The Earl Of Cattenborough

: Europa's Fairy Book

Once upon a time there was a miller who had three sons, Charles, Sam,

and John. And every night when the servant went to bed he used to call


"Good-night, Missus; good-night, Master; Good-night, Charles, Sam,


Now after a time the miller's wife died, and, soon after, the miller,

leaving only the mill, the donkey, and the cat. And Charles, as the

eldest, took the mill,
nd Sam took the donkey and went off with it,

and John was left with only the cat.

Now how do you think the cat used to help John to live? She used to

take a bag with a string around the top and place it with some cheese

in the bushes, and when a hare or a partridge would come and try to

get the piece of cheese--snap! Miss Puss would draw the string and

there was the hare or partridge for Master Jack to eat. One day two

hares happened to rush into the bag at the same time. So the cat,

after giving one to Jack, took the other and went with it to the

King's palace. And when she came outside the palace gate she cried

out, "Miaou."

The sentry at the gate came to see what was the matter. Miss Puss gave

him the hare with a bow and said: "Give this to the King with the

compliments of the Earl of Cattenborough."

The King liked jugged hare very much and was glad to get such a fine


Shortly after this Miss Puss found a gold coin rolling in the dirt.

And she went up to the palace and asked the sentry if he would lend

her a corn measure.

The sentry asked who wanted it. And Puss said: "My Master, the Earl of


So the sentry gave her the corn measure. And a little while afterwards

she took it back with the gold coin, which she had found, fixed in a

crack in the corn measure.

So the King was told that the Earl of Cattenborough measured his gold

in a corn measure. When the King heard this he told the sentry that if

such a thing happened again he was to deliver a message asking the

Earl to come and stop at the palace.

Some time after the cat caught two partridges, and took one of them to

the palace. And when she called out, "Miaou," and presented it to the

sentry, in the name of the Earl of Cattenborough, the sentry told her

that the King wished to see the Earl at his palace.

So Puss went back to Jack and said to him: "The King desires to see

the Earl of Cattenborough at his palace."

"What is that to do with me?" said Jack.

"Oh, you can be the Earl of Cattenborough if you like. I'll help you."

"But I have no clothes, and they'll soon find out what I am when I


"As for that," said Miss Puss, "I'll get you proper clothes if you do

what I tell you; and when you come to the palace I will see that you

do not make any mistakes."

So next day she told Jack to take off his clothes and hide them under

a big stone and dip himself into the river. And while he was doing

this she went up to the palace gate and said: "Miaou, miaou, miaou!"

And when the sentry came to the gate she said: "My Master, the Earl of

Cattenborough, has been robbed of all he possessed, even of his

clothes, and he is hiding in the bramble bush by the side of the

river. What is to be done? What is to be done?"

The sentry went and told the King. And the King gave orders that a

suitable suit of clothes, worthy of an Earl, should be sent to Master

Jack, who soon put them on and went to the King's palace accompanied

by Puss. When they got there they were introduced into the chamber of

the King, who thanked Jack for his kind presents.

Miss Puss stood forward and said: "My Master, the Earl of

Cattenborough, desires to state to your Majesty that there is no need

of any thanks for such trifles."

The King thought it was very grand of Jack not to speak directly to

him, and summoned his lord chamberlain, and from that time onward only

spoke through him. Thus, when they sat down to dinner with the Queen

and the Princess, the King would say to his chamberlain, "Will the

Earl of Cattenborough take a potato?"

Whereupon Miss Puss would bow and say: "The Earl of Cattenborough

thanks his Majesty and would be glad to partake of a potato."

The King was so much struck by Jack's riches and grandeur, and the

Princess was so pleased with his good looks and fine dress that it was

determined that he should marry the Princess.

But the King thought he would try and see if he were really so nobly

born and bred as he seemed. So he told his servants to put a mean

truckle bed in the room in which Jack was to sleep, knowing that no

noble would put up with such a thing.

When Miss Puss saw this bed she at once guessed what was up. And when

Jack began to undress to get into bed, she made him stop, and called

the attendants to say that he could not sleep in such a bed.

So they took him into another bedroom, where there was a fine

four-poster with a dais, and everything worthy of a noble to sleep

upon. Then the King became sure that Jack was a real noble, and

married him soon to his daughter the Princess.

After the wedding feast was over the King told Jack that he and the

Queen and the Princess would come with him to his castle of

Cattenborough, and Jack did not know what to do. But Miss Puss told

him it would be all right if he only didn't speak much while on the

journey. And that suited Jack very well.

So they all set out in a carriage with four horses, and with the

King's life-guards riding around it. But Miss Puss ran on in front of

the carriage, and when she came to a field where men were mowing down

the hay she pointed to the life-guards riding along, and said: "Men,

if you do not say that this field belongs to the Earl of Cattenborough

those soldiers will cut you to pieces with their swords."

So when the carriage came along the King called one of the men to the

side of it and said, "Whose is this field?"

And the man said, "It belongs to the Earl of Cattenborough."

And the King turned to his son-in-law and said, "I did not know that

you had estates so near us."

And Jack said, "I had forgotten it myself."

And this only confirmed the King in his idea about Jack's great


A little farther on there was another great field in which men were

raking hay. And Miss Puss spoke to them as before. So, when the

carriage came up, they also declared that this field belonged to the

Earl of Cattenborough. And so it went on through the whole drive. Then

the King said, "Let us now go to your castle."

Then Jack looked at Miss Puss, and she said: "If your Majesty will but

wait an hour I will go on before and order the castle to be made ready

for you."

With that she jumped away and went to the castle of a great ogre and

asked to see him. When she came into his presence she said:

"I have come to give you warning. The King with all his army is coming

to the castle and will batter its walls down and kill you if he finds

you here."

"What shall I do? What shall I do?" said the ogre.

"Is there no place where you can hide yourself?"

"I am too big to hide," said the ogre, "but my mother gave me a

powder, and when I take that I can make myself as small as I like."

"Well, why not take it now?" said the cat.

And with that he took the powder and shrunk into a little body no

bigger than a mouse. And thereupon Miss Puss jumped upon him and ate

him all up, and then went down into the great yard of the castle and

told the guards that it now belonged to her Master the Earl of

Cattenborough. Then she ordered them to open the gates and let in the

King's carriage, which came along just then.

The King was delighted to find what a fine castle his son-in-law

possessed, and left his daughter the Princess with him at the castle

while he drove back to his own palace. And Jack and the Princess

lived happily in the castle.

But one day Miss Puss felt very ill and lay down as if dead, and the

chamberlain of the castle went to Jack and said:

"My lord, your cat is dead."

And Jack said: "Well, throw her out on the dunghill."

But Miss Puss, when she heard it, called out: "Had you not better

throw me into the mill stream?"

And Jack remembered where he had come from and was frightened that the

cat would say. So he ordered the physician of the castle to attend to

her, and ever after gave her whatever she wanted.

And when the King died he succeeded him, and that was the end of the

Earl of Cattenborough.