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The Cat's Elopement

from The Pink Fairy Book





[From the Japanische Marchen und Sagen, von David Brauns (Leipzig:
Wilhelm Friedrich).]


Once upon a time there lived a cat of marvellous beauty, with a skin as
soft and shining as silk, and wise green eyes, that could see even in
the dark. His name was Gon, and he belonged to a music teacher, who
was so fond and proud of him that he would not have parted with him for
anything in the world.

Now not far from the music master's house there dwelt a lady who
possessed a most lovely little pussy cat called Koma. She was such a
little dear altogether, and blinked her eyes so daintily, and ate her
supper so tidily, and when she had finished she licked her pink nose so
delicately with her little tongue, that her mistress was never tired of
saying, 'Koma, Koma, what should I do without you?'

Well, it happened one day that these two, when out for an evening
stroll, met under a cherry tree, and in one moment fell madly in love
with each other. Gon had long felt that it was time for him to find a
wife, for all the ladies in the neighbourhood paid him so much attention
that it made him quite shy; but he was not easy to please, and did not
care about any of them. Now, before he had time to think, Cupid had
entangled him in his net, and he was filled with love towards Koma. She
fully returned his passion, but, like a woman, she saw the difficulties
in the way, and consulted sadly with Gon as to the means of overcoming
them. Gon entreated his master to set matters right by buying Koma, but
her mistress would not part from her. Then the music master was asked to
sell Gon to the lady, but he declined to listen to any such suggestion,
so everything remained as before.

At length the love of the couple grew to such a pitch that they
determined to please themselves, and to seek their fortunes together.
So one moonlight night they stole away, and ventured out into an unknown
world. All day long they marched bravely on through the sunshine, till
they had left their homes far behind them, and towards evening they
found themselves in a large park. The wanderers by this time were very
hot and tired, and the grass looked very soft and inviting, and the
trees cast cool deep shadows, when suddenly an ogre appeared in this
Paradise, in the shape of a big, big dog! He came springing towards them
showing all his teeth, and Koma shrieked, and rushed up a cherry tree.
Gon, however, stood his ground boldly, and prepared to give battle, for
he felt that Koma's eyes were upon him, and that he must not run away.
But, alas! his courage would have availed him nothing had his enemy once
touched him, for he was large and powerful, and very fierce. From her
perch in the tree Koma saw it all, and screamed with all her might,
hoping that some one would hear, and come to help. Luckily a servant of
the princess to whom the park belonged was walking by, and he drove off
the dog, and picking up the trembling Gon in his arms, carried him to
his mistress.

So poor little Koma was left alone, while Gon was borne away full of
trouble, not in the least knowing what to do. Even the attention paid
him by the princess, who was delighted with his beauty and pretty ways,
did not console him, but there was no use in fighting against fate, and
he could only wait and see what would turn up.

The princess, Gon's new mistress, was so good and kind that everybody
loved her, and she would have led a happy life, had it not been for a
serpent who had fallen in love with her, and was constantly annoying her
by his presence. Her servants had orders to drive him away as often as
he appeared; but as they were careless, and the serpent very sly, it
sometimes happened that he was able to slip past them, and to frighten
the princess by appearing before her. One day she was seated in her
room, playing on her favourite musical instrument, when she felt
something gliding up her sash, and saw her enemy making his way to kiss
her cheek. She shrieked and threw herself backwards, and Gon, who had
been curled up on a stool at her feet, understood her terror, and with
one bound seized the snake by his neck. He gave him one bite and one
shake, and flung him on the ground, where he lay, never to worry the
princess any more. Then she took Gon in her arms, and praised and
caressed him, and saw that he had the nicest bits to eat, and the
softest mats to lie on; and he would have had nothing in the world to
wish for if only he could have seen Koma again.

Time passed on, and one morning Gon lay before the house door, basking
in the sun. He looked lazily at the world stretched out before him,
and saw in the distance a big ruffian of a cat teasing and ill-treating
quite a little one. He jumped up, full of rage, and chased away the big
cat, and then he turned to comfort the little one, when his heart nearly
burst with joy to find that it was Koma. At first Koma did not know him
again, he had grown so large and stately; but when it dawned upon her
who it was, her happiness knew no bounds. And they rubbed their heads
and their noses again and again, while their purring might have been
heard a mile off.

Paw in paw they appeared before the princess, and told her the story of
their life and its sorrows. The princess wept for sympathy, and promised
that they should never more be parted, but should live with her to the
end of their days. By-and-bye the princess herself got married, and
brought a prince to dwell in the palace in the park. And she told him
all about her two cats, and how brave Gon had been, and how he had
delivered her from her enemy the serpent.

And when the prince heard, he swore they should never leave them, but
should go with the princess wherever she went. So it all fell out as
the princess wished; and Gon and Koma had many children, and so had the
princess, and they all played together, and were friends to the end of
their lives.





Next: How The Dragon Was Tricked

Previous: Raggedy Ann's New Sisters



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