Select the desired text size
Kisa the cat.
From The Brown Fairy book by Andrew Lang.
Start of Story
Age Rating 8 Plus.
Once upon a time there lived a queen who had a beautiful cat, the colour
of smoke, with china-blue eyes, which she was very fond of. The cat was
constantly with her, and ran after her wherever she went, and even sat
up proudly by her side when she drove out in her fine glass coach.
'Oh, pussy,' said the queen one day, 'you are happier than I am! For you
have a dear kitten just like yourself, and I have nobody to play with
'Don't cry,' answered the cat, laying her paw on her mistress's arm.
'Crying never does any good. I will see what can be done.'
The cat was as good as her word. As soon as she returned from her drive
she trotted off to the forest to consult a fairy who dwelt there, and
very soon after the queen had a little girl, who seemed made out of snow
and sunbeams. The queen was delighted, and soon the baby began to take
notice of the kitten as she jumped about the room, and would not go to
sleep at all unless the kitten lay curled up beside her.
Two or three months went by, and though the baby was still a baby, the
kitten was fast becoming a cat, and one evening when, as usual, the
nurse came to look for her, to put her in the baby's cot, she was
nowhere to be found. What a hunt there was for that kitten, to be sure!
The servants, each anxious to find her, as the queen was certain to
reward the lucky man, searched in the most impossible places. Boxes were
opened that would hardly have held the kitten's paw; books were taken
from bookshelves, lest the kitten should have got behind them, drawers
were pulled out, for perhaps the kitten might have got shut in. But it
was all no use. The kitten had plainly run away, and nobody could tell
if it would ever choose to come back.
Years passed away, and one day, when the princess was playing ball in
the garden, she happened to throw her ball farther than usual, and it
fell into a clump of rose-bushes. The princess of course ran after it
at once, and she was stooping down to feel if it was hidden in the long
grass, when she heard a voice calling her: 'Ingibjorg! Ingibjorg!' it
said, 'have you forgotten me? I am Kisa, your sister!'
'But I never HAD a sister,' answered Ingibjorg, very much puzzled; for
she knew nothing of what had taken place so long ago.
'Don't you remember how I always slept in your cot beside you, and how
you cried till I came? But girls have no memories at all! Why, I could
find my way straight up to that cot this moment, if I was once inside
'Why did you go away then?' asked the princess. But before Kisa could
answer, Ingibjorg's attendants arrived breathless on the scene, and were
so horrified at the sight of a strange cat, that Kisa plunged into the
bushes and went back to the forest.
The princess was very much vexed with her ladies-in-waiting for
frightening away her old playfellow, and told the queen who came to her
room every evening to bid her good-night.
'Yes, it is quite true what Kisa said,' answered the queen; 'I should
have liked to see her again. Perhaps, some day, she will return, and
then you must bring her to me.'
Next morning it was very hot, and the princess declared that she must
go and play in the forest, where it was always cool, under the big shady
trees. As usual, her attendants let her do anything she pleased, and
sitting down on a mossy bank where a little stream tinkled by, soon fell
sound asleep. The princess saw with delight that they would pay no
heed to her, and wandered on and on, expecting every moment to see some
fairies dancing round a ring, or some little brown elves peeping at
her from behind a tree. But, alas! she met none of these; instead, a
horrible giant came out of his cave and ordered her to follow him. The
princess felt much afraid, as he was so big and ugly, and began to be
sorry that she had not stayed within reach of help; but as there was no
use in disobeying the giant, she walked meekly behind.
They went a long way, and Ingibjorg grew very tired, and at length began
'I don't like girls who make horrid noises,' said the giant, turning
round. 'But if you WANT to cry, I will give you something to cry for.'
And drawing an axe from his belt, he cut off both her feet, which he
picked up and put in his pocket. Then he went away.
Poor Ingibjorg lay on the grass in terrible pain, and wondering if she
should stay there till she died, as no one would know where to look for
her. How long it was since she had set out in the morning she could not
tell--it seemed years to her, of course; but the sun was still high in
the heavens when she heard the sound of wheels, and then, with a great
effort, for her throat was parched with fright and pain, she gave a