378 THE MILLER'S BOY AND HIS CAT
The next morning they came again and helped him out of bed: one pulled on his stockings, another tied on his garters, and a third washed his face, while a fourth dried it with her tail.
"That is certainly a very soft towel," he said to himself, and went to his breakfast
During each day the cats had to cut up wood into little pieces, as well as wait upon their mistress, and for this purpose they had an axe and a wedge of silver, and a chopper of gold. But at first Hans did very little; he remained in the house, had plenty of good eating and drinking, and saw no one but the tabby cat and her domestics.
At last one day she said to him : " Go out into my meadow, Hans, and mow the grass, and make it into hay." And for this purpose she gave him a silver scythe, and a gold whetstone and rake, and told him to be sure to bring them back again safely.
Away went Hans, and soon accomplished his task, bringing home the hay and the tools to the house as he had been told.
" Am I to have my reward now ?" he asked.
" No," she replied ; " you must do something else for me first. You will find timber outside, and carpenter's tools all of silver, and everything necessary for building, so I want you to build me a house."
Hans set to work and soon built the house, and when it was finished, he said ; " I have done all you told me, but still there is no horse for me."
By this time the seven years had really gone by, so the cat asked him if he would like to see his horse.
" Yes, indeed," he replied.
So she led him out to the door, and when it was opened he saw standing before it twelve horses. Ah, how proud and spirited they looked ! and their skins shone and glittered so brightly that his heart was in his mouth for joy.
After he had admired them, the cat took him into the castle, gave him a good dinner, and said : " I shall not give you the horse yet; but you must go home, and in three days I will come myself and bring it to you."
So she started him off, and herself showed him the way back to the mill.
During the time he had stayed with her, however, she had