GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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whatever he asked for his scythe. Then he said he would be satis­fied with as much gold as a horse could carry, and this they readily gave him.
After seeing the success of his brother, the youngest thought he would try his fortune with puss, if he could find the right way. So he went away as the others had done, but as long as he re­mained inland, it was all useless. There were cats in every town, and in some places so numerous that the kittens were always drowned as soon as they were born.
At last he took ship, and crossed over to an island, and came luckily to a place where they had never even seen a cat, and the mice had so gained the upper-hand that they did as they pleased. They invaded the larder, and scampered over the tables and chairs in the rooms, whether the master was present or not. ! The people complained terribly all over the place. The king, even in his castle, could do nothing to remove them, for in every corner, whether of cottage or castle, the mice picked and gnawed everything which their teeth could lay hold of. Then the young man sent his cat amongst them, and she soon cleared several houses of the mice, by killing them or driving them away.
The people upon this hastened to the king, and begged him to buy the wonderful animal for the sake of his kingdom. The king was quite willing to give what the owner asked, and the young man returned home with the largest treasure of them all—he had as much gold as a mule could carry. The cat made herself quite at home in the king's castle; she had mice to her heart's desire, and killed more than they were able to count. At last such hard work made her thirsty, so she stood still, lifted up her head, and cried, " Mew—mew."
The king immediately sent for all his attendants, and, as puss again uttered the same cry, they were quite frightened, and rushed away from the castle.
Then the king held a council as to what was best to be done. At last it was resolved to send a herald to the cat, to request her to leave the castle, or, if she would not go, to expel her by force.
€t For," said the judge, " it would have been better to dwell as we did before—plagued by mice, and endure the evil—than have our lives sacrificed to such a monster."
A page was therefore told to go to the cat, and ask her if she