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Kisa the cat.
Start of Story
'I am coming!' was the answer; and in another moment a cart made its way
through the trees, driven by Kisa, who used her tail as a whip to urge
the horse to go faster. Directly Kisa saw Ingibjorg lying there, she
jumped quickly down, and lifting the girl carefully in her two front
paws, laid her upon some soft hay, and drove back to her own little hut.
In the corner of the room was a pile of cushions, and these Kisa
arranged as a bed. Ingibjorg, who by this time was nearly fainting from
all she had gone through, drank greedily some milk, and then sank back
on the cushions while Kisa fetched some dried herbs from a cupboard,
soaked them in warm water and tied them on the bleeding legs. The pain
vanished at once, and Ingibjorg looked up and smiled at Kisa.
'You will go to sleep now,' said the cat, 'and you will not mind if I
leave you for a little while. I will lock the door, and no one can hurt
you.' But before she had finished the princess was asleep. Then Kisa
got into the cart, which was standing at the door, and catching up the
reins, drove straight to the giant's cave.
Leaving her cart behind some trees, Kisa crept gently up to the open
door, and, crouching down, listened to what the giant was telling his
wife, who was at supper with him.
'The first day that I can spare I shall just go back and kill her,' he
said; 'it would never do for people in the forest to know that a mere
girl can defy me!' And he and his wife were so busy calling Ingibjorg
all sorts of names for her bad behaviour, that they never noticed Kisa
stealing into a dark corner, and upsetting a whole bag of salt into the
great pot before the fire.
'Dear me, how thirsty I am!' cried the giant by-and-by.
'So am I,' answered the wife. 'I do wish I had not taken that last
spoonful of broth; I am sure something was wrong with it.'
'If I don't get some water I shall die,' went on the giant. And rushing
out of the cave, followed by his wife, he ran down the path which led to
Then Kisa entered the hut, and lost no time in searching every hole till
she came upon some grass, under which Ingibjorg's feet were hidden, and
putting them in her cart, drove back again to her own hut.
Ingibjorg was thankful to see her, for she had lain, too frightened to
sleep, trembling at every noise.
'Oh, is it you?' she cried joyfully, as Kisa turned the key. And the cat
came in, holding up the two neat little feet in their silver slippers.
'In two minutes they shall be as tight as they ever were!' said
Kisa. And taking some strings of the magic grass which the giant had
carelessly heaped on them, she bound the feet on to the legs above.
'Of course you won't be able to walk for some time; you must not expect
THAT,' she continued. 'But if you are very good, perhaps, in about a
week, I may carry you home again.'
And so she did; and when the cat drove the cart up to the palace gate,
lashing the horse furiously with her tail, and the king and queen saw
their lost daughter sitting beside her, they declared that no reward
could be too great for the person who had brought her out of the giant's
'We will talk about that by-and-by,' said the cat, as she made her best
bow, and turned her horse's head.
The princess was very unhappy when Kisa left her without even bidding
her farewell. She would neither eat nor drink, nor take any notice of
all the beautiful dresses her parents bought for her.
'She will die, unless we can make her laugh,' one whispered to the
other. 'Is there anything in the world that we have left untried?'
'Nothing except marriage,' answered the king. And he invited all the
handsomest young men he could think of to the palace, and bade the
princess choose a husband from among them.
It took her some time to decide which she admired the most, but at last
she fixed upon a young prince, whose eyes were like the pools in the
forest, and his hair of bright gold. The king and the queen were greatly
pleased, as the young man was the son of a neighbouring king, and they
gave orders that a splendid feast should be got ready.
When the marriage was over, Kisa suddenly stood before them, and
Ingibjorg rushed forward and clasped her in her arms.
'I have come to claim my reward,' said the cat. 'Let me sleep for this
night at the foot of your bed.'
'Is that ALL?' asked Ingibjorg, much disappointed.
'It is enough,' answered the cat. And when the morning dawned, it was no
cat that lay upon the bed, but a beautiful princess.
'My mother and I were both enchanted by a spiteful fairy,' said she,
'we could not free ourselves till we had done some kindly deed that had
never been wrought before. My mother died without ever finding a chance
of doing anything new, but I took advantage of the evil act of the giant
to make you as whole as ever.'
Then they were all more delighted than before, and the princess lived
in the court until she, too, married, and went away to govern one of her