THE NUNDA, EATER OF PEOPLE 257
and told the sultan, but he answered, ' The cat is mine, and the calf mine,' and the man dared not complain further.
Two days after, the cat caught a cow, and the sultan was told, ' Master, the cat has caught a cow,' but he only said, ' It was my cow and my cat.'
And the cat waited a few days, and then it caught a donkey, and they told the sultan, ' Master, the cat has caught a donkey,' and he said, 'My cat and my donkey.' Next it was a horse, and after that a camel, and when the sultan was told he said, ' You don't like this cat, and want me to kill it. And I shall not kill it. Let it eat the camel: let it even eat a man.'
And it waited till the next day, and caught some one's child. And the sultan was told, ' The cat has caught a child.' And he said, ' The cat is mine and the child mine.' Then it caught a grown-up man.
After that the cat left the town and took up its abode in a thicket near the road. So if any one passed, going for water, it devoured him. If it saw a cow going to feed, it devoured him. If it saw a goat, it devoured him. Whatever went along that road the cat caught and ate.
Then the people went to the sultan in a body, and told him of all the misdeeds of that cat. But he answered as before, ' The cat is mine and the people are mine.' And no man dared kill the cat, which grew bolder and bolder, and at last came into the town to look for its prey.
One day, the sultan said to his six sons, ' I am going into the country, to see how the wheat is growing, and you shall come with me.' They went on merrily along the road, till they came to a thicket, when out sprang the cat, and killed three of the sons.
' The cat! The cat! ' shrieked the soldiers who were with him. And this time the sultan said:
' Seek for it and kill it. It is no longer a cat, but a demon!'