ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kitty Tails: Cats In Myth and Folklore

Updated on January 8, 2015

The White Cat - France

Source

Originally a tale starring frogs from Germany's Brother's Grimm, Madame d'Aulnoy rewrote this tale about a desperate young prince who meets an enchanting court of cats. In the French story, an aging King realizes he must soon relinquish his throne to one of his three sons. Reluctant to do so, he tells the princes they must first bring him several things over the course of three years: the prettiest dog in the land, the finest piece of muslin, and the most beautiful princess.

The youngest prince manages to satisfy the first two requests with the help of a mysterious white cat who lives in an enchanted castle far away. When the time comes to present a princess to his father, the prince is surprised to find the white cat is actually a cursed princess who has been waiting for her true love to break the spell. Of course, she turns out to be the most beautiful princess in the land and, as it often goes, they all live happily ever after.

Sinh - Burma

Source

With piercing eyes and gorgeous coats, its no surprise that the Birman breed of cats is known as the "sacred cat of Burma". History is shaky as to how this illustrious breed came into being, but folklore tells of an oracle in the form of a cat who was dedicated to serving his master Kittah Mun-Ha, the Grand Lama of Khmer priests. Sinh, the name of the cat, had a glorious white coat and gorgeous yellow eyes. Sinh's paws, tail, ears, and face became stained dark over time, as these parts of his body touched the impure ground the most.

The two lived at the temple of the goddess Tsun Kiankse, who had golden skin and sapphire eyes and possessed the power to transform priests into any animal they wished upon death. One day, when invading robbers from Siam neared the temple, Mun-Ha died while praying to Tsun Kiankse. After the death of his master, the oracle Sinh took over his prayers and was magically transformed. His fur became golden and his eyes changed color into sapphire, just like the beloved goddess. After helping the priests of the temple to defeat the robbers, Sinh took the soul of Mun-Ha to the goddess. After he left, the remaining priests realized that all the cats in the temple had changed to resemble Sinh, traits that have remained through time.

Puss In Boots - Italy and France

Source

A popular "Mother Goose" tale across Europe, this fantastic feline story's earliest origin can be traced to Italy's Giovanni Francesco Straparola. The most popular version (by Frenchman Charles Perrault) tells of the youngest son of a miller inheriting a truly extraordinary cat. The cat requests that his new master provide him with a pair of boots to wear. When this favor is fulfilled, the cat vows to bring his master into new fortune.

Through an entertaining series of bribery, deception, and outright threats, the clever Puss in Boots manages to convince a king that his master is actually a very wealthy marquis. The king decides to let the young "marquis" marry his daughter, a beautiful princess. The cat, for all his effort, is made a lord who spends the rest of his years gleefully chasing mice for fun.

The Faithful Cat - Japan

Source

A Japanese fairy tale that has been featured in many classic Ukiyo-e woodcuts and other art. The story features a paranoid merchant who fears his daughter's favorite cat may be a sorcerer in disguise. One night the merchant decides that he will kill the cat the next morning. Imagine his surprise when the cat appears to him in a dream to warn him not to commit such a crime. The cat claims to be the messenger of a god, who sent him to protect the merchant's daughter from a terrible evil rat who lives in the merchant's storehouse.

The next morning, joined by a friendly cat who was owned by a family acquaintance, the guardian cat does battle with the giant rat. It's hardly an easy fight, and both cats and the rat are quite beaten by the row. When the humans come to the storehouse later, they find all three animals so wounded they can barely move. After finishing off the rat, the humans tend to the cats. Unfortunately both cats soon die, but are honored in the local temple for saving the family.


King O' The Cats - England and Scotland

Source

Well-known throughout the British Isles, the earliest confirmed printing of this tale dates back to 1782. Told as a conversation between two people, the story relays an account of a man witnessing a group of nine cats carrying a coffin to the graveyard one dark night. Each cat was all black, save for a small white patch on the chest. The man was astonished by the sight, particularly because his own pet cat bared the same marking.

The man followed the procession, overhearing the cats speaking of the being in the casket. He notices that atop the casket there lay a spectacular golden crown, though too small to fit on a human head. As the cats bury the coffin, one familiar cat jumps up and exclaims that he is the new King of the Cats, before the entire group disperses. Bewildered, the man returns home to tell this unusual tale, only to discover his very own cat has gone missing. It doesn't take long for him to realize it was his cat who was now the King!

Cat and Mouse in Partnership - Germany

Source

From the dark-as-always Brothers Grimm we have the story of a cat and mouse who have become friends, despite their natural inclinations. They become such good friends that they decide to live in the same home together. Planning for the future, they agree to keep a jar of fat hidden in a corner of the local church, saving it for a time when food may be slim.

Of course, the cat eventually finds himself unable to resist, so he manages to sneak away to the church under the guise of attending the christening of a friend's kitten. After eating the top layer of fat from the jar, he returns home. The mouse asks him what the name of the newly christened kitten was. Thinking fast, the cat replies "Top-off". The story continues, with the cat attending non-existent christenings and eating more of the fat and returning with ever more suspicious names to relay to the mouse ("Half-gone", "All-gone"...). Eventually, winter arrives and the mouse decides to bring the jar home. By this time it is empty, and she begins to realize it was the cat's fault. Knowing he's been caught, the cat soon devours his friend. In true Grimm fashion, the story ends with "that is the way of the world".

Kitty Fairy Tale Poll

Which kitty tale is your favorite?

See results

Discover More Cat Folklore

Nine Lives: The Folklore of Cats
Nine Lives: The Folklore of Cats

Learn about more cat-related folklore, from the familiar to the unique.

 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)