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A Strange Time in My Life

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It’s bad enough I was born the third son in a poor milling family. My eldest brother got the mill, my second eldest the family ass. I was stuck with the cat. I was stuck with thoughts about caving in, stripping the skin off the cat and butchering it, attempting to preserve what I didn’t eat of the cat for later.

My cat stood up on his two feet, walked to me, and asked for a bag and a pair of riding boots. He would kill rabbits and partridges and present them to the king. He did this for three months. I laid the boots and the satchel out in a corner so he would pick them up. There were rabbits and partridges in the satchel and the boots were returned. Then I’d put on the boots and the full satchel and present the rabbits and partridges to the king. The king never noticed my cat did all the killing for me.

 

One time I took a bath in the river. Two men thought I was drowning. They pulled me out. One of them asked, “Lord Marquis of Carabas, are you okay?”

“I’m okay, who”—

“Someone’s stolen his clothes, Your Majesty!”

I saw my cat hide my clothes in a tree.

The king was sitting in a carriage. “Well, what are you waiting for? Fetch the Marquis some clothing!”

The king’s servants went and fetched me clothing. I noticed the king’s daughter, sitting in the carriage, admiring my nakedness.

 

After the king’s servants returned and gave me clothing, we traveled to an ogre's castle, which was being tended by an ogre. My cat was leading the way, walking in front of the carriage.

“This is the meadow of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.”

“Behold, my meadow,” I blurted out in the carriage.

The king and his daughter were impressed.

“These are the corn fields of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.”

“Behold, my meadow.”

The king and his daughter were still impressed with me.

We stopped in front of a castle. I stepped out of the carriage and told the king and his daughter I would check out the castle to make sure the servants could prepare for the king’s arrival. I saw my cat rush in. By the time I found him he was battling a huge lion in an otherwise pristine dining room. Even the food was out on the table, steaming from recently being heated. While he was attempting to pounce on my cat, the lion turned into a mouse. My cat ate him and ran off.

I went back to the king’s carriage.

“My king, this is my castle.”

 

The king, his daughter and I had a feast. At the end of the feast I was betrothed to the king’s daughter. I was all set for my cat to meet the king and his daughter, for the king to realize it was my cat that had made my rise from poverty to wealth possible.

The problem was the cat had disappeared. I checked in every room of the castle. I searched every part of my land. There wasn’t a trace of the cat anywhere.

 

It’s bad enough I was born the third son in a poor milling family. My eldest brother got the mill, my second eldest the family ass. I was stuck with the cat. I was stuck with thoughts about caving in, stripping the skin off the cat and butchering it, attempting to preserve what I didn’t eat of the cat for later. But he ran away before I could even attempt to kill him.

I swore he came back to help me, though, and all was forgiven….