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Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

The beautiful white cat mounted a monkey

The prince was at a loss what to think. The little figure now approached, and throwing aside her veil, he beheld a most beautiful white cat. She seemed young and melancholy, and addressing herself to the prince, she said, "Young prince, you are welcome; your presence affords me the greatest pleasure." "Madam," replied the prince, "I would fain thank you for your generosity, nor can I help observing that you must be an extraordinary creature to possess with your present form the gift of speech and the magnificent palace I have seen." "All this is very true," answered the beautiful cat, "but, prince, I am not fond of talking, and least of all do I like compliments; let us therefore sit down to supper." The trunkless hands then placed the dishes on the table, and the prince and white cat seated themselves. The first dish was a pie made of young pigeons, and the next was a fricassee of the fattest mice. The view of the one made the prince almost afraid to taste the other till the white cat, who guessed his thoughts, assured him that there were certain dishes at table in which there was not a morsel of either rat or mouse, which had been dressed on purpose for him. Accordingly he ate heartily of such as she recommended. When supper was over, the prince perceived that the white cat had a portrait set in gold hanging to one of her feet. He begged her permission to look at it; when, to his astonishment, he saw the portrait of a handsome young man, that exactly resembled himself! He thought there was something very extraordinary in all this: yet, as the white cat sighed and looked very sorrowful, he did not venture to ask any questions. He conversed with her on different subjects, and found her extremely well versed in every thing that was passing in the world. When night was far advanced, the white cat wished him a good night, and he was conducted by the hands to his bedchamber, which was different still from any thing he had seen in the palace, being hung with the wings of butterflies, mixed with the most curious feathers. His bed was of gauze, festooned with bunches of the gayest ribands, and the looking-glasses reached from the floor to the ceiling. The prince was undressed and put into bed by the hands, without speaking a word. He however slept little, and in the morning was awaked by a confused noise. The hands took him out of bed, and put on him a handsome hunting-jacket. He looked into the court-yard, and perceived more than five hundred cats, busily employed in preparing for the field, for this was a day of festival. Presently the white cat came to his apartment; and having politely inquired after his health, she invited him to partake of their amusement. The prince willingly accepted, mounted a wooden horse, richly caparisoned, which had been prepared for him, and which he was assured would gallop to admiration. The beautiful white cat mounted a monkey, dressed in a dragoon's bonnet, which made her look so fierce that all the rats and mice ran away in the utmost terror.

Every thing being ready, the horns sounded, and away they went; no hunting was ever more agreeable; the cats ran faster than the hares and rabbits; and when they caught

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