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thing else in the world : she will sit for hours with the utmost patience watching before its hole till she is able to catch it. She is also very fond of birds and fishes, though birds can easily get out of her way by flying up in the air. The poor little bird does not notice the cat: she looks so still and quiet, and does not move a hair, till he comes within her distance, when she pounces upon him and carries him off in triumph. When the cat has caught a mouse, she will play with him before she kills him, but she will not play with a bird. She knows very well if the mouse tries to run away she can catch him; but if the bird once begins to fly, he would soon be out of her reach.
The cat has a great dislike to anything that is wet: nothing annoys her so much as to throw water upon her. She is a very clean animal, and is nearly always licking herself to make her fur look clean and nice. When she has ended a meal the great work of washing begins; and when she has kittens, she takes care to wash them too.
Cats do not care to eat food made from things which grow in the garden or in fields, as bread, rice, or potatoes. They are fond of meat, which they will swallow very quickly, without much chewing, and then come and ask for more. They like to drink milk out of a saucer, and it is funny to watch them as they lap it up with their tongues.
The cat has on each side of her nose some long white hairs, which we call her whiskers. These are given her to help her to smell keenly. If you offer her anything to eat, she does not look at it, but smells it; and if the smell of it does not please her, she will not eat it. If you bring some fish in the rooin, though it is wrapped up in paper so that she cannot see it, she will smell it at once, and walk up to see if there is any of it for her.
Cats are very fond of sitting before the fire on the hearth-rug, curling themselves up, and going to sleep. If they are well fed, they will sleep all day if you will let them. It is more natural for them to sleep in the day-time than at night. When it is quite dark, their eyes glare like redhot coals. They can see better in the dark than in the light.
Cats are very fond of their kittens. If you take one of the kittens away, and set it down in the middle of the room, the old cat will come, take it up in her mouth, and carry it away to the nest. When the kittens are born, they remain blind for nine days, but they can mew clear enough, and it is curious to watch the little things groping their way about, crying out to their mother for milk, who purrs away, quite pleased with her little family.
It is great fun to watch two kittens, when about a month old, at their play. There is no other animal that seems to enjoy play so much, and to practice it so often as a kitten. Though the old cat looks very grave, and seems to be above such things, she will sometimes play with her kittens; and when they are pleased and want her to go on, they strike the ground with their tails. They never hurt each other in this play, though you would think, if you had never seen them before, that they were having quite a battle ; but they only pretend to bite, and do not hurt each other in the least.
Cats are very fond of the house in which they have grown up. They do not care so much about the people who live in it. They had rather stop in the house with strangers, than go to a new house with the family they have dwelt with. Dogs, on the contrary, are attached to persons, and do not care so much for the houses in which they have been reared.
The cat is a great thief, as any one knows who leaves meat in her way. She knows well enough it is wrong to take the meat, for if you come in the room when she has taken it, she will slink away, knowing she deserves punishment. She is very useful in houses where there are mice, as without her they would be a great nuisance.
You have read, I dare say, the story of Dick Whittington and his cat. Dick's master wished his servants to send what they had to be sold in foreign countries, so that they might have a share in the gain; and poor Dick, having nothing else, sent his cat. When the ship got to the foreign country, the king told the captain he could not keep anything to eat in his house on account of the mice, who caused him a great deal of trouble. The captain then brought Dick's cat to the king; and when the king saw how she caught and killed the mice, he gave a great deal of gold for her, wbich made Dick, when the ship came back, a rich man.
THE GIANT WITH THE THREE
There was once a poor man, who had an only son born to him. The child was born under a lucky star, and those who told his fortune said that in his fourteenth year he should marry the king's daughter. It so happened that the king of that land, soon after the child's birth, passed through that village in disguise, and asked whether there was any news. “Yes,” said the people, “ a child has just been born that they say is to be a lucky one, and when he is fourteen years old he is fated to marry the king's daughter.”
This did not please the king ; so he went to the poor child's parents, and asked them whether they would sell him their son. “No," said they ; but the stranger begged very hard and offered a great deal of money, and they had scarcely bread to eat; so at last they consented, thinking to themselves he is a lucky child, he cannot come to any harm.
The king took the child, put it into a box, and rode away. But when he came to a deep stream he threw it into the water, saying to himself, “ That young gentleman will never be my daughter's husband." The box, however, floated down the stream, and, at last, about two miles from the king's capital, it stopped at a dam of a mill. The miller soon saw it, took a long pole, and drew
it towards the shore, and finding it heavy, thought there was gold inside ; but when he opened it, he found a pretty little boy, that smiled upon him merrily. Now the miller and his wife had no children, and therefore rejoiced to see the child, saying, “Heaven has sent it to us." So they treated it very kindly, and brought it up with such care that everyone admired and loved it.
About thirteen years had passed away, when the king came by accident to the mill, and asked the miller if that was his son. "No," said he, “I found him when a babe, in a box in the mill-dam.” “He is a fine fellow," said the king; “can you spare him to carry a letter to the queen ? It will please me very much, and I will give him two pieces of gold for his trouble.” "As your Majesty pleases," answered the miller.
Now the king had already guessed that this was the child whom he had tried to drown; and he wrote a letter by him to the queen, saying, “As soon as the bearer of this arrives, let him be killed, and directly after buried, so that all may be over before I return."
The young man set out with this letter, but missed his way, and came in the evening to a dark wood. Through the darkness he saw a light in the distance, towards which he directed his course, and found that it proceeded from a little cottage. There was no one within except an old woman, who was frightened at seeing him, and said, “ Why do you come here, and where are you going ?” “I am going to the queen,” he replied,