The Cat's Elopement

: 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.