THE CAT WHO MARRIED A MOUSE.
The cat did not reply, and for a time all went on as usual till another longing fit made him rub his whiskers, and think of the jar of meat. "Mousey," said he one day, "of all good things there are always three : do you know I have had a third invitation to be godfather? and this time the little kitten is quite black, without a single white hair on its whole body; such a thing has not happened in our family for many years, so you will let me go, won't you ? *
" Top-off, and Half-gone, are such curious names, Tom," replied the mouse, "that they are enough to make one suspicious."
"Oh, nonsense!" replied the cat, "what can you know about names, staying at home here all day long in your grey coat and soft fur, with nothing to do but to catch crickets ? you can know very little of what men do in the world."
Poor little Mousey was silent, and she patiently remained at home during the absence of the greedy, deceitful cat, who this time feasted himself secretly till he had quite cleaned out the jar, and left it empty.
" When all is gone, then one can rest," said he to himself, as he returned home at night quite fat and sleek.
"Well, Tom," said the mouse, as soon as she saw him, "and what is the name of this third child ? "
" I hope you will be pleased at last," he said; " it is named All-gone"
"All-gone!" cried the mouse, "that is the most suspicious name yet; I can scarcely believe it; what does it mean ?" Then she shook her head, rolled herself up, and went to sleep.
After this, Tom was not invited to any more christenings; but, as the winter came on, and in the night no provisions could be found, the mouse thought of the careful store they had laid up for the winter, and said to the cat, "Come, Tom, let us fetch the jar of meat from the church, it will be such a nice relish for us."
"Ah, yes," he replied; "it will be a nice relish to you, I dare say, when you stretch out your fine little tongue to taste it!" So he took himself out of the way, and Mousey went to the church by herself. But what was her vexation at finding the jar still standing in the same place, but quite empty.
Then she returned home, and found Tom looking as if he did not care, although he was at first rather ashamed to face her.