1130 . TALES FROM CATLAND
TALES FROM CATLAND
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THE THREE CATS.
Many hundred years ago, in the good old times of the fairies, there lived a young princess in a very grand palace. Its walls were of the purest white marble, the doors were of orange-wood, the window-frames were of gold, and the furniture of the rooms was of the most costly description. The princess’s drawing-room was hung with beautiful tapestry, the curtains were of the richest crimson silk, all over golden flowers, the mirrors reached from the floor to the ceiling, and the chairs were of ebony inlaid with precious stones. And the princess had two hundred and four best gowns, some of cloth of gold, some of silver tissue; besides a great many others, nearly as good, that she wore every day.
But my story has not so much to do with the princess, as with her cats, for she had two; an elderly one, called Glumdalkin, and a very frolicsome young one whose name was Friskarina. Glumdalkin was, somehow or other, second cousin once removed to Friskarina, but years older; and, to say the truth, Friskarina was not very fond of her: however, in consideration of her age and relationship, she behaved on the whole very civilly and respectfully to her. They were so very different. And there was not the least family likeness, either, in their persons. Glumdalkin was jet black, had an uncommonly cross pair of green eyes, that seemed always on the look-out for something going wrong, was very fat, and moved as if it was too much trouble to her to walk across the room; while Friskarina’s coat was of the richest tortoise-shell, and though she was quite plump, and as sleek as satin, yet there was not a more lively little creature in all Catland; it quite did one good to see her jumping over the foot-stools in the princess’s drawing-room. She had a prodigious longing, sometimes, to jump over cousin Glum’s great broad back, as she sat before the fire; but she knew that would never do, so she was prudent, and contented herself with scampering over the furniture; while Glumdalkin, pretending to be sound asleep all the time, would be watching her with one eye open the least bit in the world, and secretly wishing that Friskarina might be unlucky enough to dash down one of the princess’s old china jars that stood under the table.