THE MILLERS BOY AND HIS CAT.
Hans, however, would go with them, and as night came on they arrived at a cave, in which they laid themselves down to sleep. The two elder youths, who fancied themselves very clever, waited till Hans was asleep, and then rose up and ran away as fast as they could, leaving him behind alone, and thought they had managed most cleverly to get rid of him.
Hans awoke with the sun, and found himself lying in a'deep hole, and after looking all about him, and seeing no one near, he exclaimed : "Oh, dear ! where am I?" Then he roused himself and scrambled out of the hole, and wandered into the wood. "Ah," he thought, " here I am in the wood quite forsaken and alone. How am I ever to find a horse ?"
As he walked on in deep thought, a little tabby cat met him, and said to him in a most friendly manner: " Hans, what can I do for you ?"
" Ah," he replied, " you can't help me, puss."
" Well," she said, " I know exactly what you are longing for : you want a beautiful horse. Come with me, then, and be my true knight for seven years, and I will give you one more beautiful than you have ever seen in all your life."
" This is a wonderful cat," thought Hans : " however, I will see if what she says is true."
Then she took him with her to a little enchanted castle, in which there were nothing but cats as servants, who waited upon the tabby cat. They sprung nimbly up the steps before the visitor, and seemed good-natured, merry creatures.
In the evening, while the mistress and Hans sat at supper, three of them came in and performed music. One played the violin, another the bass-viol, and the third blew out his cheeks as much as possible in playing the bugle. When supper was ended, the other cats cleared the table and moved it away.
Then said the mistress cat: " Come, Hans, we will have a dance : will you dance with me ?"
11 No," he replied; " I could not dance with a pussy-cat—I never did such a thing in my life."
" Oh, well, never mind," she said, and told the other cats to take him to bed. They lighted him to a little sleeping-room : and then one pulled off his shoes, another his stockings, and as soon as he was in bed, they blew out the light and left him.