THE GREEDY CAT (Scandinavia)

ONCE on a time there was a man who had a Cat, and she was so awfully big, and such a beast to eat, he couldn't keep her any longer. So she was to go down to the river with a stone round her neck, but before she started she was to have a meal of meat. So the goody set before her a bowl of porridge and a little trough of fat. That the creature crammed into her, and ran off and jumped through the window. Outside stood the goodman by the barn-door threshing.

"Good day, goodman," said the Cat.

"Good day, pussy," said the goodman; "have you had any food to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge and a trough of fat--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too," and so she took the goodman and gobbled him up.

When she had done that, she went into the byre, and there sat the goody milking.

"Good day, goody," said the Cat.

"Good day, pussy," said the goody; "are you here, and have you eaten up your food yet?"

"Oh, I've eaten a little to-day, but I'm 'most fasting," said pussy; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too," and so she took the goody and gobbled her up.

"Good day, you cow at the manger," said the Cat to Daisy the cow.

"Good day, pussy," said the bell-cow; "have you had any food to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "I've only had a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too," and so she took the cow and gobbled her up.

Then off she set into the home-field, and there stood a man picking up leaves.

"Good day, you leaf-picker in the field," said the Cat.

"Good day, pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?" said the leaf-picker.

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and Daisy the cow--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too." So she took the leaf-picker and gobbled him up.

Then she came to a heap of stones, and there stood a stoat and peeped out.

"Good day, Mr. Stoat of Stoneheap," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too." So she took the stoat and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a bit farther, she came to a hazel-brake, and there sat a squirrel gathering nuts.

"Good day, Sir Squirrel of the Brake," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too." So she took the squirrel and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a little farther, she saw Reynard the fox, who was prowling about by the woodside.

"Good day, Reynard Slyboots," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too." So she took Reynard and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a little farther she met Long Ears, the hare.

"Good day, Mr. Hopper the hare," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too." So she took the hare and gobbled him up.

When she had gone a bit farther she met a wolf.

"Good day, you Greedy Graylegs," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare--and, now I think of it, I may as well take you too." So she took and gobbled up Graylegs too.

So she went on into the wood, and when she had gone far and farther than far, o'er hill and dale, she met a bear-cub.

"Good day, you bare-breeched bear," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy," said the bear-cub; "have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf--and, now I think of it, I may as well take you too." And so she took the bear-cub and gobbled him up.

When the Cat had gone a bit farther, she met a she-bear, who was tearing away at a stump till the splinters flew, so angry was she at having lost her cub.

"Good day, you Mrs. Bruin," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too," and so she took Mrs. Bruin and gobbled her up, too.

When the Cat got still farther on, she met Baron Bruin himself.

"Good day, you Baron Bruin," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy," said Bruin; "have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and the she-bear--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too," and so she took Bruin and ate him up too.

So the Cat went on and on, and farther than far, till she came to the abodes of men again, and there she met a bridal train on the road.

"Good day, you bridal train on the king's highway," said she.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and the she-bear, and the he-bear--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too," and so she rushed at them, and gobbled up both the bride and bridegroom, and the whole train, with the cook and the fiddler, and the horses and all.

When she had gone still farther, she came to a church, and there she met a funeral.

"Good day, you funeral train," said she.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and the she-bear, and the he-bear, and the bride and bridegroom, and the whole train--and, now, I don't mind if I take you too," and so she fell on the funeral train and gobbled up both the body and the bearers.

Now when the Cat had got the body in her, she was taken up to the sky, and when she had gone a long, long way, she met the moon.

"Good day, Mrs. Moon," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and the she-bear, and the he-bear, and the bride and bridegroom, and the whole train, and the funeral train--and, now I think of it, I don't mind if I take you too," and so she seized hold of the moon, and gobbled her up, both new and full.

So the Cat went a long way still, and then she met the sun.

"Good day, you sun in heaven."

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy," said the sun; "have you had anything to eat to-day?"

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting," said the Cat; "it was only a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody, and the cow, and the leaf-picker, and the stoat, and the squirrel, and the fox, and the hare, and the wolf, and the bear-cub, and the she-bear, and the he-bear, and the bride and bridegroom, and the whole train, and the funeral train, and the moon--and, now I think of it, I don't mind if I take you too," and so she rushed at the sun in heaven and gobbled him up.

So the cat went far and farther than far, till she came to a bridge, and on it she met a big billy-goat.

"Good day, you Billy-goat on Broad-bridge," said the Cat.

"Good day, Mrs. Pussy; have you had anything to eat to-day?" said the billy-goat.

"Oh, I've had a little, but I'm 'most fasting; I've only had a bowl of porridge, and a trough of fat, and the goodman, and the goody in the byre, and Daisy the cow at the manger, and the leaf-picker in the home-field, and Mr. Stoat of Stoneheap, and Sir Squirrel of the Brake, and Reynard Slyboots, and Mr. Hopper the hare, and Greedy Graylegs the wolf, and Bare-breech the bear-cub, and Mrs. Bruin, and Baron Bruin, and a bridal train on the king's highway, and a funeral at the church, and Lady Moon in the sky, and Lord Sun in heaven--and, now I think of it, I'll take you too."

"That we'll fight about," said the billy-goat, and butted at the Cat till she fell right over the bridge into the river, and there she burst.

So they all crept out one after the other, and went about their business, and were just as good as ever, all that the Cat had gobbled up. The goodman of the house, and the goody in the byre, and Daisy the cow at the manger, and the leaf-picker in the home-field, and Mr. Stoat of Stoneheap, and Sir Squirrel of the Brake, and Reynard Slyboots, and Mr. Hopper the hare, and Greedy Graylegs the wolf, and Bare-breech the bear-cub, and Mrs. Bruin, and Baron Bruin, and the bridal train on the highway, and the funeral train at the church, and Lady Moon in the sky, and Lord Sun in heaven.



--Tales of Laughter (1902), eds. Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith



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