Page:Grimm's Household Tales, vol.1.djvu/87

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Tale 2.]
5
CAT AND MOUSE IN PARTNERSHIP.

venture everywhere, or you will be caught in a trap some day.” The good advice was followed, and a pot of fat was bought, but they did not know where to put it. At length, after much consideration, the cat said, “I know no place where it will be better stored up than in the church, for no one dares take anything away from there. We will set it beneath the altar, and not touch it until we are really in need of it.” So the pot was placed in safety, but it was not long before the cat had a great longing for it, and said to the mouse, “I want to tell you something, little mouse; my cousin has brought a little son into the world, and has asked me to be godmother; he is white with brown spots, and I am to hold him at the christening. Let me go out to-day, and you look after the house by yourself.” “Yes, yes,” answered the mouse, “by all means go, and if you get anything very good, think of me, I should like a drop of sweet red christening wine too.” All this, however, was untrue; the cat had no cousin, and had not been asked to be godmother. She went straight to the church, stole to the pot of fat, began to lick at it, and licked the top of the fat off. Then she took a walk upon the roofs of the town, looked out for opportunities, and then stretched herself in the sun, and licked her lips whenever she thought of the pot of fat, and not until it was evening did she return home. “Well, here you are again,” said the mouse, “no doubt you have had a merry day.” “All went off well,” answered the cat. “What name did they give the child?” “Top off!” said the cat quite coolly. “Top off!” cried the mouse, “that is a very odd and uncommon name, is it a usual one in your family?” “What does it signify,” said the cat, “it is no worse than Crumb-stealer, as your god-children are called.”

Before long the cat was seized by another fit of longing. She said to the mouse, “You must do me a favour, and once more manage the house for a day alone. I am again asked to be godmother, and, as the child has a white ring round its neck, I cannot refuse.” The good mouse consented, but the cat crept behind the town walls to the church, and devoured half the pot of fat. “Nothing ever seems so good as what one keeps to oneself,” said she, and was quite satisfied with her day's work. When she went