SHIVER AND SHAKE. 27
"What a fool you must be, then," cried Hans, "to stay out there in the cold; come and seat yourself by the fire, and get warm if you will."
As he spoke, two very large black cats sprung forward furiously, seated themselves on each side of the fire, and stared at him with wild, fiery eyes. After a while, when the cats became thoroughly warm, they spoke, and said, " Comrade, will you have a game of cards?"
" With all my heart," answered Hans; " but first stretch out your feet, and let me examine your claws."
The cats stretched out their paws. " Ah !" said he, "what long nails you have, and now that I have seen your fingers, I would rather be excused from playing cards with you."
Then he killed them both, and threw them out of the window into the moat. As soon as he had settled these two intruders, he seated himself again by the fire, hoping to have a little rest; but in a few moments there rushed out from every corner of the room black cats and black dogs in a fiery chain pne after another, till there seemed no end to them. They mewed, and barked, and growled, and at length jumped on his fire and scattered it about the room, as if they wished to put it out.
For awhile he watched them in silence, till at last he got angry, and seizing his cutting-board, exclaimed, "Be off! you horrid creatures!" and then rushing after them, he chased them round the room. Some few escaped in the clamour, but the rest he killed with his cutting-board, and threw into the moat
As soon as he had cleared the room, he rekindled his fire, by gathering the sparks together, and sat down to warm himself in the blaze. After a time he began to feel so sleepy that his eyes would not keep open any longer; so he looked round the room, and espied in a corner a large bed. "That is the very place for rae," he said, rising, and laying himself upon it; but just as he was closing his eyes to sleep, the bed began to move about the room, and at last increased its speed, and went off at a gallop through the castle.
"All right," cried Hans, "now, go on again." At this the bed started off, as if six horses were harnessed to it, through the doorway, down the steps, to the great gates of the castle, against which it came with a great bump, and tumbled, legs uppermost, throwing all the pillows and blankets on Hans, who lay underneath, aa