And every night when the servant went to bed he used to call out: "Good-night, missus; good-night, master; Good-night, Charles, Sam, John."
Now after a time the miller's wife died, and, soon after, the miller, leaving only the mill, the donkey, and the cat. And Charles, as the eldest, took the mill, and Sam took the donkey and went off with it, and John was left with only the cat.
Now how do you think the cat used to help John to live? She used to take a bag with a string around the top and place it with some cheese in the bushes, and when a hare or a partridge would come and try to get the piece of cheese -- snap! Miss Puss would draw the string and there was the hare or partridge for Master Jack to eat.
One day two hares happened to rush into the bag at the same time. So the cat, after giving one to Jack, took the other and went with it to the king's palace. And when she came outside the palace gate she cried out, "Miaou."
The sentry at the gate came to see what was the matter. Miss Puss gave him the hare with a bow and said: "Give this to the king with the compliments of the Earl of Cattenborough."
The king liked jugged hare very much and was glad to get such a fine present.
Shortly after this Miss Puss found a gold coin rolling in the dirt. And she went up to the palace and asked the sentry if he would lend her a corn measure. The sentry asked who wanted it.
And Puss said: "My Master, the Earl of Cattenborough."
So the sentry gave her the corn measure. And a little while afterwards she took it back with the gold coin, which she had found, fixed in a crack in the corn measure.
So the king was told that the Earl of Cattenborough measured his gold in a corn measure. When the king heard this he told the sentry that if such a thing happened again he was to deliver a message asking the Earl to come and stop at the palace.
Some time after the cat caught two partridges, and took one of them to the palace.
And when she called out, "Miaou," and presented it to the sentry, in the name of the Earl of Cattenborough, the sentry told her that the king wished to see the Earl at his palace.
So Puss went back to Jack and said to him: "The king desires to see the Earl of Cattenborough at his palace."
"What is that to do with me?" said Jack.
"Oh, you can be the Earl of Cattenborough if you like. I'll help you."
"But I have no clothes, and they'll soon find out what I am when I talk."
"As for that," said Miss Puss, "I'll get you proper clothes if you do what I tell you; and when you come to the palace I will see that you do not make any mistakes."
So next day she told Jack to take off his clothes and hide them under a big stone and dip himself into the river.
And while he was doing this she went up to the palace gate and said: "Miaou, miaou, miaou!"
And when the sentry came to the gate she said: "My Master, the Earl of Cattenborough, has been robbed of all he possessed, even of his clothes, and he is hiding in the bramble bush by the side of the river. What is to be done? What is to be done?"
The sentry went and told the king. And the king gave orders that a suitable suit of clothes, worthy of an Earl, should be sent to Master Jack, who soon put them on and went to the king's palace accompanied by Puss. When they got there they were introduced into the chamber of the king, who thanked Jack for his kind presents.
Miss Puss stood forward and said: "My Master, the Earl of Cattenborough, desires to state to your Majesty that there is no need of any thanks for such trifles."
The king thought it was very grand of Jack not to speak directly to him, and summoned his lord chamberlain, and from that time onward only spoke through him.
Thus, when they sat down to dinner with the queen and the princess, the king would say to his chamberlain, "Will the Earl of Cattenborough take a potato?"
Whereupon Miss Puss would bow and say: "The Earl of Cattenborough thanks his Majesty and would be glad to partake of a potato."
The king was so much struck by Jack's riches and grandeur, and the princess was so pleased with his good looks and fine dress that it was determined that he should marry the princess.
But the king thought he would try and see if he were really so nobly born and bred as he seemed. So he told his servants to put a mean truckle bed in the room in which Jack was to sleep, knowing that no noble would put up with such a thing.
When Miss Puss saw this bed she at once guessed what was up. And when Jack began to undress to get into bed, she made him stop, and called the attendants to say that he could not sleep in such a bed.
So they took him into another bedroom, where there was a fine four-poster with a dais, and everything worthy of a noble to sleep upon. Then the king became sure that Jack was a real noble, and married him soon to his daughter the princess.
After the wedding feast was over the king told Jack that he and the queen and the princess would come with him to his castle of Cattenborough, and Jack did not know what to do. But Miss Puss told him it would be all right if he only didn't speak much while on the journey. And that suited Jack very well.
So they all set out in a carriage with four horses, and with the king's life-guards riding around it.
But Miss Puss ran on in front of the carriage, and when she came to a field where men were mowing down the hay she pointed to the life-guards riding along, and said: "Men, if you do not say that this field belongs to the Earl of Cattenborough those soldiers will cut you to pieces with their swords."
So when the carriage came along the king called one of the men to the side of it and said, "Whose is this field?"
And the man said, "It belongs to the Earl of Cattenborough."
And the king turned to his son-in-law and said, "I did not know that you had estates so near us."
And Jack said, "I had forgotten it myself."
And this only confirmed the king in his idea about Jack's great wealth.
A little farther on there was another great field in which men were raking hay. And Miss Puss spoke to them as before. So, when the carriage came up, they also declared that this field belonged to the Earl of Cattenborough. And so it went on through the whole drive.
Then the king said, "Let us now go to your castle."
Then Jack looked at Miss Puss, and she said: "If your Majesty will but wait an hour I will go on before and order the castle to be made ready for you."
With that she jumped away and went to the castle of a great ogre and asked to see him.
When she came into his presence she said: " I have come to give you warning. The king with all his army is coming to the castle and will batter its walls down and kill you if he finds you here."
"What shall I do? What shall I do?" said the ogre.
"Is there no place where you can hide yourself?"
"I am too big to hide," said the ogre, but my mother gave me a powder, and when I take that I can make myself as small as I like."
"Well, why not take it now?" said the cat.
And with that he took the powder and shrunk into a little body no bigger than a mouse. And thereupon Miss Puss jumped upon him and ate him all up, and then went down into the great yard of the castle and told the guards that it now belonged to her Master the Earl of Cattenborough. Then she ordered them to open the gates and let in the king's carriage, which came along just then.
The king was delighted to find what a fine castle his son-in-law possessed, and left his daughter the princess with him at the castle while he drove back to his own palace. And Jack and the princess lived happily in the castle.
But one day Miss Puss felt very ill and lay down as if dead, and the chamberlain of the castle went to Jack and said: "My lord, your cat is dead."
And Jack said: "Well, throw her out on the dunghill."
But Miss Puss, when she heard it, called out: "Had you not better throw me into the mill stream?"
And Jack remembered where he had come from and was frightened that the cat would say. So he ordered the physician of the castle to attend to her, and ever after gave her whatever she wanted.
And when the king died he succeeded him, and that was the end of the Earl of Cattenborough.
When the miller died the three sons divided the inheritance: The oldest received the mill, the second the donkey, and the third the cat, for nothing else was left for him.
Sadly he said to himself, "I got the worst of everything. My oldest brother can grind grain, my second one can ride his donkey, but what can I do with the cat? If I have a pair of fur gloves made from his pelt, then there'll be nothing left."
"Listen," said the cat, who had understood everything that he had said. "Don't kill me just to get a pair of inferior gloves from my pelt. Instead, have a pair of boots made for me so that I can go out and been seen by the people. Then I can come to your aid."
The miller's son was amazed that the cat could thusly speak. Now the cobbler was just passing by, so he called him in and had him measure the cat for a pair of boots. When they were finished the cat pulled them on, took a sack with a some grain in the bottom and a string with which it could be tied shut, threw it over his shoulder, and walked out the door on two legs, just like a human.
The ruler in the land at that time was a king who loved partridges. However, none were to be had. The woods were full of them, but they were so wary that no hunter could get to them. The cat knew this, and worked out a solution. Arriving in the woods he opened the sack, spread out the grain inside it, then laid the string in the grass, leading it behind a thicket. Then he hid himself, crept into the thicket and watched.
The partridges soon came by, found the grain, and one after the other hopped into the sack. When a good number were inside, the cat pulled the string shut, ran up and wrung the partridges' necks, then threw the sack over his shoulder and went straightaway to the king's palace.
The guard shouted, "Stop! Where to?"
"To the king," answered the cat.
"Are you crazy? A cat going to the king?"
"Just let him go," said another guard. "The king is often bored. Perhaps the cat can entertain him with his tricks."
The cat approached the king, bowed politely, and said, "My master, Count (and here he said a long and very distinguished name) extends his greetings to his majesty the king and sends him these partridges which he captured with snares."
The king was amazed to see such fine, fat partridges and hardly knew how to contain his joy. He ordered the cat to take as much gold from the treasury as he could carry in his sack, then said, "Take it to you master and thank him many times for his gift."
The poor miller's son was at home sitting at the window with his head in his hands. He had given everything he had for the cat's boots, and now he wondered what he might get in return.
Just then the cat stepped inside, threw the sack from his back, untied the string, and spread the gold out in front of the miller.
"Here is something for the boots. The king sends you his greetings and his thanks."
The miller was delighted with the wealth, although he could not understand where it had come from.
While taking off his boots, the cat explained everything to him, then added, "You now have plenty of money, but that's not enough. Tomorrow I'll pull my boots on again, and you shall become even more wealthy. I told the king that you are a count."
The next day, just as he said he would, the cat, appropriately booted, went hunting again and took the captured game to the king. Thus it continued every day, and every day the cat returned home with more gold. He was now so favored by the king that he was allowed to come and go as he pleased and to prowl around the palace wherever he wanted to.
One time the cat was warming himself by the fire in the king's birchen when the coachman came in cursing, "To the devil with the king and the princess! I wanted to go to the tavern for a drink and some card playing, but now I have to drive them to the lake."
After hearing this, the cat sneaked home and said to his master, "If you want to become a wealthy count, come with me to the lake and go bathing there."
The miller did not know what he should say to this, but he obeyed the cat, went with him to the lake, took off all his clothes, and jumped into the water. The cat picked up the clothes, carried them away, and hid them. He had scarcely done so when the king came riding by.
The cat cried out pitifully, "Oh, your majesty! My master was bathing here in the lake when a thief came and stole his clothes that were lying here on the shore. Now the count cannot come out of the water. If he stays there any longer he will catch a cold and die."
Hearing this, the king came to a stop and sent one of his people back to fetch some of the king's clothes. The count then put on these splendid clothes. Because the king already favored him because of the partridges, he invited him into the royal carriage and spoke to him in familiar terms. The princess had nothing against this, for the count was young and good looking, and she quite liked him.
Now the cat had run on ahead and had arrived at a great meadow where more than a hundred people were making hay.
"Whose meadow is this?" asked the cat.
"It belongs to the great sorcerer."
"Listen, the king will soon come this way, and when he asks whose meadow this is, you must answer, 'It belongs to the count.' If you do not do this, you'll all be killed."
With that the cat went on further, coming to a field of grain so large that no one could see its end. More than two hundred people were there cutting the grain.
"Who owns this grain, you people?"
"Listen, the king will soon come this way, and when he asks whose grain this is, you must answer, 'It belongs to the count.' If you do not do this, you'll all be killed."
Finally the cat came to a magnificent forest. More than three hundred people were there felling the great oak trees and making lumber.
"Who owns this forest, you people?"
"Listen, the king will soon come this way, and when he asks whose forest this is, you must answer, 'It belongs to the count.' If you do not do this, you'll all be killed."
The cat continued on further. Everyone stared at him because he looked so unusual, walking along in boots like a human. And they were afraid of him.
Soon he arrived at the sorcerer's place. He stepped boldly inside and walked up to the sorcerer, who looked at him scornfully.
"What do you want?"
The cat bowed politely and said, "I have heard that you can transform yourself any way that you please. I can well believe that you could transform yourself into an animal such as a dog, a fox, or even a wolf, but it seems to me that to transform yourself into an elephant would be quite impossible. I have come to see if you can do so."
The sorcerer said proudly, "That's nothing for me," and he instantly transformed himself into an elephant.
The cat pretended to be frightened and said, "That is unbelievable and unheard of. I would never have dreamed that you could do this. But even more difficult would be to transform yourself into a small animal, such as a mouse. You are certainly more powerful than any other sorcerer in the world, but that would be too much for you."
The sweet talk turned the sorcerer very friendly, and he said, "Oh yes, my dear little cat, I can do that too," then suddenly he was jumping around in the room as a mouse. The cat ran after him, caught him with one leap, and ate him up.
Meanwhile, the king had ridden along further with the count and the princess, coming to the great meadow.
"Who owns this hay?" he asked.
"The count," they all shouted. "You have a beautiful piece of land here, Lord Count," just as the cat had order them to do.
Then they came to the great field of grain.
"Who owns this grain, you people?"
"The Lord Count. Yes, Lord Count, you have a wonderful farm here!"
Then they came to the forest.
"Who owns this forest, you people?"
"The Lord Count."
The king was all the more amazed, and said, "Lord Count, you must be a very wealthy man. I do not believe that I myself have such a magnificent forest."
Finally they arrived at the palace. The cat was standing on the steps, and when the carriage came to a stop he jumped down, opened the door, and said, "Your majesty, you have arrived at the palace of my master, the count, and this honor will make him happy as long as he lives."
The king climbed out of the carriage and marveled at the magnificent building. It was almost larger and more beautiful than his own castle. The count then led the princess up the stairway and into the main hall, that shimmered with gold and precious stones.
Then the princess and the count were married, and when the king died the count became king with cat-in-boots as his prime minister.
Thus the boy grew up in the cave, and when he came of age, the cat said to him, "You shall marry the king's daughter."
"But I am naked," said the youth. "How can I go before the king!"
"Don't worry, I'll get you some clothes."
Then the cat ran into the woods. She had a little silver whistle. She blew into it once, then hissed, and rustled. At once many birds and wild animals approached. From every bird she took one feather and made from them a robe, which she took to the youth.
Then she led the youth to the animals, saying, "I'm going now to the king. These animals must follow after you. Upon your arrival you are to say, 'Your majesty, the Feather King sends you this gift.'"
Thus the youth went to the castle and said what the cat had told him to say.
When the king saw the many animals, he rejoiced, and said, "This must be a wealthy king!"
The following day the cat sent the youth back with many more animals, instructing him to say, "This is another gift from the Feather King!"
The cat instructed him further: "And when the king is amazed, and says that he would like his daughter to marry such a wealthy king, you are to reply, 'Yes, the Feather King will gladly marry your daughter. In three days he shall come for the wedding ceremony.'"
And that is what happened when the youth returned to the castle. The king was pleased with the new gifts, was very amazed, and said how much he would like his daughter to marry such a wealthy king. The youth replied, as the cat had instructed him, that the Feather King would come in three days to be married.
When the time was up, the cat ran back into the forest and blew three times on the silver whistle, then hissed and rustled three times the way cats do. Then all the birds and wild animals came together, and the cat chose the finest and most colorful feathers, and made a cloak from them. It glittered and sparkled like the starry sky. She gave it to the youth.
This time the cat went with the youth to the king. When they were not far from the castle, she said to the youth, "Now throw away your old feather robe. I will bring you beautiful clothes from the castle. You are to use the new feather robe only for decoration."
With that the cat ran into the castle, and cried out, "Hurry! Bring me some royal clothing at once! The Feather King has fallen into a swamp and needs fresh clothes!"
Then the king brought forth his best clothes, and the cat ran with them to the youth and dressed him. Thus he approached the castle, with all the animals following after him. Upon entering the castle, he put on the new feather robe, which glittered, and sparkled beyond belief. The king and the princess were overjoyed with the wealthy bridegroom.
After the wedding ceremony the king said, "I would like to see your country and your palace. I will go with you."
When the Feather King was seated with his young wife in the carriage, he kept looking at his own beautiful clothes and not at his wife.
The cat noticed this, jumped onto his neck and scratched him once. "Look at your wife!" she whispered. "However, if you forget yourself, and you are asked why you are always looking at your beautiful clothes, just say that at home you have much more beautiful ones."
With that the cat ran on ahead. Soon the Feather King was looking at his beautiful clothes again.
His young wife asked him, "Why are you doing that?"
He answered, "Because at home I have much more beautiful ones."
Soon the cat came to a large flock of sheep. She ran to the shepherd and jumped onto his neck. Crack! She scratched him once and brought blood.
"If anyone asks you to whom this flock belongs, you must answer, 'To the Feather King.' Otherwise I'll come back and scratch you all to pieces."
When the king and the young couple arrived, the king asked the shepherd, "Who owns this wonderful flock of sheep?"
The shepherd said, "They belong to the Feather King," for he did not want to be scratched again.
"Yes, they are mine," said the youth at once, for he saw what the cat had done.
Soon afterwards they came to a large buffalo herd. The cat had already been there. Here too, she had scratched the herdsman, telling him that if he did not say that the herd belonged to the Feather King, she would scratch him to pieces."
When the king asked who owned this fine herd, the herdsman answered, "It belongs to the Feather King," for he did not want to be scratched again.
"Yes, it is mine!" said the youth in the carriage.
The king was amazed and said, "I would never have believed that you are so wealthy!"
They also came to a herd of horses. The cat had been there as well, had scratched the herdsman, telling him when asked who owned the horses he was to say, "The Feather King, of course." Otherwise the cat would scratch him again.
"Yes, they are mine as well!" said the youth in the carriage.
"You must be even more wealthy than I am," said the king. "And at home everything must be even more beautiful than at my castle."
They soon arrived at the sorcerer's palace. Everything was made of gold and silver, crystal and precious stones, and displayed ever so beautifully. The table was set. They seated themselves at once and began to eat. The cat, however, stood at the doorway and kept watch.
The sorcerer suddenly appeared, storming and shouting, "There are robbers in my palace! And seated at my table! Aha! Woe unto you!
The cat was standing in the doorway and would not let him enter. She said, "Are you truly the great sorcerer that everyone says you are? They say that you can transform yourself into animals both large and small."
"There's nothing to that!" said the sorcerer, then at once transformed himself into a lion.
The frightened cat jumped onto the roof.
"That was a good trick!" shouted the cat. "But now I'd like to see if you can transform yourself into a small animal -- into a mouse. There's no way that you can do that.
The sorcerer immediately transformed himself into a mouse, and the cat instantly jumped down from the roof and ripped him to pieces.
She then called the youth out of the hall and said to him, "You no longer need my help. The castle and everything inside it and surrounding it are yours, including the great herds that you have seen. It's all really yours now, for I have killed the sorcerer to whom everything belonged. Now I demand one service from you: Take your sword and cut off my head."
The youth refused to do this, saying, "How could I be so thankless!"
"If you don't do it immediately, I'll scratch out your eyes!"
So he took his sword, and with one blow the cat's head flew off. But behold, in that instant a beautiful woman stood before him.
The youth took her by the arm and led her in to the table, then said, "This is my mother!"
The old king liked the woman very much, and because his first wife had died he took her by the hand and said, "Should we not get married?"
She was not opposed to this, and the celebration lasted eight days. Then the old king returned home with his new wife. The youth remained in the magic castle with the princess and was richer than seven kings.
There was a miller who was so proud that had he stepped on an egg he would not have broken it.
There was a time when the mill was in full work, but once as he was tired of his mill-work he said, "May God take me out of this mill!"
Now, this miller had an auger, a saw, and an adze, and he set off over seven times seven countries, and never found a mill. So his wish was fulfilled. On he went, roaming about, till at last he found on the bank of the Gagy, below Martonos, a tumble-down mill, which was covered with nettles. Here he began to build, and he worked, and by the time the mill was finished all his stockings were worn into holes and his garments all tattered and torn. He then stood expecting people to come and have their flour ground; but no one ever came.
One day the twelve huntsmen of the king were chasing a fox; and it came to where the miller was, and said to him: "Hide me, miller, and you shall be rewarded for your kindness."
"Where shall I hide you," said the miller, "seeing that I possess nothing but the clothes I stand in?"
"There is an old torn sack lying beside that trough," replied the fox. "Throw it over me, and, when the dogs come, drive them away with your broom."
When the huntsmen came they asked the miller if he had seen a fox pass that way.
"How could I have seen it; for, behold, I have nothing but the clothes I stand in?"
With that the huntsmen left, and in a little while the fox came out and said, "Miller, I thank you for your kindness; for you have preserved me, and saved my life. I am anxious to do you a good turn if I can. Tell me, do you want to get married?"
"My dear little fox," said the miller, "if I could get a wife, who would come here of her own free will, I don't say that I would not -- indeed, there is no other way of my getting one; for I can't go among the spinning-girls in these clothes."
The fox took leave of the miller, and, in less than a quarter of an hour, he returned with a piece of copper in his mouth. "Here you are, miller," said he. "Put this away, you will want it ere long."
The miller put it away, and the fox departed; but, before long, he came back with a lump of gold in his mouth. "Put this away, also," said he to the miller, "as you will need it before long."
"And now," said the fox, "wouldn't you like to get married?"
"Well, my dear little fox," said the miller, "I am quite willing to do so at any moment, as that is my special desire."
The fox vanished again, but soon returned with a lump of diamond in his mouth. "Well, miller," said the fox, "I will not ask you any more to get married; I will get you a wife myself. And now give me that piece of copper I gave you."
Then, taking it in his mouth, the fox started off over seven times seven countries, and travelled till he came to King Yellow Hammer's.
"Good day, most gracious King Yellow Hammer," said the fox. "My life and death are in your majesty's hands. I have heard that you have an unmarried daughter. I am a messenger from Prince Csihan, who has sent me to ask for your daughter as his wife."
"I will give her with pleasure, my dear little fox," replied King Yellow Hammer. "I will not refuse her; on the contrary, I give her with great pleasure; but I would do so more willingly if I saw to whom she is to be married -- even as it is, I will not refuse her."
The fox accepted the king's proposal, and they fixed a day upon which they would fetch the lady.
"Very well," said the fox; and, taking leave of the king, set off with the ring to the miller.
''Now then, miller," said the fox, "you are no longer a miller, but Prince Csihan, and on a certain day and hour you must be ready to start. But, first of all, give me that lump of gold I gave you that I may take it to His Majesty King Yellow Hammer, so that he may not think you are a nobody."
The fox then started off to the king. "Good day, most gracious king, my father. Prince Csihan has sent this lump of gold to my father the king that he may spend it in preparing for the wedding, and that he might change it, as Prince Csihan has no smaller change, his gold all being in lumps like this."
"Well," reasoned King Yellow Hammer, "I am not sending my daughter to a bad sort of place, for although I am a king I have no such lumps of gold lying about in my palace."
The fox then returned home to Prince Csihan.
"Now then, Prince Csihan," said he, "I have arrived safely, you see. Prepare yourself to start tomorrow."
Next morning he appeared before Prince Csihan. "Are you ready?" asked he.
"Oh! yes, I am ready; I can start at any moment, as I got ready long ago."
With this they started over seven times seven lands.
As they passed a hedge the fox said, "Prince Csihan, do you see that splendid castle?"
"How could I help seeing it, my dear little fox."
"Well," replied the fox, "in that castle dwells your wife."
On they went, when suddenly the fox said, "Take off the clothes you have on, let us put them into this hollow tree, and then burn them, so that we may get rid of them."
"You are right, we won't have them, nor any like them."
Then said the fox, "Prince Csihan, go into the river and take a bath."
Having done so the prince said, "Now I've done."
"All right," said the fox; "go and sit in the forest until I go into the king's presence."
The fox set off and arrived at King Yellow Hammer's castle.
"Alas! my gracious king, my life and my death are in thy hands. I started with Prince Csihan with three loaded wagons and a carriage and six horses, and I've just managed to get the prince naked out of the water."
The king raised his hands in despair, exclaiming, "Where hast thou left my dear son-in-law, little fox?"
"Most gracious king, I left him in such-and-such a place in the forest."
The king at once ordered four horses to be put to a carriage, and then looked up the robes he wore in his younger days and ordered them to be put in the carriage; the coachman and footman to take their places, the fox sitting on the box. When they arrived at the forest the fox got down, and the footman, carrying the clothes upon his arm, took them to Prince Csihan.
Then said the fox to the servant, "Don't you dress the prince, he will do it more becomingly himself."
He then made Prince Csihan arise, and said, "Come here, Prince Csihan, don't stare at yourself too much when you get dressed in these clothes, else the king might think you were not used to such robes."
Prince Csihan got dressed, and drove off to the king.
When they arrived, King Yellow Hammer took his son-in-law in his arms and said, "Thanks be to God, my dear future son-in-law, for that he has preserved thee from the great waters; and now let us send for the clergyman and let the marriage take place."
The grand ceremony over, they remained at the court of the king.
One day, a month or so after they were married, the princess said to Prince Csihan, "My dear treasure, don't you think it would be as well to go and see your realm?"
Prince Csihan left the room in great sorrow, and went towards the stables in great trouble-to get ready for the journey he could no longer postpone. Here he met the fox lolling about. As the prince came his tears rolled down upon the straw.
"Hollo! Prince Csihan, what's the matter?" cried the fox.
"Quite enough," was the reply. "My dear wife insists upon going to see my home."
"All right," said the fox; "prepare yourself, Prince Csihan, and we will go."
The prince went off to his castle and said, "Dear wife, get ready; we will start at once."
The king ordered out a carriage and six, and three wagons loaded with treasure and money, so that they might have all they needed. So they started off.
Then said the fox, "Now, Prince Csihan, wherever I go you must follow."
So they went over seven times seven countries. As they travelled they met a herd of oxen. "Now, herdsmen," said the fox, "if you won't say that this herd belongs to the Vasfogu Bába, but to Prince Csihan, you shall have a handsome present."
With this the fox left them, and ran straight to the Vasfogu Bába. "Good day, my mother," said he.
"Welcome, my son," replied she. "It's a good thing for you that you called me your mother, else I would have crushed your bones smaller than poppy-seed."
"Alas! my mother," said the fox, "don't let us waste our time talking such nonsense, the French are coming!"
"Oh! my dear son, hide me away somewhere!" cried the old woman.
"I know of a bottomless lake," thought the fox; and he took her and left her on the bank, saying, "Now, my dear old mother, wash your feet here until I return."
The fox then left the Vasfogu Bába, and went to Prince Csihan, whom he found standing in the same place where he left him.
He began to swear and rave at him fearfully. "Why didn't you drive on after me? come along at once."
They arrived at the Vasfogu's great castle, and took possession of a suite of apartments. Here they found everything the heart could wish for, and at night all went to bed in peace.
Suddenly the fox remembered that the Vasfogu Bába had no proper abode yet, and set off to her. "I hear, my dear son," said she, "that the horses with their bells have arrived; take me away to another place."
The fox crept up behind her, gave her a push, and she fell into the bottomless lake, and was drowned, leaving all her vast property to Prince Csihan.
"You were born under a lucky star, my prince," said the fox, when he returned; "for see I have placed you in possession of all this great wealth."
In his joy the prince gave a great feast to celebrate his coming into his property, so that the people from Bánczida to Zsukhajna were feasted royally, but he gave them no drink.
"Now," said the fox to himself, "after all this feasting I will sham illness, and see what treatment I shall receive at his hands in return for all my kindness to him."
So Mr. Fox became dreadfully ill, he moaned and groaned so fearfully that the neighbors made complaint to the prince.
"Seize him," said the prince, "and pitch him out on the dunghill."
So the poor fox was thrown out on the dunghill.
One day Prince Csihan was passing that way. "You a prince!" muttered the fox; "you are nothing else but a miller; would you like to be a house-holder such as you were at the nettle-mill?"
The prince was terrified by this speech of the fox, so terrified that he nearly fainted.
"Oh! dear little fox, do not do that," cried the prince, "and I promise you on my royal word that I will give you the same food as I have, and that so long as I live you shall be my dearest friend and you shall be honored as my greatest benefactor."
He then ordered the fox to be taken to the castle, and to sit at the royal table, nor did he ever forget him again. So they lived happily ever after, and do yet, if they are not dead. May they be your guests tomorrow!
This peasant and his wife lived in a state of constant strife with each other, and you might have been sure, that if the old man desired one thing, the old woman always desired another.
It happened one day that the old woman had boiled some porridge for supper, and when it was ready, and each had received a share, the old man would scrape the pot. This the old woman opposed with all her might, asserting that the right of scraping belonged to her, and her only. Hence a desperate quarrel ensued, neither being willing to yield to the other. The end was, that the old woman snatched up the pot and the ladle and ran off, the old man with a whip following close at her heels. And away they went over hill and dale, the old woman first, and the old man close behind her; but our history does not inform us which of the two finally obtained the scraping of the pot.
When a considerable time had elapsed, and no tidings were heard of their parents, the children had no alternative but to go out into the wide world and seek their fortune. So they resolved on leaving their habitation, and dividing their inheritance. But, as it generally happens, the division was a mighty difficult affair; there being nothing to divide save the cow and the cat, and both being desirous of having the cow.
While they were discussing the point, the cat, with a most insinuating mien, approaching the sister, gently rubbed her knee, and mewed: "Take me, take me."
So, as the boy would not let go the cow, the girl gave up her pretension and contented herself with the cat. They then parted from each other, the boy with the cow going his way, and the girl with her cat wandering through the wood; but of her and her companion's adventures nothing has been related to me, until they came to a spacious and splendid palace, which lay at some distance before them.
While both travelers were on their way to the beautiful palace, the cat began to converse with his mistress, and said: "If you will follow my advice, it shall bring you luck."
The girl, who placed great confidence in her companion's prudence, promised to follow his directions. The cat thereupon desired her to take off her old garments, and climb up into a high tree, while he would go to the palace and say, that there was a princess, who had been attacked by robbers and stripped both of property and clothes. The girl did accordingly, threw off her old rags and placed herself in the tree. The cat then went; but the girl sat in a great fright, as to how the matter would turn out.
When the king, who ruled the land, was informed that a foreign princess had suffered such violence, he was exceedingly troubled, and sent his servants to invite her to the palace. The young girl was now abundantly supplied with costly attire, and whatever else she required, and accompanied the royal messengers.
On arriving at the palace, all were struck with her beauty and courteous manners; but the king's son paid her the most marked homage, and declared that he could not live without her. The queen, however, had her suspicions, and asked the beautiful princess where her residence was.
The girl answered as she had been instructed by the cat: "I dwell very far from here, in a castle called Cattenburg."
Still the old queen was not satisfied, but resolved with herself to ascertain whether the strange damsel were really a king's daughter or not. For this purpose she went to the guest-chamber, and made ready a bed for the peasant girl with soft silken bolsters, but laid secretly a bean under the sheet; "Because," thought she, " if she is a princess, she cannot fail to notice it."
The young girl was then conducted to her apartment with great state. But the cat had observed the queen's stratagem, and apprized his mistress of it. In the morning, the old queen entered, and inquired how her guest had passed the night.
The girl answered as the cat had instructed her: "All, yes, I have slept, for I was very weary after my journey; but it seemed as if I had a large mountain under me. I slept much better in my bed at Cattenburg."
The queen now thought that the damsel must have been delicately bred; yet resolved on making one more trial.
On the following evening the queen went again to the guest-chamber, and having prepared the peasant girl's bed as before, laid some peas under the first pillow; and when it was morning, entered and inquired of her guest how she had slept. But, following the cat's instructions, she answered: "Ah, yes, I have slept, for I was very tired; but it seemed as if I had large stones under me. I slept much better in my bed at Cattenburg."
The old queen now thought that she had well stood the trial, yet could not entirely dismiss her suspicions, and therefore determined on a third attempt, for the purpose of finding out whether the strange damsel really were of such high birth as she pretended to be.
When the third evening came, the queen went again to the guest-chamber, and, having prepared the bed as before, laid a straw under the second pillow; and when the queen came in the morning and inquired how she had slept, she again answered as the cat had instructed: "Ah, yes, I have slept; for I was very tired; but it seemed as if I had a large tree under me. I was much better served at Cattenburg."
The queen now found that there was no sure way of arriving at the truth in this manner, and therefore resolved on keeping watch how the strange damsel conducted herself in other respects.
On the following day the queen sent to her guest a costly dress, embroidered with silk, and with a very, very long train, such as were worn by women of high rank. The peasant girl thanked her for the present, and thought no more about it; but the cat, that was close at her elbow, apprized his mistress that the old queen would put her to another trial. When some time had passed, the queen sent to inquire whether the princess would accompany her on a walk. The peasant girl consented, and they set out. On entering a garden, the court ladies were very fearful lest they should soil their dresses, as it had rained during the night. But the strange damsel continued walking, with out heeding whether her long train was being dragged through the mud or not.
Whereupon the queen said: "My dear princess, take care of your dress."
To which the peasant girl proudly answered: "Oh, there must be more dresses to be had here besides this. I had much better when I was in my castle at Cattenburg."
Now the old queen could not think otherwise than that the damsel was accustomed to wear silk-embroidered garments, and thence concluded that she must be a king's daughter; so could no longer entertain any objection to her son's marriage, to which the peasant girl also gave her consent.
It happened one day, as the prince and his beloved were sitting conversing together, that the damsel, on looking through the window, saw her parents come running out of the wood, the old woman first with the pot, and the old man close at her heels with the ladle. At the sight the girl could not contain herself, but burst out into a loud laugh.
On the prince inquiring why she laughed so heartily, she said, as the cat had instructed her: "I cannot help laughing when I think that your palace stands on stone pillars, while mine stands on golden ones."
When the prince heard this he was greatly surprised, and said: "Your thoughts are always dwelling on the beautiful Cattenburg, and you seem to think that all things are better there than with us. We will go and see your splendid palace, let the distance be ever so great."
At this the peasant's daughter was so alarmed that she would willingly have sunk into the earth, knowing well that she had not a house, much less a palace. But there being no remedy, she put a good face on the matter, saying that she would consider on what day they should commence their journey.
When she found herself alone, she gave free vent to her trouble, and wept bitterly; for she thought of all the disgrace that would fall on her for her deceit and falsehood. While she thus sat and wept, in walked the sagacious cat, rubbed himself against her knee, and inquired the cause of her sorrow.
"I may well be sorrowful," answered the peasant's daughter; "for the king's son says that we shall go to Cattenburg; so now I am like to pay dearly for having followed thy counsel."
But the cat bade her be of good cheer, and added, that he would so manage matters, that everything should turn out better than she could imagine; at the same time telling her that the sooner they set out the better. Having had already so many proofs of the cat's wisdom, she followed his instructions, though this time with a heavy heart; for she could not free herself from the apprehension that their journey would have an unfortunate termination.
Early on the following morning, the king's son ordered chariots and drivers, and everything besides which he thought necessary for their long journey to Cattenburg. The train then set out. The prince and his betrothed went first in a gilded chariot, attended by a numerous body of knights and squires; while the cat ran foremost of all to show them the way.
After travelling for some time, the cat perceived some goatherds driving to the field a large flock of most beautiful goats; so going up to the men, he greeted them courteously, saying: "Good day, goatherds! When the king's son rides by and inquires to whom those fine goats belong, you must say they belong to the young princess at Cattenburg, who rides by the prince's side. If you do so, you shall be well rewarded; but if not, I will tear you in pieces."
On hearing this the goatherds were much surprised, but promised to obey the cat's bidding. He then pursued his way. Shortly after came the king's son riding with all his train. On seeing such beautiful goats feeding in the field, he stopped his chariot, and inquired of the herdsmen to whom they belonged.
They answered, as the cat had instructed them: "They belong to the young princess at Cattenburg, who rides by your side."
At this the king's son wondered greatly, and thought that his betrothed must be a powerful princess; and the peasant girl was not a little glad at heart, and thought that she was not the losing party, when she divided the inheritance with her brother.
They now continued their journey, the cat running foremost. After travelling for some time they came to where a number of persons were making hay in a pleasant field.
These the cat saluted very courteously, saying as before: "Good day, good people! When the king's son comes by and inquires to whom this beautiful meadow belongs, you must answer that it belongs to the princess at Cattenburg, who rides by the prince's side. If you do so, you shall be well rewarded; but if you do not do as I have said, I will tear you to atoms."
When the men heard this they were greatly surprised, and promised to say what the cat desired. The cat then ran on as before. Shortly after came the king's son in his chariot with his whole retinue. On seeing the fertile fields and the number of people, he caused his chariot to stop, and inquired who was the owner of the land.
The men, following the cat's instructions, answered: "The fields belong to the young princess at Cattenburg, who rides by your side."
The king's son was now yet more surprised, and thought that his bride must be immensely rich, seeing that she owned such beautiful hay-fields.
Resuming their journey, and preceded by the cat, they approached at length a very extensive corn-field, which swarmed with men and women, all busily employed in reaping. Here the cat again ran forth, enjoining and threatening as on the former occasions; so that when the prince came by and inquired to whom the fields belonged, he received an answer similar to the foregoing. It was now late in the evening, and the prince stopped with his attendants for the purpose of resting during the night.
But the cat took no rest, but ran hastily forwards, until he saw a beautiful castle with its towers and battlements, and supported by golden pillars. This splendid palace belonged to a fierce giant, who owned the entire neighboring country; but was at that time absent from home. The cat therefore passed through the castle gate, and transformed himself into a large loaf; then stationed himself in the key-hole, and awaited the giant's return. Early in the morning, before the dawn, the frightful giant, who was so huge and heavy that the earth shook under him as he walked, came jogging out of the forest. When he came to the castle gate, he could not open it, because of the great loaf that stuck in the key-hole.
Thereupon he became exceedingly angry, and cried: " Unlock! unlock!"
To which the cat answered: "Just wait a little, little moment, while I tell my story:
"First they kneaded me as if they would knead me to death.""Unlock! unlock!" cried the giant again; but the cat answered as before: "Just wait a little, little moment, while I tell my story:
"First they kneaded me as if they would knead me to death;"Unlock! unlock!" vociferated the giant in a towering passion; but the cat repeated: "Just wait a little, little moment, while I tell my story:
Then they floured me as if they would flour me to death."
"First they kneaded me as if they would knead me to death;The giant was now beside himself with rage, and roared out so that the whole castle shook: "Unlock! unlock!"
Then they floured me as if they would flour me to death;
Then they pricked me as if they would prick me to death."
But the cat was not to be moved, and answered as before: "Just wait a little moment, while I tell my story:
"First they kneaded me as if they would knead, me to death;The giant now felt uneasy, and cried out quite gently: "Unlock! unlock!" but all in vain; the loaf remained quiet in the key-hole as before.
Then they floured me as if they would flour me to death;
Then they pricked me as if they would prick me to death;
Then they baked me as if they would bake me to death."
At the same moment the cat cried out: "Only see what a beautiful girl is riding up in the sky!"
As the Troll looked up, the sun had just risen above the forest, at the sight of which he fell back and split into shivers. Such was his end.
The loaf then transformed itself again into a cat, and hastened to set everything in order for his guests.
After some time, the king's son and his fair young bride arrived with all their train. The cat went out to receive them, and bid them welcome to Cattenburg. They were now entertained most sumptuously, and there was wanting neither meat nor drink, nor any costly luxury. The noble castle was full of gold and silver, and all kinds of precious things, such as the like was never seen before or since. Shortly after the marriage was solemnized between the prince and the fair young maiden; and all who saw her wealth, thought she had good reason for saying: "I had it otherwise in my castle at Cattenburg."
The king's son and the peasant's daughter lived happily together for very many years; but I have never heard how it fared with the cat; though we may almost guess that he wanted for nothing.
"Brother Peter can scrape out the cook-pot after he has loaned it out," said Ebe. "Brother Paul gets a crust of bread when he lends out his frying-pan; but what am I to do with this wretched cat?"
And he was angry and envious. Yet he scratched the cat and stroked it, and this pleased the cat so that she began to purr, and raised her tail in the air.
"Wait, wait, I'll help you yet," said the cat. "Wait, wait, I'll help you yet!"
There was nothing to bite or break in the hut. Brother Peter and Brother Paul had each of them gone off in a different direction. So Ebe set out, too, with the cat in the lead, himself following; but after a time he turned and went home again, to see whether the floor had been swept, and the cat tripped on alone. After she had gone her way, tipp, tapp, tipp, tapp, for a while, she came to a great rock, and there she met an enormous herd of reindeer. The cat crept softly around the herd, and then with one leap sprang between the horns of the finest buck.
"If you do not go where I want you to, I'll scratch out your eyes, and drive you over rock and precipice!" said she.
So the buck did not dare do anything save what the cat wished, and off they went over stick and stone, from cliff to cliff, close by Ebe, who was just polishing the door-sill of his house, and with one bound right into the castle.
"I am to deliver a kind greeting from Ebe, and ask whether my lord king might care to have this buck reindeer to drive," said the cat.
Yes, he could make good use of such a young, handsome animal, some time, when he had occasion to drive out to visit a neighboring king.
"This Ebe must be a proud and powerful lord," said the king, "if he can make me such presents."
"Yes, he is the greatest lord in all your land and kingdom," said the cat, but no matter how many questions the king asked, he learned nothing more.
"Tell him that I am much obliged," said the king, and he sent him a whole cart-load of handsome presents.
But Ebe looked past them and paid no attention to them.
"Brother Peter can scrape out his cook-pot when he has loaned it out, and Brother Paul gets a crust of bread when he lends out his frying-pan; but what am I to do with this wretched cat!" said he, and felt angry and envious.
But still he scratched the cat, and stroked her, and this pleased her so much that she began to purr, and raised her tail in the air.
"Wait, wait, I will help you yet," said the cat. "Wait, wait, I will help you yet!"
The next day they both set out again, the cat in the lead, and Ebe following. After a while he turned back to see whether the folding-table at home had been scoured. And the cat tripped on alone. After she had gone her way, tipp, tapp, tipp, tapp, for a while, she came to a dense forest slope. There she found an enormous herd of elk. The cat crept softly up, and suddenly there she sat between the horns of one of the stateliest of the bull elks.
"If you do not go where I want you to, I will scratch out your eyes, and drive you over rock and precipice!" said the cat.
The elk did not dare do anything save what the cat wished, and so off they went, like lightning, over stick and stone, from cliff to cliff, right past Ebe, who stood before the house scouring the shutters, and with one bound into the king's castle.
"I am to deliver a kind greeting from Ebe, and ask whether my lord king might not care to have this bull elk for courier service."
It was quite clear that should the king want a swift messenger, some time, he could not find a swifter in all his kingdom.
"This Ebe must be a most distinguished lord, since he finds such presents for me," said the king.
"Yes, indeed, one might call him a distinguished lord," said the cat. "His wealth is without end or limit."
But no matter how many other questions the king asked, he received no more explicit information.
"Tell him that I am much obliged, and to do me the honor to call when he is passing here some time," said the king, and sent him a robe as handsome as the one he himself was wearing, and three cartloads of handsome presents.
But Ebe did not even want to put on the royal robe, and hardly looked at the other presents.
"Brother Peter can scrape out his cook-pot when he has loaned it out, Brother Paul gets a crust of bread when he lends out his frying-pan; but of what use is this wretched cat to me!" he said, in spite of all.
Yet he stroked the cat, and pressed her to his cheek, and scratched her, and this pleased the cat so very much that she purred more than on the other occasions, and stuck her tail up into the air as straight as a rod.
"Wait, wait, I will help you yet," said the cat. "Wait, wait, I will help you yet!"
On the third day they set out again, the cat in the lead, and Ebe following. After a time it occurred to him to go back and let the mice out of the house, so that they would not be altogether starved in the old hut; and the cat tripped on alone. After she had gone her way, tipp, tapp, tipp, tapp, for a while, she came to a dense pine forest, and there she met a father bear, a mother bear and a baby bear. The cat crept softly up to them, and all at once she was hanging by her claws to the father bear's head.
"If you do not go where I want you to, I will scratch out your eyes, and drive you over rock and precipice!" said the cat, and spit and arched her back.
Then the father bear did not dare do any thing save what the cat wished, and now they dashed past Ebe, who had just carried all the young mice over the threshold, like a storm, over stick and stone, from cliff to cliff, so that the earth trembled and shook. The king was just standing in the hallway, and was not a little surprised to see such guests arriving.
"I am to deliver a kind greeting from Ebe, and ask whether my lord king might not care to have this bear for a general or royal counselor," said the cat.
The king was more than pleased to secure such a creature for his nearest adviser, who could doubt it.
"Tell him that I am much obliged, but that I do not at all know how to show my appreciation," said the king.
"Well, he would like to marry your youngest daughter!" said the cat.
"Yes, but that is asking a good deal," said the king. "He really ought to pay me a visit."
"Ebe does not enter such plain houses," said the cat.
"Has he a handsomer castle than this?" asked the king.
"Handsomer? Why, your castle seems like the shabbiest hut in comparison with his!" was the cat's reply.
"You dare come into my presence, and tell me that there is someone living in my kingdom who is more handsomely housed than I, the king!" shouted the king, beside himself with rage.
He came near wringing the cat's neck.
"You might wait until you see it," said the cat.
And the king said yes, he would wait. "But if you have told me a falsehood, you shall die, and though you had seven lives," said he.
In the morning the king and the whole court set out to travel to Ebe Ashpeter's castle. The cat was in the little hut, and called for Ebe, thinking it would be best if both of them got underway an hour earlier. After they had gone a while, they met some folk who were herding sheep; and the sheep were bleating and grazing over the whole plain. They were as large as full-grown calves, and their wool was so long that it dragged along the ground after them.
"To whom do the sheep belong?" asked the cat.
"To Helge-Hal in the Blue Hill," said the shepherds.
"The court is coming past in a moment," said the cat, "and if then you do not at once say that they belong to Ebe, I will scratch out your eyes, and drive you over rock and precipice!" said the cat, and spat and arched her back, and showed her teeth.
Then the shepherds were so frightened that they at once promised to do as the cat had ordered.
"But to whom do all these sheep belong?" asked the king, when he came by with the court somewhat later. "They are every bit as handsome as my own!"
"They belong to Ebe," said the shepherds.
Then the cat and Ebe wandered on for a while, and came to a dense forest slope. There they met folk who were tending goats. The goats skipped and leaped about everywhere, and gave such fine milk that better could no where be found.
"To whom do the goats belong?" asked the cat.
"To Helge-Hal in the Blue Hill," said the herds men.
Then the cat again went through her ferocious preparations, and the herdsmen were so frightened that they did not dare oppose her wishes.
"Now who in the world can be the owner of so many goats?" asked the king. "I myself have none finer!"
"They belong to Ebe," said the herdsmen.
Then they wandered on for a while, and met folk who were tending cows. Wherever one looked the cows lowed and glistened, and each yielded milk enough for three. When the cat heard that these herdsmen were also in the service of Helge-Hal of the Blue Hill, she spat once more, and arched her back, and then all the herdsmen were ready that moment to say what she wished.
"But in heaven's name, to whom do all these beautiful cattle belong?" asked the king. "There are no such cattle in my whole kingdom!"
"They belong to Lord Ebe," said the herdsmen.
Then they wandered on for a long, long time. At last they came to a great plain, and there they met horse-herders; and horses whinnied and disported themselves over the whole plain, and their coats were so fine that they glistened as though gilded, and each horse was worth a whole castle.
"For whom do you herd these horses?" asked the cat.
"For Helge-Hal in the Blue Hill," the herders replied.
"Well, the court will come by here in a little while," said the cat, "and if you do not say you are herding them for Ebe, I will scratch out your eyes, and drive you over rock and precipice!" said the cat, and she spat, and showed her teeth and claws, and grew so angry her hair stood up all along her back.
Then the herders were terribly frightened, and did not dare do anything but what the cat wished.
"But in the name of heaven, to whom do all these horses belong?" asked the king, when he came by with his court.
"They belong to Ebe," said the herders.
"I never have seen or heard anything like it in all my life!" cried the king.
"This Ebe is such a distinguished lord that it is past my understanding!"
The cat and Ebe had long since gone on their way, and had wandered far and ever farther over hill and rock. In the evening, at dusk, they came to a royal castle that glittered and shimmered as though it were of the purest silver and gold -- which it was. Yet it was gloomy and depressing, and lonely and barren there, and nowhere was there a sign of life.
Here they went in, and the cat stood with a cake of rye meal just below the door. Suddenly there came a thundering and a thumping so that the earth trembled, and the whole castle shook, and that was the troll who was coming home. And suddenly all was quiet again, and before they knew it, Helge-Hal in the Blue Hill had thrust his three great horrible heads in at the door.
"Let me in! Let me in!" he cried, so that every one shivered.
"Wait, wait a bit while I tell you what the rye had to go through before he was made into this cake," said the cat, and spoke to him in the sweetest way. "First he was threshed, and then he was beaten, and then he was pounded, and then he was thumped, and then he was thrown from one wall to another, and then he was sifted through a sieve...."
"Let me in! Let me in, you chatterbox!" cried the troll, and he was so furious that the sparks flew from him.
"Wait a bit, wait a bit. I will tell you what the rye had to go through before he was made into this cake!" said the cat, and he spoke to him still more sweetly.
"First he was threshed, and then he was beaten, and then he was pounded, and then he was thumped, and then he was thrown from one wall to another, and then he was sifted through a sieve, and shaken here and there, and then he was put on the drying-board, and then in the stove, until it grew so hot that he puffed up more and more, and wanted to get out, but could not," said the cat, and took her time.
"Get out of the way and let me in!" cried the troll once more, and nearly burst with rage. But the cat acted as though she did not hear him, and talked down the blue from the sky, and went up and down the while, and whenever the troll tried to come in, she met him beneath the door with the cake.
"O, but do take a look at the shining maiden coming up there behind the mountain!" said the cat, after she had talked at length about the sufferings of the rye.
And Helge-Hal in the Blue Hill turned his three heads around in order to see the beautiful maiden, too. Then the sun rose, and the troll stiffened into stone.
Now Ebe obtained all the riches that the troll had possessed, the sheep and goats, the cows and all the spirited horses, and the handsome golden castle, and some big bags of money besides.
"Here come the king and all his court," said the cat. "Just go out before the door and receive them!" So Ebe got up and went to meet them.
"You are indeed a very distinguished lord!" said the king to him. "So far as I am concerned you may have the youngest princess!"
Then they started brewing and baking on a large scale in the greatest haste, and everything was made ready for the wedding.
On the first day of the feast the cat came and begged the bridegroom to cut off her head. This he did not at all want to do; but the cat spat and showed her teeth, and then Ebe did not dare disobey her. But when the head fell to the ground, the cat turned into a most handsome prince. He married the second princess, and as the wedding procession was on its way to church, they met a third prince who was looking for a wife, and he took the oldest princess.
Then they all three celebrated their weddings so that the story went the rounds in twelve kingdoms.
Spin, span, spun,
Now our tale is done!"
The eldest, who was to have first choice, he took the pot. "For," said he, "whenever I lend the pot to anyone to boil porridge, I can always get leave to scrape it."
The second took the griddle. "For," said he, "whenever I lend it to anyone, I'll always get a morsel of dough to make a bannock."
But the youngest, he had no choice left him; if he was to choose anything it must be the cat.
"Well!" said he, "if I lend the cat to any one I shan't get much by that; for if pussy gets a drop of milk she will want it all herself. Still, I'd best take her along with me; I shouldn't like her to go about here and starve."
So the brothers went out into the world to try their luck, and each took his own way; but when the youngest had gone a while, the cat said, "Now you shall have a good turn, because you wouldn't let me stay behind in the old cottage and starve. Now, I'm off to the wood to lay hold of a fine fat head of game, and then you must go up to the king's palace that you see yonder, and say you are come with a little present for the king; and when he asks who sends it, you must say, 'Why, who should it be from but Lord Peter.'"
Well! Peter hadn't waited long before back came the cat with a reindeer from the wood; she had jumped up on the reindeer's head, between his horns, and said, "If you don't go straight to the king's palace I'll claw your eyes out."
So the reindeer had to go whether he liked it or no. And when Peter got to the palace he went into the kitchen with the deer and said, "Here I'm come with a little present for the king, if he won't despise it."
Then the king went out into the kitchen, and when he saw the fine plump reindeer, he was very glad. "But, my dear friend," he said, "who in the world is it that sends me such a fine gift?"
"Oh!" said Peter, "who should sent it but Lord Peter?"
"Lord Peter! Lord Peter!" said the king. "Pray tell me where he lives; "for he thought it a shame not to know so great a man.
But that was just what the lad wouldn't tell him; he daren't do, it he said, because his master had forbidden him. So the king gave him a good bit of money to drink his health, and bade him be sure and say all kind of pretty things, and many thanks for the present, to his master when he got home.
Next day the cat went again into the wood, and jumped up on a red deer's head, and sat between his horns, and forced him to go to the palace. Then Peter went again into the kitchen, and said he was come with a little present for the king, if he would be pleased to take it. And the king was still more glad to get the red deer than he had been to get the reindeer, and asked again who it was that sent so fine a present.
"Why, it's Lord Peter, of course," said the lad; but when the king wanted to know where Lord Peter lived, he got the same answer as the day before; and this day, too, he gave Peter a good lump of money to drink his health with.
The third day the cat came with an elk. And so when Peter got into the palace kitchen, and said he had a little present for the king, if he'd be pleased to take it, the king came out at once into the kitchen; and when he saw the grand big elk, he was so glad he scarce knew which leg to stand on; and this day, too, he gave Peter many many more dollars -- at least a hundred. He wished now, once for all, to know where this Lord Peter lived, and asked and asked about this thing and that, but the lad said he daren't say, for his master's sake, who had strictly forbidden him to tell.
"Well, then," said the king, "beg Lord Peter to come and see me."
Yes, the lad would take that message; but when Peter got into the yard again, and met the cat, he said, "A pretty scrape you've got me into now, for here's the king, who wants me to come and see him, and you know I've nothing to go in but these rags I stand and walk in."
"Oh, don't be afraid about that," said the cat. "In three days you shall have coach and horses, and fine clothes, so fine that the gold falls from them, and then you may go and see the king very well. But mind, whatever you see in the king's palace, you must say you have far finer and grander things of your own. Don't forget that."
No, no, Peter would bear that in mind, never fear. So when three days were over, the cat came with a coach and horses, and clothes, and all that Peter wanted, and altogether it was as grand as any thing you ever set eyes on. So off he set, and the cat ran alongside the coach. The king met him well and graciously, but whatever the king offered him, and whatever he showed him, Peter said, 'twas all very well, but he had far finer and better things in his own house. The king seemed not quite to believe this, but Peter stuck to what he said, and at last the king got so angry, he couldn't bear it any longer.
"Now I'll go home with you," he said, "and see if it be true what you've been telling me, that you have far finer and better things of your own. But if you've been telling a pack of lies, Heaven help you, that's all I say."
"Now, you've got me into a fine scrape," said Peter to the cat, "for here's the king coming home with me; but my home, that's not so easy to find, I think."
"Oh! never mind," said the cat. "Only do you drive after me as I run before."
So off they set; first Peter, who drove after his cat, and then the king and all his court. But when they had driven a good bit, they came to a great flock of fine sheep, that had wool so long it almost touched the ground.
"If you'll only say," said the cat to the shepherd, "this flock of sheep belongs to Lord Peter when the king asks you, I'll give you this silver spoon," which she had taken with her from the king's palace.
Yes! He was willing enough to do that. So when the king came up, he said to the lad who watched the sheep, "Well, I never saw so large and fine a flock of sheep in my life! Whose is it, my little lad?"
"Why," said the lad, "whose should it be but Lord Peter's?"
A little while after they came to a great, great herd of fine brindled kine, who were all so sleek the sun shone from them.
"If you'll only say," said the cat to the neat-herd, "this herd is Lord Peter's, when the king asks you, I'll give you this silver ladle." And the ladle too she had taken from the king's palace.
"Yes! with all my heart," said the neat-herd.
So when the king came up, he was quite amazed at the fine fat herd, for such a herd he had never seen before, and so he asked the neat-herd who owned those brindled kine.
"Why! who should own them but Lord Peter?" said the neat-herd.
So they went on a little further, and came to a great, great drove of horses, the finest you ever saw, six of each color, bay, and black, and brown, and chestnut.
"If you'll only say this drove of horses is Lord Peter's when the king asks you," said the cat, "I'll give you this silver stoop." And the stoop too she had taken from the palace.
Yes! the lad was willing enough; and so when the king came up, he was quite amazed at the grand drove of horses, for the matches of such horses he had never yet set eyes on, he said. So he asked the lad who watched them, whose all these blacks, and bays, and browns, and chestnuts were?
"Whose should they be," said the lad, "but Lord Peter's?"
So when they had gone a good bit farther, they came to a castle; first there was a gate of tin, and next there was a gate of silver, and next a gate of gold. The castle itself was of silver, and so dazzling white, that it quite hurt one's eyes to look at it in the sun beams which fell on it just as they reached it.
So they went into it, and the cat told Peter to say this was his house. As for the castle inside, it was far finer than it looked outside, for everything was pure gold, -- chairs, and tables, and benches, and all. And when the king had gone all over it, and seen every thing high and low, he got quite shameful and downcast.
"Yes," he said at last; "Lord Peter has every thing far finer than I have, there's no gainsaying that." And so he wanted to be off home again.
But Peter begged him to stay to supper, and the king stayed, but he was sour and surly the whole time. So as they sat at supper, back came the troll who owned the castle, and gave such a great knock at the door.
"WHO'S THIS EATING MY MEAT AND DRINKING MY MEAD LIKE SWINE IN HERE?" roared out the troll.
As soon as the cat heard that, she ran down to the gate.
"Stop a bit," she said, "and I'll tell you how the farmer sets to work to get in his winter rye."
And so she told him such a long story about the winter rye: "First of all, you see, he ploughs his field, and then he dungs it, and then he ploughs it again, and then he harrows it." And so she went on till the sun rose. "Oh, do look behind you, and there you'll see such a lovely lady," said the cat to the troll.
So the troll turned round, and, of course, as soon as he saw the sun he burst.
"Now all this is yours," said the cat to Lord Peter. "Now, you must cut off my head; that's all I ask for what I have done for you."
"Nay, nay," said Lord Peter, "I'll never do any such thing. That's flat."
"If you don't," said the cat, "see if I don't claw your eyes out."
Well! so Lord Peter had to do it, though it was sore against his will. He cut off the cat's head, but there and then she became the loveliest princess you ever set eyes on, and Lord Peter fell in love with her at once.
"Yes! All this greatness was mine first," said the princess, "but a troll bewitched me to be a cat in your father's and mother's cottage. Now you may do as you please, whether you take me as your queen or not, for you are now king over all this realm."
Well, well; there was little doubt Lord Peter would be willing enough to have her as his queen, and so there was a wedding that lasted eight whole days, and a feast besides; and after it was over, I stayed no longer with Lord Peter and his lovely queen, and so I can't say anything more about them.
"When you are gone, my dear mother," he said, "there will be no one left to think of me."
The poor woman comforted him as best she could and said to him: "You will still have your father."
Shortly after the woman's death, the old man, too, was taken ill. "Now, indeed, I shall be left desolate and alone," Mikko thought, as he sat beside his father's bedside and saw him grow weaker and weaker.
"My boy," the old man said just before he died, "I have nothing to leave you but the three snares with which these many years I have caught wild animals. Those snares now belong to you. When I am dead, go into the woods and if you find a wild creature caught in any of them, free it gently and bring it home alive."
After his father's death, Mikko remembered the snares and went out to the woods to see them. The first was empty and also the second, but in the third he found a little red fox. He carefully lifted the spring that had shut down on one of the fox's feet and then carried the little creature home in his arms. He shared his supper with it and when he lay down to sleep the fox curled up at his feet. They lived together some time until they became close friends.
"Mikko," said the fox one day, "why are you so sad?"
"Because I'm lonely."
"Pooh!" said the fox. "That's no way for a young man to talk! You ought to get married! Then you wouldn't feel lonely!"
"Married!" Mikko repeated. "How can I get married? I can't marry a poor girl because I'm too poor myself and a rich girl wouldn't marry me."
"Nonsense!" said the fox. "You're a fine well set up young man and you're kind and gentle. What more could a princess ask?"
Mikko laughed to think of a princess wanting him for a husband.
"I mean what I say!" the fox insisted. "Take our own princess now. What would you think of marrying her?"
Mikko laughed louder than before. "I have heard," he said, "that she is the most beautiful princess in the world! Any man would be happy to marry her!"
"Very well," the fox said, "if you feel that way about her then I'll arrange the wedding for you."
With that the little fox actually did trot off to the royal castle and gain audience with the king. "My master sends you greetings," the fox said, "and he begs you to loan him your bushel measure."
"My bushel measure!" the king repeated in surprise. "Who is your master and why does he want my bushel measure?"
"Ssh!" the fox whispered as though he didn't want the courtiers to hear what he was saying. Then slipping up quite close to the king he murmured in his ear: "Surely you have heard of Mikko, haven't you? -- Mighty Mikko as he's called."
The king had never heard of any Mikko who was known as Mighty Mikko but, thinking that perhaps he should have heard of him, he shook his head and murmured: "H'm! Mikko! Mighty Mikko! Oh, to be sure! Yes, yes, of course!"
"My master is about to start off on a journey and he needs a bushel measure for a very particular reason."
"I understand! I understand!" the king said, although he didn't understand at all, and he gave orders that the bushel measure which they used in the storeroom of the castle be brought in and given to the fox. The fox carried off the measure and hid it in the woods. Then he scurried about to all sorts of little out of the way nooks and crannies where people had hidden their savings and he dug up a gold piece here and a silver piece there until he had a handful. Then he went back to the woods and stuck the various coins in the cracks of the measure. The next day he returned to the king.
"My master, Mighty Mikko," he said, "sends you thanks, O king, for the use of your bushel measure."
The king held out his hand and when the fox gave him the measure he peeped inside to see if by chance it contained any trace of what had recently been measured. His eye of course at once caught the glint of the gold and silver coins lodged in the cracks.
"Ah!" he said, thinking Mikko must be a very mighty lord indeed to be so careless of his wealth. "I should like to meet your master. Won't you and he come and visit me?"
This was what the fox wanted the king to say, but he pretended to hesitate. "I thank your majesty for the kind invitation," he said, "but I fear my master can't accept it just now. He wants to get married soon and we are about to start off on a long journey to inspect a number of foreign princesses."
This made the king all the more anxious to have Mikko visit him at once for he thought that if Mikko should see his daughter before he saw those foreign princesses he might fall in love with her and marry her. So he said to the fox: "My dear fellow, you must prevail on your master to make me a visit before he starts out on his travels! You will, won't you?"
The fox looked this way and that as if he were too embarrassed to speak. "Your majesty," he said at last, "I pray you pardon my frankness. The truth is you are not rich enough to entertain my master and your castle isn't big enough to house the immense retinue that always attends him."
The king, who by this time was frantic to see Mikko, lost his head completely.
"My dear fox," he said, "I'll give you anything in the world if you prevail upon your master to visit me at once! Couldn't you suggest to him to travel with a modest retinue this time?"
The fox shook his head. "No. His rule is either to travel with a great retinue or to go on foot disguised as a poor woodsman attended only by me."
"Couldn't you prevail on him to come to me disguised as a poor woodsman?" the king begged. "Once he was here, I could place gorgeous clothes at his disposal."
But still the fox shook his head. "I fear your majesty's wardrobe doesn't contain the kind of clothes my master is accustomed to."
"I assure you I've got some very good clothes," the king said. "Come along this minute and we'll go through them and I'm sure you'll find some that your master would wear."
So they went to a room which was like a big wardrobe with hundreds and hundreds of hooks upon which were hung hundreds of coats and breeches and embroidered shirts. The king ordered his attendants to bring the costumes down one by one and place them before the fox.
They began with the plainer clothes. "Good enough for most people," the fox said, "but not for my master."
Then they took down garments of a finer grade. "I'm afraid you're going to all this trouble for nothing," the fox said. "Frankly now, don't you realize that my master couldn't possibly put on any of these things!"
The king, who had hoped to keep for his own use his most gorgeous clothes of all, now ordered these to be shown. The fox looked at them sideways, sniffed them critically, and at last said: "Well, perhaps my master would consent to wear these for a few days. They are not what he is accustomed to wear, but I will say this for him: he is not proud."
The king was overjoyed. "Very well, my dear fox, I'll have the guest chambers put in readiness for your master's visit and I'll have all these, my finest clothes, laid out for him. You won't disappoint me, will you?"
"I'll do my best," the fox promised. With that he bade the king a civil good day and ran home to Mikko.
The next day as the princess was peeping out of an upper window of the castle, she saw a young woods man approaching accompanied by a fox. He was a fine stalwart youth, and the princess, who knew from the presence of the fox that he must be Mikko, gave a long sigh and confided to her serving maid: "I think I could fall in love with that young man if he really were only a woodsman!"
Later when she saw him arrayed in her father's finest clothes -- which looked so well on Mikko that no one even recognized them as the king's -- she lost her heart completely, and when Mikko was presented to her she blushed and trembled just as any ordinary girl might before a handsome young man.
All the court was equally delighted with Mikko. The ladies went into ecstasies over his modest manners, his fine figure, and the gorgeousness of his clothes, and the old graybeard councilors, nodding their heads in approval, said to each other: "Nothing of the coxcomb about this young fellow! In spite of his great wealth see how politely he listens to us when we talk!"
The next day the fox went privately to the king, and said: "My master is the man of few words and quick judgment. He bids me tell you that your daughter, the princess, pleases him mightily and that, with your approval, he will make his addresses to her at once."
The king was greatly agitated and began: "My dear fox --"
But the fox interrupted him to say: "Think the matter over carefully and give me your decision tomorrow."
So the king consulted with the princess and with his councilors and in a short time the marriage was arranged and the wedding ceremony actually per formed!
"Didn't I tell you?" the fox said, when he and Mikko were alone after the wedding.
"Yes," Mikko acknowledged, "you did promise that I should marry the princess. But, tell me, now that I am married what am I to do? I can't live on here forever with my wife."
"Put your mind at rest," the fox said. "I've thought of everything. Just do as I tell you and you'll have nothing to regret. Tonight say to the king: 'It is now only fitting that you should visit me and see for yourself the sort of castle over which your daughter is hereafter to be mistress!'"
When Mikko said this to the king, the king was overjoyed for now that the marriage had actually taken place he was wondering whether he hadn't perhaps been a little hasty. Mikko's words reassured him and he eagerly accepted the invitation.
On the morrow the fox said to Mikko: "Now I'll run on ahead and get things ready for you."
"But where are you going?" Mikko said, frightened at the thought of being deserted by his little friend.
The fox drew Mikko aside and whispered softly: "A few days' march from here there is a very gorgeous castle belonging to a wicked old dragon who is known as the worm. I think the worm's castle would just about suit you."
"I'm sure it would," Mikko agreed. "But how are we to get it away from the worm?"
"Trust me," the fox said. "All you need do is this: lead the king and his courtiers along the main highway until by noon tomorrow you reach a crossroads. Turn there to the left and go straight on until you see the tower of the worm's castle. If you meet any men by the wayside, shepherds or the like, ask them whose men they are and show no surprise at their answer. So now, dear master, farewell until we meet again at your beautiful castle."
The little fox trotted off at a smart pace and Mikko and the princess and the king attended by the whole court followed in more leisurely fashion. The little fox, when he had left the main highway at the crossroads, soon met ten woodsmen with axes over their shoulders. They were all dressed in blue smocks of the same out.
"Good day," the fox said politely. "Whose men are you?"
"Our master is known as the worm," the woodsmen told him.
"My poor, poor lads!" the fox said, shaking his head sadly.
"What's the matter?" the woodsmen asked.
For a few moments the fox pretended to be too over come with emotion to speak. Then he said: "My poor lads, don't you know that the king is coming with a great force to destroy the worm and all his people?"
The woodsmen were simple fellows and this news threw them into great consternation. "Is there no way for us to escape?" they asked.
The fox put his paw to his head and thought. "Well," he said at last, "there is one way you might escape and that is by telling every one who asks you that you are the Mighty Mikko's men. But if you value your lives never again say that your master is the worm."
"We are Mighty Mikko's men!" the woodsmen at once began repeating over and over. "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
A little farther on the road the fox met twenty grooms, dressed in the same blue smocks, who were tending a hundred beautiful horses. The fox talked to the twenty grooms as he had talked to the woodsmen and before he left them they, too, were shouting: "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
Next the fox came to a huge flock of a thousand sheep tended by thirty shepherds all dressed in the worm's blue smocks. He stopped and talked to them until he had them roaring out: "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
Then the fox trotted on until he reached the castle of the worm. He found the worm himself inside lolling lazily about. He was a huge dragon and had been a great warrior in his day. In fact his castle and his lands and his servants and his possessions had all been won in battle. But now for many years no one had cared to fight him and he had grown fat and lazy.
"Good day," the fox said, pretending to be very breathless and frightened. "You're the worm, aren't you?"
"Yes," the dragon said, boastfully, "I am the great worm!"
The fox pretended to grow more agitated. "My poor fellow, I am sorry for you! But of course none of us can expect to live forever. Well, I must hurry along. I thought I would just stop and say good-by."
Made uneasy by the fox's words, the worm cried out: "Wait just a minute! What's the matter?"
The fox was already at the door but at the worm's entreaty he paused and said over his shoulder: "Why, my poor fellow, you surely know, don't you? that the king with a great force is coming to destroy you and all your people!"
"What!" the worm gasped, turning a sickly green with fright. He knew he was fat and helpless and could never again fight as in the years gone by.
"Don't go just yet!" he begged the fox. "When is the king coming?"
"He's on the highway now! That's why I must be going! Good-by!"
"My dear fox, stay just a moment and I'll reward you richly! Help me to hide so that the king won't find me! What about the shed where the linen is stored? I could crawl under the linen and then if you locked the door from the outside the king could never find me."
"Very well," the fox agreed, "but we must hurry!"
So they ran outside to the shed where the linen was kept and the worm hid himself under the linen. The fox locked the door, then set fire to the shed, and soon there was nothing left of that wicked old dragon, the worm, but a handful of ashes.
The fox now called together the dragon's household and talked them over to Mikko as he had the woodsmen and the grooms and the shepherds.
Meanwhile the king and his party were slowly covering the ground over which the fox had sped so quickly. When they came to the ten woodsmen in blue smocks, the king said: "I wonder whose woodsmen those are."
One of his attendants asked the woodsmen and the ten of them shouted out at the top of their voices: "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
Mikko said nothing and the king and all the court were impressed anew with his modesty. A little farther on they met the twenty grooms with their hundred prancing horses. When the grooms were questioned, they answered with a shout: "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
"The fox certainly spoke the truth," the king thought to himself, "when he told me of Mikko's riches!"
A little later the thirty shepherds when they were questioned made answer in a chorus that was deafening to hear: "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
The sight of the thousand sheep that belonged to his son-in-law made the king feel poor and humble in comparison and the courtiers whispered among themselves: "For all his simple manner, Mighty Mikko must be a richer, more powerful lord than the king himself! In fact it is only a very great lord indeed who could be so simple!"
At last they reached the castle which from the blue smocked soldiers that guarded the gateway they knew to be Mikko's. The fox came out to welcome the king's party and behind him in two rows all the household servants.
These, at a signal from the fox, cried out in one voice: "We are Mighty Mikko's men!"
Then Mikko in the same simple manner that he would have used in his father's mean little hut in the woods bade the king and his followers welcome and they all entered the castle where they found a great feast already prepared and waiting. The king stayed on for several days and the more he saw of Mikko the better pleased he was that he had him for a son-in-law.
When he was leaving he said to Mikko: "Your castle is so much grander than mine that I hesitate ever asking you back for a visit."
But Mikko reassured the king by saying earnestly: "My dear father-in-law, when first I entered your castle I thought it was the most beautiful castle in the world!"
The king was flattered and the courtiers whispered among themselves : 'How affable of him to say that when he knows very well how much grander his own castle is!"
When the king and his followers were safely gone, the little red fox came to Mikko and said: "Now, my master, you have no reason to feel sad and lonely. You are lord of the most beautiful castle in the world and you have for wife a sweet and lovely princess. You have no longer any need of me, so I am going to bid you farewell."
Mikko thanked the little fox for all he had done and the little fox trotted off to the woods.
So you see that Mikko's poor old father, although he had no wealth to leave his son, was really the cause of all Mikko's good fortune, for it was he who told Mikko in the first place to carry home alive anything he might find caught in the snares.
The older brother said, "I'll take the bench, then at least I can sit down and rest as often as I like."
"And I'll take the cat," said the younger one, whose name Martin. "She likes me, and is always following me everywhere."
They went their separate ways into the world. The older brother carried the bench with him, and whenever he got tired he sat down on it and rested. Martin, however, went on his way with the cat, and had every reason to be happy about his choice. Whenever he got hungry, the cat went into a house where a table had been set, then before the eyes of the astonished people she carried food away to her master. Thus he never lacked food and drink. The cat also took care of his dress by stealing a beautiful piece of clothing here and there, and bringing it to him. Thus he was dressed like a real gentleman.
Therefore the cat said to him, "When the people ask about your name, tell them that you are called Count Martin of the Cat.
He liked this idea. "I would never have dreamed," he said, laughing to himself, "that with the help of my dear cat I should become a count."
One day they came to a wide plain. There were beautiful green meadows and fields, and they asked the people to whom they belonged.
"To such and such a count," they replied.
They went onward, coming to magnificent forests and still more beautiful meadows with numerous flocks and shepherds. As often as they asked, everything belonged to that count. Finally they came to the palace where the rich old count himself lived with his wife.
They were received there graciously. When the old gentlemen went to the cellar to get wine, the cat took the opportunity to creep after him, then strangled him in the cellar. The count's wife then went to the cellar to see what was keeping her husband so long. The cat jumped on her, and strangled her too.
Then the cat went upstairs to her master and said, "The two old ones down in the cellar are dead. Now you are the master of the palace. You must behave as such. Leave all the rest to me."
Then she ran out to the fields and meadows and forests, and everywhere she saw mowers, woodsmen, or shepherds, she cried, "The old count and his wife are dead, and have named my lord, Count Martin of the Cat, as their heir. He is now your rightful master. He has charged me with making this known to you, so that you may know his name and obey him alone."
Everywhere the people replied, "We are your servants, Madame Cat. If our old master has died, then he died well. Long live our new master!"
Count Martin of the Cat had now the most wonderful life in the world.
One day his brother came to the castle, still carrying the bench with him, and still desperately poor. He did not recognize Martin, but the latter took him in and gave him a position as overseer in his court. He too now had a good life and could sit on his bench whenever he wanted to.
Some time later the cat said to her master, "I feel that I'm getting old, and that my end is near. I have helped you to your good fortune, so show your thanks by having me buried with dignity and with a beautiful gravestone. I deserve this much."
Then she secretly decided to put her master to the test. One day she lay down on the floor, pretending to be dead.
When Martin saw her, he said, "So the disgusting animal is finally dead!" And he was about to throw he body out into the courtyard.
Jumping to her feet, the cat cried out, "You unthankful one, is this how you are going to treat the one to whom you owe everything?" She continued with a stream of rebukes, all of which he silently accepted, for he knew that he deserved the condemnation.
Finally he answered her, saying that he was sorry and asking for her forgiveness. "After you death of course I will have you buried with dignity and give you a beautiful gravestone," he solemnly promised.
More time passed, and the cat did indeed die. Count Martin kept his promise and had her solemnly buried. I almost do not want to say so, but I was told that he had her buried in a church. He is said to have placed a beautiful gravestone in her honor, upon which her achievements were engraved in glowing words.
Today the stone is no longer to be found, nor can anyone remember having seen it. Furthermore, no one knows what has become of it.
"Oh! my brothers! what shall we do, for our pears have been picked?"
So the eldest went and remained in the garden to guard the pear tree during the night. He fell asleep, however, and the next morning the second brother came and said: "What have you done, my brother? Have you been sleeping? Do you not see that the pears have been picked? Tonight I will stay."
That night the second brother remained. The next morning the youngest went there and saw more of the pears picked, and said: "Were you the one that was going to keep a good watch? Go, I will stay here tonight; we shall see whether they can cheat me to my face."
At night the youngest brother began to play and dance under the pear tree; while he was not playing, a fox, believing that the youth had gone to sleep, came out and climbed the tree and picked the rest of the pears. When it was coming down the tree, the youth quickly aimed his gun at it and was about to shoot.
The fox said: "Don't shoot me, Don Joseph; for I will have you called Don Joseph Pear, and will make you marry the king's daughter."
Don Joseph answered: "And where shall I see you again? What has the king to do with you? With one kick that he would give you, you would never appear before him again."
However, Don Joseph Pear from pity let her escape. The fox went away to a forest and caught all sorts of game: squirrels, hares, and quails, and carried them to the king; so that it was a sight.
"Sir Majesty, Don Joseph Pear sends me; you must accept this game."
The king said: "Listen, little fox, I accept this game; but I have never heard this Don Joseph Pear mentioned."
The fox left the game there, and ran away to Don Joseph. "Softly, Don Joseph, I have taken the first step; I have been to the king, and carried him the first game; and he accepted it."
A week later the fox went to the forest, caught the best animals: squirrels, hares, birds, and took them to the king. "Sir Majesty, Don Joseph Pear sends me to you with this game."
The king said to the fox: "My daughter, I don't know who this Don Joseph Pear is; I am afraid you have been sent somewhere else! I will tell you what: Have this Don Joseph Pear come here, so that I can make his acquaintance."
The fox wished to leave the game, and said: "I am not mistaken; my master sent me here; and for a token, he said that he wished the princess for his wife."
The fox returned to Don Joseph Pear, and said to him: "Softly, things are going well; after I have been to the king again, the matter is settled."
Don Joseph said: "I will not believe you until I have my wife."
The fox now went to an ogress and said: "Friend, friend, have we not to divide the gold and silver?"
"Certainly," said the ogress to the fox. "Go and get the measure and we will divide the gold from the silver."
The fox went to the king and did not say: "The ogress wants to borrow your measure;" but she said: "Don Joseph Pear wants to borrow, for a short time, your measure to separate the gold from the silver."
"What!" said the king. "Has this Don Joseph Pear such great riches? Is he then richer than I?"
And he gave the fox the measure. When he was alone with his daughter he said to her, in the course of his conversation: "It must be that this Don Joseph Pear is very rich, for he divides the gold and silver."
The fox carried the measure to the ogress, who began to measure and heap up gold and silver. When she had finished, the fox went to Don Joseph Pear and dressed him in new clothes, a watch with diamonds, rings, a ring for his betrothed, and everything that was needed for the marriage.
"Behold, Don Joseph," said the fox, "I am going before you now; you go to the king and get your bride and then go to the church."
Don Joseph went to the king; got his bride, and they went to the church. After they were married, the princess got into the carriage and the bridegroom mounted his horse.
The fox made a sign to Don Joseph and said: "I will go before you; you follow me and let the carriages and horses come after."
They started on their way, and came to a sheep farm which belonged to the ogress. The boy who was tending the sheep, when he saw the fox approach, threw a stone at her, and she began to weep.
"Ah!" she said to the boy. "Now I will have you killed. Do you see those horsemen? Now I will have you killed!"
The youth, terrified, said: "If you will not do anything to me I will not throw any more stones at you."
The fox replied: "If you don't want to be killed, when the king passes and asks you whose is this sheep farm, you must tell him: 'Don Joseph Pear's,' for Don Joseph Pear is his son-in-law, and he will reward you."
The cavalcade passed by, and the king asked the boy: "Whose is this sheep farm?"
The boy replied at once: "Don Joseph Pear's."
The king gave him some money.
The fox kept about ten paces before Don Joseph, and the latter did nothing but say in a low tone: "Where are you taking me, fox? What lands do I possess that you can make me believed to be rich? Where are we going?"
The fox replied: "Softly, Don Joseph, and leave it to me."
They went on and on, and the fox saw another farm of cattle, with the herdsman. The same thing happened there as with the shepherd: the stone thrown and the fox's threat.
The king passed. "Herdsman, whose is this farm of cattle?"
"Don Joseph Pear's."
And the king, astonished at his son-in-law's wealth, gave the herdsman a piece of gold. Don Joseph was pleased on the one hand, but on the other was perplexed and did not know how it was to turn out.
When the fox turned around, Joseph said: "Where are you taking me, fox? You are ruining me."
The fox kept on as if she had nothing to do with the matter. Then she came to another farm of horses and mares. The boy who was tending them threw a stone at the fox. She frightened him, and he told the king, when the king asked him, that the farm was Don Joseph Pear's.
They kept on and came to a well, and near it the ogress was sitting. The fox began to run and pretended to be in great terror. "Friend, friend, see, they are coming! These horsemen will kill us! Let us hide in the well, shall we not?"
"Yes, friend," said the ogress in alarm.
"Shall I throw you down first?" said the fox.
Then the fox threw the ogress down the well, and then entered the ogress' palace. Don Joseph Pear followed the fox, with his wife, his father-in-law, and all the riders. The fox showed them through all the apartments, displaying the riches, Don Joseph Pear contented at having found his fortune, and the king still more contented because his daughter was so richly settled. There was a festival for a few days, and then the king, well satisfied, returned to his own country and his daughter remained with her husband.
One day the fox was looking out of the window, and Don Joseph Pear and his wife were going up to the terrace. Don Joseph Pear took up a little dust from the terrace and threw it at the fox's head. The fox raised her eyes.
"What is the meaning of this, after the good I have done you, miserable fellow?" said she to Don Joseph.
"Take care or I will speak!"
The wife said to her husband: "What is the matter with the fox, to speak thus?"
"Nothing," answered her husband. "I threw a little dust at her and she got angry."
Don Joseph took up a little more dust and threw it at the fox's head.
The fox, in a rage, cried: "Joe, you see I will speak! And I declare that you were the owner of a pear tree!"
Don Joseph was frightened, for the fox told his wife everything; so he took an earthen jar and threw it at the fox's head, and so got rid of her.
Thus -- the ungrateful fellow that he was -- he killed the one who had done him so much kindness; but nevertheless he enjoyed all his wealth with his wife.
She said to him: "Don't kill me, and I will marry thee to a khan's daughter, and will make thee a khan."
Boroltai Ku let the fox go. She ran to Gurbushten Khan, and says: "Boroltai Ku, the rich khan, wishes to marry thy daughter."
"If Boroltai Ku is indeed a rich khan then let him procure me a leopard, a lion, and an elephant," said Gurbushten Khan.
The fox ran to Boroltai Ku, and said: "Give me three strings."
Boroltai Ku took from his girdle three strings. The fox took them and went at first to the leopard and said: "Gurbushten Khan and Boroltai Ku, the rich khan, prepare a summer feast; and, as you are a famous animal, the khan wishes to invite you."
She placed on the leopard the string and led him forth. In like manner she bridled the lion and the elephant, and led them to Gurbushten Khan.
The khan ordered an iron Baishen-house to be built, which was enclosed by three walls, and fettered the beasts with chains.
Then he said: "If Boroltai Ku is indeed a rich khan, then let him drive his cattle and come here."
The fox ordered Boroltai Ku to follow in her footsteps. Boroltai Ku went on foot in his bad coat. On the road to the khan they came to a river; the fox ordered Boroltai Ku to stay by the river, and herself ran on before to Gurbushten Khan, and says: "Boroltai Ku, the rich khan, is close at hand; but a misfortune has befallen him; all his cattle, his southern camels, all his silk garments and gold, at the time of his crossing sank -- Boroltai is left naked. Send him quickly silken raiment in which he may visit you."
Silken raiment they sent; Boroltai Ku came to the khan's camp. The khan gave him his daughter and let him go home, and as a guide gave him his Noi-on.*
The fox ran on ahead, and begged each herdsman on the road if a passer-by should ask them whose is this cattle? to reply, "It is the cattle of Boroltai Ku, the rich khan."
The Noi-on dispatched by the khan received the same answer all along the road.
The fox ran to the tent of the Khan Manguis, lay down at the door and groans. The khan asks: "What art thou groaning at, O fox? "
"A misfortune will befall unfortunate me," said the fox; "a storm is coming."
"Oh, dear, that is a misfortune to me, too," says the Khan Manguis.
"How to you?" says the fox. "You can order a hole ten fathoms deep to be dug, and can hide in it."
So he did. Boroltai Ku appeared in the tent of the Khan Manguis, as if it was his own. The fox assured the Noi-on of Gurbushten Khan that it was the house of Boroltai Ku, the rich khan.
"There is only one defect here," says she.
"What is that?"
"Under the tent under the earth a demon inhabits. Won't you bring down lightning to slay him?"
The Noi-on brought down lightning and it struck the Khan Manguis who was sitting in the hole; and Boroltai Ku became khan, and took all the possessions, the cattle, and the people of Manguis, and lived near Gurbushten Khan.
He took a stick to beat its life out, but the jackal cried: "Spare me and I will find you a wife."
So Jogeshwar stayed his hand and released the jackal who promised at once to set off about the business.
The jackal kept his word and went to a city where a raja lived. There he sat down on the bank of one of the raja's tanks. To this tank the servants from the palace brought the pots and dishes to be washed, and to this tank also came the rani and princesses to bathe.
Whenever the servants came to wash their dishes, the jackal kept on repeating: "What sort of a raja is this whose plates are washed in water in which people have bathed? There is no raja like Raja Jogeshwar. He eats of golden plates and yet he never uses them a second time but throws them away directly he has eaten off them once."
The servants soon carried word to the raja of the jackal who sat by the tank and of his story of Raja Jogeshwar. Then the raja sent for the jackal and asked why he had come. The jackal answered that he was looking for a bride for Raja Jogeshwar.
Now the raja had three or four daughters and he thought that he saw his way to a fine match for one of them. So he sent for the young women and asked the jackal to say whether one of them would be a suitable bride for Raja Jogeshwar. The jackal chose the second sister and said that he would go and get the consent of Raja Jogeshwar.
The jackal hurried back and told the astonished weaver that he had found a raja's daughter for him to marry. Jogeshwar had nothing to delay him and only asked that an early day might be fixed for the wedding. So the jackal went back to the raja and received from him the knotted string that fixed the date of the wedding.
The jackal had now to devise some means by which Jogeshwar could go through the wedding ceremonies without his poverty being found out. He first went to the raja and asked how many attendants Raja Jogeshwar should bring with him, as he did not want to bring more than the bride's father could entertain. The raja was too proud to fix any number and said they could bring as many as they liked.
Jogeshwar having no relations and no money, was quite unable to arrange for a grand procession to escort him. He could only just afford to hire a palki in which to be carried to the bride's house; so the jackal sent word to all the jackals and paddy birds of the neighborhood to come to a feast at the palace of the bride, an invitation which was eagerly accepted.
At the time fixed they started off, with all the paddy birds riding on the backs of the jackals. When they came within sight of the palace, the jackal ran on ahead and invited the raja to come out and look at the procession as there was still time to send them back, if they were too many, but it would be a great disgrace if they were allowed to arrive and find no entertainment. The raja went out to look and when he saw the procession stretching away for a distance of two miles or more with all the paddy birds looking like white horsemen as they rode on the backs of the jackals, his heart failed him and he begged the jackal to send them away, as he could not entertain such a host.
So then the jackal hurried back and turned them all away and Jogeshwar reached the palace, accompanied only by his palki bearers.
Before the wedding feast, the jackal gave Jogeshwar some hints as to his behavior. He warned him that three of four kinds of meat and vegetables would be handed round with the rice, and bade him to be sure to help himself from each dish -- of course in his own house the poor weaver had never had more than one dish to eat with his rice -- and when pan was handed to him after the feast he was not to take any until he had a handful of money given him. By such behavior he would lead every one to think that he was really a prince. Jogeshwar did exactly as he was told and was thought a very grand personage.
The next evening Jogeshwar set off homewards with his bride, the bride's brothers and attendants accompanying them. They travelled on and on till the bride's party began to grow tired and kept asking the jackal how much further they had to go. The jackal kept on putting them off, till at last they came in sight of a grove of palm trees, and he told them that Raja Jogeshwar's palace stood among the palm trees but was so old and weather worn that it could not be seen from a distance.
When they reached the palm grove and found nothing but Jogeshwar's humble hut, the bride's brothers turned on the jackal and asked what he meant by deceiving them. The jackal protested that he had told no lies. The weaver ate every day off plates made of dry leaves and threw them away when done with and that was all he meant when he talked of golden plates. At this excuse they turned on him and wanted to beat him, but he ran away and escaped.
The bride's friends went back and told the raja how things had turned out and as divorce was not lawful for them, the raja could only send for his daughter and her husband and give them an estate to live on.
Hard by the hut was the lair of a jackal. The jackal, remembering the wealth and grandeur of the weaver's forefathers, had compassion on him, and one day coming to him, said, "Friend weaver, I see what a wretched life you are leading. I have a good mind to improve your condition. I'll try and marry you to the daughter of the king of this country."
"I become the king's son-in-law!" replied the weaver. "That will take place only when the sun rises in the west."
"You doubt my power?" rejoined the jackal. "You will see, I'll bring it about."
The next morning the jackal started for the king's city, which was many miles off. On the way he entered a plantation of the piper betel plant, and plucked a large quantity of its leaves. He reached the capital, and contrived to get inside the palace.
On the premises of the palace was a tank in which the ladies of the king's household performed their morning and afternoon ablutions. At the entrance of that tank the jackal laid himself down. The daughter of the king happened to come just at the time to bathe, accompanied by her maids. The princess was not a little struck at seeing the jackal lying down at the entrance. She told her maids to drive the jackal away. The jackal rose as if from sleep, and instead of running away, opened his bundle of betel-leaves, put some into his mouth, and began chewing them.
The princess and her maids were not a little astonished at the sight. They said among themselves, "What an uncommon jackal is this! From what country can he have come? A jackal chewing betel-leaves! Why thousands of men and women of this city cannot indulge in that luxury. He must have come from a wealthy land."
The princess asked the jackal, "Sivalu [A name for a jackal, not unlike Reynard in Europe], from what country do you come? It must be a very prosperous country where the jackals chew betel-leaves. Do other animals in your country chew betel-leaves?"
"Dearest princess," replied the jackal, "I come from a land flowing with milk and honey. Betel-leaves are as plentiful in my country as the grass in your fields. All animals in my country -- cows, sheep, dogs -- chew betel-leaves. We want no good thing."
"Happy is the country," said the princess, "where there is such plenty, and thrice happy the king who rules in it!"
"As for our king," said the jackal, "he is the richest king in the world. His palace is like the heaven of Indra. I have seen your palace here; it is a miserable hut compared to the palace of our king."
The princess, whose curiosity was excited to the utmost pitch, hastily went through her bath, and going to the apartments of the queen-mother, told her of the wonderful jackal lying at the entrance of the tank. Her curiosity being excited, the jackal was sent for. When the jackal stood in the presence of the queen, he began munching the betel-leaves.
"You come," said the queen, "from a very rich country. Is your king married?"
"Please your majesty, our king is not married. Princesses from distant parts of the world tried to get married to him, but he rejected them all. Happy will that princess be whom our king condescends to marry!"
"Don't you think, Sivalu," asked the queen, "that my daughter is as beautiful as a Peri, and that she is fit to be the wife of the proudest king in the world?"
"I quite think," said the jackal, "that the princess is exceedingly handsome; indeed, she is the handsomest princess I have ever seen; but I don't know whether our king will have a liking for her."
"Liking for my daughter!" said the queen." You have only to paint her to him as she is, and he is sure to turn mad with love. To be serious, Sivalu, I am anxious to get my daughter married. Many princes have sought her hand, but I am unwilling to give her to any of them, as they are not the sons of great kings. But your king seems to be a great king. I can have no objection to making him my son-in-law."
The queen sent word to the king, requesting him to come and see the jackal. The king came and saw the jackal, heard him describe the wealth and pomp of the king of his country, and expressed himself not unwilling to give away his daughter in marriage to him.
The jackal after this returned to the weaver and said to him, "O lord of the loom, you are the luckiest man in the world. It is all settled; you are to become the son-in-law of a great king. I have told them that you are yourself a great king, and you must behave yourself as one. You must do just as I instruct you. otherwise your fortune will not only not be made, but both you and I will be put to death."
"I'll do just as you bid me," said the weaver.
The shrewd jackal drew in his own mind a plan of the method of procedure he should adopt, and after a few days went back to the palace of the king in the same manner in which he had gone before, that is to say, chewing betel-leaves and lying down at the entrance of the tank on the premises of the palace. The king and queen were glad to see him, and eagerly asked him as to the success of his mission.
The jackal said, "In order to relieve your minds I may tell you at once that my mission has teen so far successful. If you only knew the infinite trouble I have had in persuading his Majesty, my sovereign, to make up his mind to marry your daughter, you would give me no end of thanks. For a long time he would not hear of it, but gradually I brought him round. You have now only to fix an auspicious day for the celebration of the solemn rite. There is one bit of advice, however, which I, as your friend, would give you. It is this. My master is so great a king that if he were to come to you in state, attended by all his followers, his horses and his elephants, you would find it impossible to accommodate them all in your palace or in your city. I would therefore propose that our king should come to your city, not in state, but in a private manner; and that you send to the outskirts of your city your own elephants, horses, and conveyances, to bring him and only a few of his followers to your palace."
"Many thanks, wise Sivalu, for this advice. I could not possibly make accommodation in my city for the followers of so great a king as your master is. I should be very glad if he did not come in state; and trust you will use your influence to persuade him to come in a private manner; for I should be ruined if he came in state."
The jackal then gravely said, "I will do my best in the matter," and then returned to his own village, after the royal astrologer had fixed an auspicious day for the wedding.
On his return the jackal busied himself with making preparations for the great ceremony. As the weaver was clad in tatters, he told him to go to the washermen of the village and borrow from them a suit of clothes. As for himself, he went to the king of his race, and told him that on a certain day he would like one thousand jackals to accompany him to a certain place. He went to the king of crows, and begged that his corvine majesty would be pleased to allow one thousand of his black subjects to accompany him on a certain day to a certain place. He preferred a similar petition to the king of paddy-birds.
At last the great day arrived. The weaver arrayed himself in the clothes which he had borrowed from the village washermen. The jackal made his appearance, accompanied by a train of a thousand jackals, a thousand crows, and a thousand paddy-birds.
The nuptial procession started on their journey, and towards sundown arrived within two miles of the king's palace. There the jackal told his friends, the thousand jackals, to set up a loud howl; at his bidding the thousand crows cawed their loudest; while the hoarse screechings of the thousand paddy-birds furnished a suitable accompaniment. The effect may be imagined. They all together made a noise the like of which had never been heard since the world began.
While this unearthly noise was going on, the jackal himself hastened to the palace, and asked the king whether he thought he would be able to accommodate the wedding-party, which was about two miles distant, and whose noise was at that moment sounding in his ears.
The king said "Impossible, Sivalu; from the sound of the procession I infer there must be at least one hundred thousand souls. How is it possible to accommodate so many guests? Please, so arrange that the bridegroom only will come to my house."
"Very well," said the jackal; "I told you at the beginning that you would not be able to accommodate all the attendants of my august master. I'll do as you wish. My master will alone come in undress. Send a horse for the purpose."
The jackal, accompanied by a horse and groom, came to the place where his friend the weaver was, thanked the thousand jackals, the thousand crows and the thousand paddy-birds, for their valuable services, and told them all to go away, while he himself, and the weaver on horseback, wended their way to the king's palace.
The bridal party, waiting in the palace, were greatly disappointed at the personal appearance of the weaver; but the jackal told them that his master had purposely put on a mean dress, as his would-be father-in-law declared himself unable to accommodate the bride groom and his attendants coming in state. The royal priests now began the interesting ceremony, and the nuptial knot was tied for ever.
The bridegroom seldom opened his lips, agreeably to the instructions of the jackal, who was afraid lest his speech should betray him.
At night when he was lying in bed he began to count the beams and rafters of the room, and said audibly, "This beam will make a first-rate loom, that other a capital beam, and that yonder an excellent sley."
The princess, his bride, was not a little astonished. She began to think in her mind, "Is the man, to whom they have tied me, a king or a weaver? I am afraid he is the latter; otherwise why should he be talking of weaver's loom, beam, and sley? Ah, me! Is this what the fates kept in store for me?"
In the morning the princess related to the queen-mother the weaver's soliloquy. The king and queen, not a little surprised at this recital, took the jackal to task about it.
The ready-witted jackal at once said, "Your Majesty need not be surprised at my august master's soliloquy. His palace is surrounded by a population of seven hundred families of the best weavers in the world, to whom he has given rent-free lands, and whose welfare he continually seeks. It must have been in one of his philanthropic moods that he uttered the soliloquy which has taken your Majesty by surprise."
The jackal, however, now felt that it was high time for himself and the weaver to decamp with the princess, since the proverbial simplicity of his friend of the loom might any moment involve him in danger. The jackal therefore represented to the king, that weighty affairs of state would not permit his august master to spend another day in the palace; that he should start for his kingdom that very day with his bride; and his master was resolved to travel incognito on foot, only the princess, now the queen, should leave the city in a palki.
After a great deal of yea and nay, the king and queen at last consented to the proposal. The party came to the outskirts of the weaver's village. The palki hearers were sent away; and the princess, who asked where her husband's palace was, was made to walk on foot.
The weaver's hut was soon reached, and the jackal, addressing the princess, said, "This, madam, is your husband's palace."
The princess began to beat her forehead with the palms of her hands in sheer despair. "Ah, me! Is this the husband whom Prajapati [the god who presides over marriages] intended for me? Death would have been a thousand times better."
As there was nothing for it, the princess soon got reconciled to her fate. She, however, determined to make her husband rich, especially as she knew the secret of becoming rich. One day she told her husband to get for her a pice-worth of flour. She put a little water in the flour, and smeared her body with the paste. When the paste dried on her body, she began wiping the paste with her fingers; and as the paste fell in small balls from her body, it got turned into gold. She repeated this process every day for some time, and thus got an immense quantity of gold. She soon became mistress of more gold than is to be found in the coffers of any king.
With this gold she employed a whole army of masons, carpenters and architects, who in no time built one of the finest palaces in the world. Seven hundred families of weavers were sought for and settled round about the palace. After this she wrote a letter to her father to say that she was sorry he had not favored her with a visit since the day of her marriage, and that she would be delighted if he now came to see her and her husband.
The king agreed to come, and a day was fixed. The princess made great preparations against the day of her father's arrival. Hospitals were established in several parts of the town for diseased, sick, and infirm animals. The beasts in thousands were made to chew betel-leaves on the wayside. The streets were covered with Cashmere shawls for her father and his attendants to walk on. There was no end of the display of wealth and grandeur. The king and queen arrived in state, and were infinitely delighted at the apparently bound less riches of their son-in-law.
The jackal now appeared on the scene, and saluting the king and queen, said -- "Did I not tell you?"
Here my story endeth,
The Natiya-thorn withereth, etc.
One day he cooked some kitcherie [a dish made of rice and lentils cooked together with clarified butter or ghee, and then boiled], and, placing it in a plate, left it to get cool, and went out to sell his cloth.
While he was away a jackal came and ate up the kitcherie; and on his return he found the jackal, so he tied it up and beat it severely. Then he cooked some bread, which he ate, and again beat the jackal.
The poor creature thought: "Now my life will go, if this man keeps on beating me in this way."
When the man next went out to dispose of his cloth, the jackal, tied up by itself, felt very lonely, especially as it could hear its companions howling in the jungles; so it began to howl too, and, hearing it, one of its friends came to see where it was, and finding it, said: "Brother, what are you doing here?"
The poor jackal, bruised all over and swollen with the beating it had received, replied: "Friend, a man has caught me, and takes the greatest care of me; see how fat I have grown with eating all the hulwa-poories [another native dainty made with sugar, etc.] he gives me. If you will release me, I will tie you here, and you will get a share of the good things."
So the two exchanged places, and the first jackal ran back gladly into the jungles. On the return of the weaver he, as usual, began to beat the poor creature, who then spoke, and said: "Why are you beating me?"
The weaver, surprised, replied: "I have never heard this jackal speak before!"
"That one has gone, and he tied me here in his place, and told me I should get all sorts of good things to eat; but if you will release me, I will arrange a marriage with a king's daughter for you."
"What!" said the man, "I am only a poor weaver, and can you really get me married to a king's daughter?"
"Yes," returned the jackal.
So the weaver released it, and turning itself into a Brahmin, it crossed the river and presented itself at the court of a certain rajah, to whom it said: "O king, I have found a rich weaver-caste rajah, who wishes your daughter's hand in marriage."
The rajah, much pleased, consented, and the Brahmin, on getting outside the palace, once more turned into a jackal, and returned to the weaver.
"Follow me," said he, "and I will take you to the king's daughter."
So the weaver took up his blanket, which was all he possessed. On their way they met a dhobie, or washerman, carrying his bundle of clothes. The jackal gave him a gold mohur, and told him to spread all the clean clothes he possessed upon the trees around.
Further on they met a cotton-beater, or man who, in the East, beats cotton and prepares it to make up into pillows and quilts; to him they also gave a gold mohur, and asked in return for several large balls of cotton.
These they carried on a large plate to the river; and the jackal, leaving the weaver, returned as a Brahmin to the rajah, who had seen the dhobie's clothes in the distance, and thought they were tents pitched by his daughter's future husband.
The jackal had told the weaver to watch, and, as soon as he saw him enter the Palace, he was to take large lumps of cotton and throw them one by one into the river, so that they might be seen floating down the stream.
"The bridegroom," explained the Brahmin, " has met with a terrible accident; all his possessions and his followers are lost in the river, and only he and I remain, dressed in the clothes in which we stand."
Then the rajah ordered his musicians and followers to come out, and go with horses in great pomp to bring the weaver, who was forthwith married to the princess.
After the marriage the Brahmin said: "This son-in-law of yours has lost all he had; what is the use of his returning to his country? Let him stay here with you."
To this the rajah, who loved his daughter, gladly consented, and gave them a fine house and grounds.
Now the weaver, who was not accustomed to good society, or to living with those above his station in life, made a salaam, or obeisance, such as a poor man is wont to do, to his wife every morning, and she began to suspect that he had deceived her, and was not a real rajah. So she asked him one day to tell her the whole truth about himself, and he did so.
"Well," said she, "you have owned it to me, but do not let my father or mother know; for now that I am married to you, things cannot be altered, and it is better that they should remain in ignorance; but whatever my father may ask you to do, promise me that you will do it, always answering 'Yes, I will,' to anything he may suggest."
To this the weaver agreed; and shortly afterwards the rajah called him and enquired if he was willing to help him, and, as promised, the man replied, "Yes, I will."
Then he went to his wife and told her, and she commended him.
Next day the king told him that two brothers, by name "Darya" and " Barjo," threatened to fight and take his kingdom from him, and he desired his son-in-law to go to the stables and select a horse on which to ride on the morrow to battle.
In the stables was a horse that was standing on three legs. "This," thought the weaver, "will just suit me, for it seems lame and has only three legs to go on, and making this an excuse, I'll keep behind all the rest, and out of danger."
Now this horse used to eat a quarter of a pound of opium daily, and could fly through the air, so that when the rajah heard of the selection he was very delighted, and said to himself: "What a clever man this is, that he is able to discover which is the best horse!"
The day following he had the horse brought round, and mounted it in fear and trembling, having himself securely tied on lest he should fall off, while, to weight himself equally, he fastened a small millstone on either side. As soon as the groom released the horse, it flew up into the air, then down again, and then up through the branches of trees, which broke off and clung to the weaver's arms and body, so that he presented a strange spectacle.
He was terrified, and kept on crying out: "O Darya! Barjo! for your sakes have I come to my death."
The two princes, Darya and Barjo, seeing this strange horse flying through the air, and hearing their names coming from a queer object all covered with branches of trees, were very much alarmed, and said: "If more come like this, we shall indeed be lost; one is enough for us."
So they wrote to the king, and said: "We have seen your warrior; stay in your country, and we will stay in ours. We cannot fight."
And they sent him a peace-offering.
When the rice was ready the woman carried some to her husband, and put it down in the field at a little distance from him, saying, "Here is your food. I cannot stay now."
In a little while, when the farmer went to look for his food, he found the pot empty. He was very angry at this, and when he got home in the evening sharply reproved his wife for playing tricks with him. She, of course, thought he was telling a lie, and felt very much aggrieved. On the following morning, before going out, he repeated his request that she would bring him some food, and not allow him to starve like a dog.
That day she carried a double quantity of rice to him in a large earthen pot, and put it down in the field again, saying, "Look now, here is your dinner. Don't say I did not bring it. I cannot stay, as there is nobody left to look after the house." Thus saying, she went.
In a little while a jackal came -- the same as came on the previous day and ate up the man's food -- and put its head into the pot. So eager was the beast to get at the rice, that it forced its head into the narrow neck of the pot, and could not take it out again. It was in a dreadful state. It ran about shaking its head and beating the pot against the ground to try and break it.
At last the farmer saw what was the matter, and came running up with a knife, and exclaiming, "You thief! You stole my dinner, did you?"
"Oh, let me go!" cried the jackal. "Get me out of this pot and I will give you anything you may wish for."
"Very well," said the farmer, and at once smashed the pot and extricated the animal.
"Thank you," said the jackal. "You shall not regret today's adventure." On this the beast wished the man "Good-day," and started for a king's palace some miles distant.
"O king," it said on entering the royal chamber, "give me permission and I will arrange for your daughter's marriage. Be not angry with me. I should not have presumed to speak to your majesty on this matter if I had not lately seen one who is worthy in every way of the hand of the princess."
"You can bring the man here," replied the king, "and I will see him."
Then the jackal immediately started back for the farmer's house, and entering, asked him to prepare himself quickly for a visit to the king of the neighboring country, who was desirous of seeing him with a view of making him his son-in-law. At first the farmer demurred, on account of his ignorance and poverty. How would he know what to say to a king? How would he know how to behave in the company of so high a personage? And whence could he obtain suitable clothes for the visit But eventually the jackal prevailed on him to accept the king's invitation, and promised to help him in every possible way.
So the jackal and the farmer started. When they arrived at the king's palace the jackal went in search of His Majesty, while the farmer squatted on the floor of the entrance-hall by the palace, where the shoes were kept, and waited.
"I have brought the man of whom I spoke to your majesty the other day," said the jackal, going up to the king. "He has come in ordinary clothes and without any retinue or show, as he thought your majesty would be inconvenienced by having to arrange accommodation for so many people. Your majesty must not be offended in this thing, but the rather should see in it a proof of the man's good sense."
"Most certainly," said the king, rising up. "Lead me to him."
"There he is," said the jackal.
"What! That man squatting by the shoes?" exclaimed His Majesty. "Friend, why do you sit in such a place?" he asked the farmer.
"It is a nice clean place, your majesty, and good enough for a poor man like me," replied the farmer."
Observe the humility of the man," interposed the jackal.
"You will stay in the palace this evening," said the king. "There are a few matters concerning which I wish to converse with you. Tomorrow, if convenient, I shall go and see your abode."
That evening the king, the farmer, and the jackal talked much together. As will be supposed, the farmer constantly betrayed his humble position, but the clever jackal contrived to arrange matters so that the king on the whole was rather favorable to the match.
But what about the morrow? The jackal had been revolving the matter over in its mind during the night. As soon as the king and the farmer started it asked for permission to go on ahead.
It ran as fast as it could to the farmer's house and set it on fire, and when they drew near, went forth to meet them, crying, "O king, come not any farther, I beseech you. The man's house and property are destroyed. Some enemy's hand must have done this. Both of you turn back, I pray you."
So the poor simple king turned back. In due time he married his daughter to the ignorant farmer.
When Juan had reached his twelfth year, his father died. Consequently the boy had to go to work to earn money for the support of himself and his mother. At first Juan followed the occupation of his father, that of fisherman; but, seeing that he made little money from this, he decided to become a farmer. His mother had now reached the age of seventy (!), and was often sick. Juan frequently had to neglect his farm in order to take care of her.
One day Juan went to Pit-Pit to buy medicine for his mother. On his way to the town he saw a flock of crows eating up his corn. He paid no attention to the birds; but on his way back, when he saw these same birds still eating his corn, he became angry. He picked up a stone about the size of his fist, and crept into a bush near by. He had hardly hidden himself when the birds heard a rustling, and began to fly off. Juan jumped up, and hurled his stone with such accuracy and force that one of the crows fell dead to the ground. He tied the dead crow to a bamboo pole, and planted it in the middle of his corn field. No sooner was he out of sight than the crows flew back to the field again; but when they saw their dead companion, they flew off, and never troubled Juan again.
For six months Juan had no trouble from birds. He did not know, however, that not far from his field there was a monkey (chongo) living in a large tree. This monkey used to come to his field every day and steal two or three ears of corn. One day, as Juan was walking across his field, he saw many dead cornstalks.
He said to himself, "I wonder who it is that comes here and steals my corn! I am no longer troubled by birds; and yet I find here many husks."
He went home and made an image of a crooked old man like himself. This he covered with sticky wax. He placed it in the middle of the field.
The next morning, when the sun was shining very brightly, the monkey felt hungry, so he ran towards the field to steal some corn to eat. There he saw the statue. Thinking that it was Juan, he decided to ask permission before he took any corn.
"Good-morning, Juan!" said the monkey in a courteous tone; but the image made no reply. "You are too proud to bend your neck, Juan," continued the monkey. "I have only come to ask you for three or four ears of corn. I have not eaten since yesterday, you know; and if you deny me this request, I shall die before morning."
The waxen statue still stood motionless.
"Do you hear me, Juan?" said the monkey impatiently.
Still the statue made no reply.
"Since you are too proud to answer me, I will soon give you some presents. Look out!" he cried, and with his right paw he slapped the statue which he thought was Juan; but his paw stuck to the wax, and he could not get free. "Let my hand loose!" the monkey shouted, "or you will get another present."
Then he slapped the statue with his left paw, and, as before, stuck fast.
"You are foolish, Juan. If you do not let me go this very moment, I'll kick you."
He did so, first with one foot, and then with the other. At last he could no longer move, and he began to curse the statue. Juan, who had been hiding in a bush near by, now presented himself, and said to the monkey, "Now I have caught you, you thief!"
He would have killed the monkey at once, had not the monkey begged for mercy, and promised that he would at some future time repay him for his kindness if he would only spare his life. So Juan set the monkey free.
It was now the month of April. The monkey, impatient to fulfil his word to Juan, went one day to the field, and there he found Juan hard at work.
"Good-morning, Master Juan!" he cried. "I see that you are busy."
"Busy indeed!" replied Juan.
"Master Juan, do you want to marry the king's daughter? If you do, I'll arrange everything for you," said the monkey.
Juan replied, "Yes," little thinking that what the monkey promised could be true.
The monkey scampered off towards the market. When he entered the market, he saw a boy counting his money. The monkey pretended to be looking in the other direction, but walked towards the boy. When he saw that the money was fairly within his reach, he seized it and ran back to Juan.
After telling his master what he had done, the monkey went to the king's palace, and said, "Sir, my master, Juan, wants to borrow your ganta, for he desires to measure his money."
The king gave him the ganta. In three days the monkey appeared at the palace again to return the measure, in the bottom of which he stuck three centavos.
"My master, Juan, thanks you for your kindness," said the monkey. The monkey was about to leave the room when the king perceived the three centavos sticking to the bottom of the measure.
"Here, monkey, here are your three cents!" said the king.
"Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!" answered the monkey, laughing, "my master cares not for three cents. He has too much money. He is very, very rich."
The king was much surprised to hear that there was a man richer than himself.
Two weeks later the monkey returned to the palace again, and said, "Pray, king, my master, Juan, desires to borrow your ganta again. He wants to finish measuring his money."
The king was filled with curiosity; and he said, "I'll let you borrow the ganta, monkey, but you must tell me first who is this Juan whom you call your master."
"My master, Juan," replied the monkey, "is the richest man in the world."
Before giving the measure to the monkey, the king went to his room and stuck four pieces of gold on the four corners of the ganta. "I'll find out who is the richer, Juan or I," he said to himself.
The monkey took the measure, and left the hall with a polite bow. As he was walking towards Juan's farm, the monkey noticed the four pieces of gold sticking to the corners of the ganta. He knew that they had been artfully placed there by the king himself. Two weeks later he went back to the palace to return the measure, not forgetting to stick a gold dollar on each corner.
"Good-afternoon, king!" said he, "my master, Juan, returns you your ganta with a thousand thanks."
"Very well," replied the king; "but tell me all about this master of yours who measures his money. I am a king; still I only count my money."
The monkey remained silent. Not receiving a prompt reply, the king turned to Cabal, one of his lords, and said in a whisper, "Do you know who this Juan is who measures his money?"
"I have not heard of him," replied the lord, "except from this monkey and yourself."
The king then turned to the monkey, and said, "Monkey, if you don't tell me who your master is, where he lives, and all about him, I'll hang you."
Doubtless the king was jealous of Juan because of his great wealth.
Fearing that he would lose his life, the monkey said to the king, "My master, Juan, the richest and best man in the world, lives in the town of XYZ. He goes to church every morning wearing his striped (tambi-tambi) clothes. This is why he is known among his people as Juan Pusong Tambi-Tambi. If you will just look out of your window tomorrow morning, you will see him pass by your garden."
The king's anger was appeased by this explanation. Early the next morning he was at his window, anxious to get a glimpse of Juan. He had not been there long when his attention was attracted by the appearance of a crooked man dressed in striped clothes.
"This must be the man whom the monkey described to me yesterday," he said to himself.
Soon his servant entered the room, and said, "The monkey desires to see you."
The king left the window and went to where the monkey was waiting for him. As soon as the monkey saw the king, he bowed politely, and said, "My master, Juan, sends me to tell you frankly that he loves your daughter, and that, if it pleases you, he will marry her."
At first the king was angry to hear these words; but, being very desirous to get more money, he at last consented without even asking his daughter.
"If my master does not call on you today, he will surely come tomorrow."
So saying, the monkey left the palace, and ran about town, trying to think of some way he might escape the great danger he was in. It so happened that an old man who was carrying a bundle of clothes to his son in the mountains passed along the same road where the monkey was. The sun was very hot, so the old man decided to rest under a leafy tree. No sooner was he seated there than the cunning monkey climbed the tree, and shook the branches with such force that twigs and fruits fell all around the old man. Panic-stricken, he ran away as fast as his feet would carry him, leaving everything behind him. When the man was out of sight, the monkey climbed down the tree, picked up the bundle of clothes, and carried it to Juan.
"Tomorrow, Juan," said the monkey, "you will marry the princess. I'll arrange everything for you if you will only follow my advice."
Half doubting and half believing, Juan asked the monkey if he really meant what he said.
"What do you think of me?" asked the monkey. Without waiting for a reply from Juan, the monkey left the hut, and ran towards the home of the Burincantadas who lived on the summit of the hill. As soon as he entered the gate, he began to scoop up the ground as fast as he could. The Burincantadas, who at that very moment were looking out of the window, saw the monkey.
They rushed downstairs, and, half frightened, said to him, "What are you trying to do?"
"Why, our king has been defeated in the war. The enemies have already taken possession of the crown. The princess is dead, and it is said that everybody will be killed before to morrow noon," replied the monkey, his teeth chattering. "I am resolved to hide myself under the ground to save my life."
The three Burincantadas seized him by the arm, and said, "For mercy's sake, have pity on us! Tell us where we can hide!"
They were already trembling with fear.
"Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! let me loose! The enemy are coming!"
On hearing these words, the Burincantadas all shouted at once, "Tell us where to hide!"
"If you will not let me scoop out a hole here, I'll jump into the well," said the monkey in a hoarse voice.
As soon as the Burincantadas heard the word "well," they all ran as fast as they could, following the monkey.
"Let me jump first!" said the monkey.
"No, let us jump first!" shouted the Burincantadas; and so they did. The monkey made a motion as if he were going to follow; but, instead, he lifted up the biggest stone he could find and threw it down the well.
"They are dead," he said to himself, laughing. "Ah, I have caught you! Ha, ha!"
The Burincantadas now being dead, the monkey was at leisure to decide what to do next. He entered their palace, and there he found everything magnificent.
"This is the very place where my master shall live!"
He opened the first room, but there he found nothing but bones. He closed the door and opened the second, where he found many prisoners who were waiting to be eaten. He set them all free, and told them to clean up the palace at once. The prisoners set to work, not forgetting to thank the monkey for his kindness.
Before he left the palace, he addressed the crowd as follows: "My brothers and sisters, if any one comes and asks you who your master is, tell him that he is Don Juan Pusong Tambi-Tambi."
Then he left the crowd of people busy cleaning the palace, and went to the farm, where he found thousands of horses, cows, and sheep.
"My master is indeed rich," he said to himself.
He called the shepherd who was lying under the tree, and said to him, "Tell your other companions that, if any one comes and asks whose animals these are, they must answer that they all belong to Don Juan Pusong. Don Juan is your master now."
After seeing that everything was in order, the monkey hastened to his master, who was still ploughing, and said, "Throw away your plough. Let's go to the king's palace, for tonight you will be married to the princess Doña Elena."
Night came. The palace was splendidly adorned. The princess was sitting by her father, when Don Juan, dressed in his striped clothes and accompanied by the monkey, entered the gate of the palace. Soon the priest came, and the princess was called to the reception-hall.
When she saw her bridegroom, she ran away in despair, and cried to her father, "Father, how dare you accept as my husband such a base, dirty, crooked man! Look at him! Why, he is the meanest of the mean."
But the king replied, "He is rich. If you don't marry him, I'll punish you very severely."
The princess had to obey her father; but, before giving her hand to Juan Pusong, she said, "O God! let me die."
When the marriage ceremony was over, the king called the monkey, and asked, "Where is the couple going to live?"
"In Don Juan's palace," was the reply of the monkey.
The king immediately ordered carriages to be gotten ready. Then they started on their journey. Four hours passed, and still no palace was to be seen.
The king became impatient, and said to the monkey, "Monkey, if what you have said to me is not true, your head shall answer for your lie."
Hardly had he said these words when he beheld before him a number of men watching a herd of cattle. "I wonder who owns these, monkey!" said the king.
The monkey made some signs, and soon three shepherds came running up to them.
"Good-evening, king!" they said.
"Good-evening!" replied the king. "Whose cattle are these?"
"They are all owned by Don Juan Pusong," said the shepherds.
The king nodded, and said to himself, "He is truly rich."
The palace was now in sight. The king could hardly express his joy on seeing such a magnificent building.
"Why, it is not a palace: it is heaven itself," he said. They were now upstairs. The king, on seeing still more beauties, said, "I confess, I am not the richest man on earth."
Soon he died of joy, and his body was placed in a golden coffin and buried in the church. The couple inherited his dominion; but Queen Elena could not endure her ugly husband, and two weeks later she died broken-hearted. So Juan was left as sole ruler of two kingdoms. The monkey became his chief minister.
This story shows that a compassionate man oftentimes gets his reward.
One morning some boys invited Andres to go to the woods with them to trap. When they got to the forest, his companions set their traps in the places where the wild chickens used to feed. Then they went home. In the afternoon they returned to the woods, where they found that each trap had caught a wild cock. Now Andres became envious of his companions: so when he reached home, he took his knife and made two traps of his own. After he had finished them, he ran to the forest and set them. Early the next morning he went to the woods to see if he had caught anything. There he found two wild cocks snared. He took them home, sold one, and ate the other for his dinner. When he had finished eating, he made many traps, which he set up that afternoon. From now on he made his living by trapping, often catching as many as fifteen birds in a day. From the money he earned he was able to feed himself and buy clothes.
One day, after Andres had been a trapper for many years, he went to the forest, as usual, to see what he had caught. He found that his traps had been moved, and that in one of them was a big monkey caught by the leg.
As Andres was about to kill the monkey with a big stick which he picked up, the animal said to him, "My dear Andres, don't harm me! and I will be your helper by and by."
Andres was much astonished to hear the monkey talk. He was moved to pity, and set the animal free. When he started toward his home, the monkey followed him. From now on they lived together. Soon the monkey learned how to sell wild chickens in the market.
Now, in that town there lived a very rich man by the name of Toribio, who had a daughter named Aning. The people considered Aning the most beautiful lady in the province. However, none of the young men of the town courted Aning, for they felt unworthy and ashamed to woo the richest and most beautiful girl.
One fine day the monkey went to town and sold wild chickens, as usual. On his way home he stopped at Don Toribio's house. Don Toribio asked what he wanted, and the monkey said that his master had sent him to borrow their money-measure.
"Who is your master?" said Don Toribio.
"Don't you know? Don Andres, a very rich, handsome young gentleman who lives in the valley of Obong," said the monkey.
Don Toribio at once lent the ganta-measure to the monkey, who thanked him and hurried home. Before he returned it to the owner the next morning, he put a peso, a fifty-centavo piece, a peseta, and a media-peseta in the cracks of the measure.
When the monkey handed the ganta back to Don Toribio, the man said, "Why do you return it? Has your master finished measuring his money?"
"No, sir!" said the monkey, "we have not finished; but this box is too small, and it takes us too long to measure with it."
"Well," said Don Toribio, "we have a bigger one than that; do you want to borrow it?"
"Yes, I do, if you will let me keep it till tomorrow," said the monkey.
Don Toribio then brought a cavan, which equals about twenty-five gantas.
When the monkey reached home carrying the large measure, Andres said to him, "Where did you get that box?"
The monkey said that it had been lent to him by the richest man in the town.
"What did you tell the man that you were going to do with it?" said Andres. " I told him that you wanted to count your money," said the monkey.
"Ah, me!" said Andres, "what money are you going to count? Don't you know that we are very poor?"
"Let me manage things, Andres," said the monkey, "and I promise you that you shall marry the beautiful daughter of the rich man."
The following day Andres caught many wild chickens. When the monkey had sold them all in the market, he went back to their hut, and took the cavan which he had borrowed. Before returning it to Don Toribio, he stuck money in the cracks, as he had done to the first measure.
"Good-morning, Don Toribio!" said the monkey.
Don Toribio was sitting in a chair by the door of his house.
"Good-morning, monkey! How do you do?" replied the rich man. "Have you come to return the box?"
"Yes, sir!" said the monkey. "We have finished. My master sends his thanks to you."
When Don Toribio took the box and saw the money inside, he told the monkey about it; but the monkey said, "Never mind! we have plenty more in our house."
"I am the richest man in town, yet I cannot throw money away like the master of this fellow," said Don Toribio to himself. "Perhaps he is even richer than I am."
When the monkey was about to take his leave, the rich man told him to tell his master to come there on the third day. The monkey said that he would, and thanked Don Toribio for the invitation.
On his way home, the monkey stopped at the market to buy a pair of shoes, some ready-made clothes, and a hat for Andres. He took these things home to his master, and in three days had taught Andres how to walk easily with shoes on, how to speak elegantly, how to eat with a spoon and fork and knife, and how to tell Don Toribio that he wanted to marry his daughter.
When the time came, Andres and the monkey set out for the town. They were welcomed by Don Toribio and his daughter Aning. After a short talk, Andres spoke of his purpose in coming there. He said that he wanted to marry Don Toribio's daughter. Don Toribio gladly accepted the offer, and said that the wedding would be held the next morning. Hasty preparations were made for the ceremony. In the morning a priest came, and Andres and Aning were married. Many guests were present, and everybody had a good time.
A few years later Don Toribio died, and Andres inherited all his wealth. He then became a very rich man.
Revised December 24, 2016.