Italian Popular Tales
by Thomas Crane
Cat and the Mouse
ONCE upon a time there was a cat that wanted to get married. So she stood on a corner, and every one who passed by said, "Little Cat, what's the matter?"
"What's the matter? I want to marry."
A dog passed by and said, "Do you want me?"
"When I see how you can sing."
The dog said, "Bow, wow!"
"Fy! What horrid singing! I don't want you."
A pig passed. "Do you want me, Little Cat?"
"When I see how you sing."
"Fy! You are horrid! Go away! I don't want you."
A calf passed and said, "Little Cat, will you take me?"
"When I see how you sing."
"Go away, for you are horrid! What do you want of me?"
A mouse passed by: "Little Cat, what are you doing ?"
"I am going to get married."
"Will you take me?"
"And how can you sing?"
The cat accepted him, and said, "Let us go and be married, for you please me." So they were married.
One day the cat went to buy some pastry, and left the mouse at home.
"Don't stir out, for I am going to buy some pastry."
The mouse went into the kitchen, saw the pot on the fire, and crept into it, for he wanted to eat the beans. But he did not; for the pot began to boil, and the mouse stayed there. The cat came back and began to cry; but the mouse did not appear. So the cat put the pastry in the pot for dinner. When it was ready the cat ate, and put some on a plate for the mouse also. When she took out the pastry she saw the mouse stuck fast in it.
"Ah! my little mouse! Ah! my little mouse!" So she went and sat behind the door, lamenting the mouse.
"What is the matter," said the door, "that you are scratching yourself so and tearing out your hair?"
The cat said, "What is the matter? My mouse is dead, and so I tear my hair."
The door answered, "And I, as door, will slam."
In the door was a window, which said, "What's the matter, door, that you are slamming?"
"The mouse died, the cat is tearing her hair, and I am slamming."
The window answered, "And I, as window, will open and shut."
In the window was a tree, that said, "Window, why do you open and shut?"
The window answered, "The mouse died, the cat tears her hair, the door slams, and I open and shut."
The tree answered and said, "And I, as tree, will throw myself down."
A bird happened to alight in this tree, and said: "Tree, why did you throw yourself down?"
The tree replied, "The mouse died, the cat tears her hair, the door slams, the window opens and shuts, and I, as tree, threw myself down."
"And I, as bird, will pull out my feathers."
The bird went and alighted on a fountain, which said, "Bird, why are you plucking out your feathers so?"
The bird answered as the others had done, and the fountain said, "And I, as fountain, will dry up."
A cuckoo went to drink at the fountain, and asked, "Fountain, why have you dried up?" And the fountain told him all that had happened.
"And I, as cuckoo, will put my tail in the fire."
A monk of St. Nicholas passed by, and said, "Cuckoo, why is your tail in the fire?"
When the monk heard the answer he said, "And I, as monk of St. Nicholas, will go and say mass without my robes."
Then came the queen, who, when she heard what the matter was, said, "And I, as queen, will go and sift the meal."
At last the king came by, and asked, " 0h Queen! Why are you sifting the meal?"
When the queen had told him everything, he said: "And I, as king, am going to take my coffee."