deal alarmed,
because they did not quite understand
what their mother meant, and the
hen looked very awful; but being
obedient creatures, they at once did
what they were told, and scattered."
Blackie flew to the right, Spottie
dashed to the left, and Whitie jumped
right over the hen's head, alighted in
the midst of the horrified chickens, and
rushed on screaming with wild alarm.
"Well done !" cried the cat.
"Now, my darlings, draw together
again and keep close to me. Don't
let your spirits get the better of you.
Men sometimes do that, and they
often suffer for it; but cats have more


wisdom than many men, so we must
take care. I see the rat making for
yonder farm, down by the dog-kennel
there. If it get beyond the fence
we shall never catch it, because the
country there is full of rat holes.
Therefore we must kill it on this
side of the fence, or-- die in te
attempt! Never mind the dog.
Scatter when you come near him."
The cat said all this with a fierce
expression, yet with such an air of
being ready to sacrifice her life in
attempting to do her duty that the
three kittens felt quite elevated, and
their small bosoms were agitated with
a heroic resolve to "do or die."


Now's the day !" mewed Blackie.
"And now's the hour!" growled
Spottie with deep-toned enthusiasm.
Death or victory!" squeaked
In this frame of mind and body
they reached the dog-kennel.
Now, the dog that dwelt there
was a remarkably fierce one. It was
a sort of half mastiff half bull-dog;-
not that it had the head of the one
and the tail of the other, but it had
the appearance of each and the spirit
of both mixed up in its great shaggy
When the cat and kittens drew
near the kennel, this awful monster


flew out. Fortunately, it was held
fast by a strong chain.
Scatter !" cried the cat.
Away went the obedient three-
Blackie to the right, and Spottie to
the left. Whitie, feeling somewhat
proud of having leaped over the head
of the hen, attempted to do the same
over the head of the dog; but she
missed her mark, and, horrible to
relate, jumped right into the dog's
blood-red jaws!
The caterwaul that this drew from
her mother was enough to have ter-
rified the fiercest dog, but it did not
terrify the dog into whose mouth
Whitie had plunged. Fortunately,


however, for the poor little kitten and
her relations, Whitie's tail happened
to whisk round when she struck
against the dog's back teeth, and the
point of it went down his throat and
tickled him, so that he was seized
with a violent fit of coughing, and
coughed the kitten right out of his
mouth !
To recover her legs and resume
her mad career was the work of a
moment with Whitie. In two
seconds more she was galloping be-
side her mother, a little ruffled in the
fur, no doubt, but not otherwise the
worse for the adventure.
Seeing this, they all redoubled


their efforts to catch the rat, but they
failed. The delay caused by the dog
gave the rat time to get to the other
side of the fence, where a large cave
or hole was seen not many yards dis-
tant. Into this hole it rushed madly.
Into the same hole plunged the cat
and the three little kittens. The last
seen of them was their three tails
twirling in the dark entrance of the
cavern as they disappeared. So the
cat and the rat and the three little
kittens never were heard of more!



University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs