THE MILLER'S BOY AND HIS CAT
given him no new clothes ; so that he was obliged to wear those he had brought with him, and a smock frock, which was not only too short and small for him, but all in rags. When he reached home he found the two other lads had returned and brought their horses with them; but although they looked sleek and fine, one was lame and the other blind.
" Well, Hans," they said when they saw him, " where is your horse ?"
" It will be here in three days," he replied.
They laughed at him and said, "Ah, that is very likely; just catch any fine horses coming here for you."
Hans said nothing, but went into the room; and when the miller saw him, he cried, " You shall not sit at the table with us in such a torn and ragged condition ; if any one should come in I should be ashamed to see you here." So they gave him something to eat outside.
When evening came, the other apprentices would not let him sleep in the same room with them, so he was obliged to go out and creep into the hen-house and lie down on the straw.
The third morning came, and very early, not long after they were all up, a splendid carriage drawn by six horses drove to the door. The horses were as beautiful and as sleek as those Hans had seen, and their harness glittered in the light. But with the carriage were several servants, and one of them led a most beautiful horse, which was for the poor miller's boy.
The carriage stopped, and a beautiful princess alighted, who was no other than the tabby cat whom Hans had released from enchantment, by serving her willingly for seven years. She entered the mill and asked the miller where his youngest apprentice was.
"We cannot have him in the mill now," he replied, "he is so torn and ragged ; he is outside in the hen-house."
" I will fetch him myself then," said the princess. So she called her servants, and they followed her, with new and elegant clothes, and told them to lead him to the house, and desire him to throw off the rags and the old smock frock, and wash and dress himself in the new attire ; and when he had done so no prince could look more elegant.
Meanwhile, the princess returned to the mill and asked to see the horses which the other apprentices had brought, and she founcl