They drove on-the cat always running before and saying the same thing to everybody he met, that they were to declare that the whole country belonged to his master; so that even the King was astonished at the vast estate of my lord the Marquis of Carabas.
But now the cat arrived at a great castle where dwelt an Ogre, to whom belonged all the land through which the royal carriage had been driving. This Ogre was a cruel tyrant, and his tenants and servants were terribly afraid of him, which accounted for their being so ready to say whatever they were told to say by the cat, who had taken pains to inform himself all about the Ogre. So, putting on the boldest face he could assume, Puss marched up to the castle with his boots on, and asked to see the owner of it, saying that he was on his travels, but did not wish to pass so near the castle of such a noble gentleman without paying his respects to him. When the Ogre heard this message, he went to the door, received the cat as civilly as an Ogre can, and begged him to walk in and repose himself.
"Thank you, sir," said the cat; "but first I hope you will satisfy a traveler's curiosity. I have heard in far countries of your many remarkable qualities, and especially how you have the power to change yourself into any sort of beast you choose-a lion, for instance, or an elephant."
"That is quite true," replied the Ogre; "and lest you should doubt it I will immediately become a lion."
He did so; and the cat was so frightened that he sprang up to the roof of the castle and hid himself in the gutter-a proceeding rather inconvenient on account of his boots, which were not exactly fitted to walk with on tiles. At length, perceiving that the Ogre had resumed his original form, he came down again, and owned that he had been very much frightened.
"But, sir," said he, "it may be easy enough for such a big gentleman as you to change himself into a large animal; I do not suppose you could become a small one-a rat, or mouse, for instance. I have heard that you can; still, for my part, I consider it quite impossible."
"Impossible!" cried the other, indignantly. "You shall see!" and immediately the cat saw the Ogre no longer, but a little mouse running along on the floor.
This was exactly what Puss wanted; and he fell upon him at once and ate him up. So there was an end to the Ogre.
By this time the King had arrived opposite the castle, and had a strong wish to go into it. The cat, hearing the noise of the carriage wheels, ran forward in a great hurry, and, standing at the gate, said, in a loud voice: "Welcome, sire, to the castle of my lord the Marquis of Carabas."
"What!" cried his majesty, very much surprised, "does the castle also belong to you? Truly, marquis, you have kept your secret well up to the last minute. I have never seen anything finer than this courtyard and these battlements. Let us go in, if you please."
The marquis, without speaking, offered his hand to the princess to help her to descend, and, standing aside that the King might enter first, followed his majesty to the great hall, where a magnificent dinner was laid out, and where, without more delays they all sat down to feast.
Before the banquet was over, the King, charmed with the good qualities of the Marquis of Carabas, said, bowing across the table at which the princess and the miller's son were talking very confidentially together: "It rests with you, marquis, whether you will marry my daughter."
"I shall be only too happy," said the marquis, and the princess's cast- down eyes declared the same.
So they were married the very next day, and took possession of the Ogre's castle, and of everything that had belonged to him.
As for the cat, he became at once a great lord, and had nevermore any need to run after mice, except for his own diversion.
JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
Retold by Joseph Jacobs
IN the reign of the famous King Arthur there lived in Cornwall a lad named Jack, who was a boy of a bold temper and took delight in hearing or reading of conjurers, giants, and fairies; and used to listen eagerly to the deeds of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table.
In those days there lived on St. Michael's Mount, off Cornwall, a huge Giant, eighteen feet high and nine feet round; his fierce and savage looks were the terror of all who beheld him.
He dwelt in a gloomy cavern on the top of the mountain, and used to wade over to the mainland in search of prey, when he would throw half a dozen oxen upon his back, and tie three times as many sheep and hogs round his waist, and march back to his own abode.
The Giant had done this for many years when Jack resolved to destroy him.
Jack took a horn, a shovel, a pickaxe, his armor, and a dark lantern, and one winter's evening he went to the mount. There he dug a pit twenty-two feet deep and twenty broad. He covered the top over so as to make it look like solid ground. He then blew such a blast on his horn that the Giant awoke and came out of his den, crying out: "You saucy villain, you shall pay for this! I'll broil you for my breakfast!"
He had just finished, when, taking one step farther, he tumbled headlong into the pit, and Jack struck him a blow on the head with his pickaxe which killed him. Jack then returned home to cheer his friends with the news.
Another Giant, called Blunderbore, vowed to be revenged on Jack if ever he should have him in his power.
This Giant kept an enchanted castle in the midst of a lonely wood, and some time after the death of Cormoran, Jack was passing through a wood, and, being weary, sat down and went to sleep.
The Giant, passing by and seeing Jack, carried him to his castle, where he locked him up in a large room, the floor of which was covered with the bodies, skulls, and bones of men and women.
Soon after, the Giant went to fetch his brother, who was likewise a Giant, to take a meal off his flesh, and Jack saw with terror through the bars of his prison the two Giants approaching.
Jack, perceiving in one corner of the room a strong cord, took courage, and making a slip-knot at each end, he threw them over their heads, and tied it to the window-bars; he then pulled till he had choked them.
When they were black in the face he slid down the rope and stabbed them to the heart.
Jack next took a great bunch of keys from the pocket of Blunderbore and went into the castle again. He made a strict search through all the rooms, and in one of them found three ladies tied up by the hair of their heads and almost starved to death. They told him that their husbands had been killed by the Giants, who had then condemned them to be starved to death.
"Ladies," said Jack, "I have put an end to the monster and his wicked brother, and I give you this castle and all the riches it contains to make some amends for the dreadful pains you have felt." He then very politely gave them the keys of the castle and went farther on his journey to Wales.
As Jack had but little money, he went on as fast as possible. At length he came to a handsome house.
Jack knocked at the door, when there came forth a Welsh Giant. Jack said he was a traveler who had lost his way, on which the Giant made him welcome and let him into a room where there was a good bed to sleep in.
Jack took off his clothes quickly, but though he was weary he could not go to sleep. Soon after this he heard the Giant walking backward and forward in the next room and saying to himself:
"Though here you shall lodge with me this night,
You shall not see the morning light;
My club shall dash your brains out quite!"
"Say you so?" thought Jack. "Are these your tricks upon travelers?
But I hope to prove as cunning as you are." Then, getting out of bed, he groped about the room and at last found a thick tog of wood. He laid it in his own place in the bed, and then hid himself in a dark corner of the room.
The Giant, about midnight, entered the apartment, and with his bludgeon struck many blows on the bed, in the very place where Jack had laid the log; and then he went back to his own room, thinking he had broken all Jack's bones.
Early in the morning Jack put a bold face upon the matter and walked into the Giant's room to thank him for his lodging. The Giant started when he saw him, and began to stammer out: "Oh! dear me; is it you?
Pray, how did you sleep last night? Did you hear or see anything in the dead of the night?"
"Nothing worth speaking of," said Jack, carelessly; "a rat, I believe, gave me three or four slaps with its tail, and disturbed me a little; but I soon went to sleep again."
The Giant wondered more and more at this; yet he did not answer a word, but went to bring two great bowls of hasty-pudding for their breakfast.
Jack wanted to make the Giant believe that he could eat as much as himself so he contrived to button a leathern bag inside his coat and slip the hasty-pudding into this bag while he seemed to put it into his mouth.
When breakfast was over he said to the Giant: "Now I will show you a fine trick. I can cure all wounds with a touch; I could cut off my head in one minute, and the next put it sound again on my shoulders.
You shall see an example." He then took hold of the knife, ripped up the leathern bag, and all the hasty-pudding tumbled out upon the floor.
"Ods splutter hur nails!" cried the Welsh Giant, who was ashamed to be outdone by such a little fellow as Jack, "hur can do that hurself;" so he snatched up the knife, plunged it into his own stomach, and in a moment dropped down dead.
Jack, having hitherto been successful in all his undertakings, resolved not to be idle in future; he therefore furnished himself with a horse, a cap of knowledge, a sword of sharpness, shoes of swiftness, and an invisible coat, the better to perform the wonderful enterprises that lay before him.
He traveled over high hills, and on the third day he came to a large and spacious forest through which his road lay. Scarcely had he entered the forest when he beheld a monstrous Giant dragging along by the hair of their heads a handsome Knight and his lady. Jack alighted from his horse, and tying him to an oak-tree, put on his invisible coat, under which he carried his sword of sharpness.
When he came up to the Giant he made several strokes at him, but could not reach his body, but wounded his thighs in several places; and at length, putting both hands to his sword and aiming with all his might, he cut off both his legs. Then Jack, setting his foot upon his neck, plunged his sword into the Giant's body, when the monster gave a groan and expired.
The Knight and his 1ady thanked Jack for their deliverance, and invited him to their house to receive a proper reward for his services. "No,"
Said Jack, "I cannot be easy till I find out this monster's habitation." So taking the Knight's directions, he mounted his horse and soon after came in sight of another Giant, who was sitting on a block of timber waiting for his brother's return.