George Jarvis Shimokitate Akita Japan
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Fairy Tale and Artist's comments ...
George Jarvis - Akita Japan
Once upon a time in the days when magic and witchcraft actually worked because people believed in them and there is nothing quite like the placebo effect, an old man had three sons.
Now these boys were getting along in years and were still unmarried so the old man made a dying wish that they all be married, so he made them promise that each would marry the first female he met the next time he went into town. Then after making an incantation to makeit all come true, he gave up the ghost.
The oldest brother went to town and as he entered the town, the eldest daughter of the richest landowner in the town who had been a classmate years before came up to him and invited him to her birthday party, where one thing led to another and he became the landowner's favorite son-in-law.
The second son went to town and as he was putting his horse up in the livery stable, he backed into the daughter of the livery stable owner. She was a big girl who in looks and strength resembled one of her fathers horses and she had a good heart, so she was more than happy to go back with him to his father's farm, where they put her strength and good sense to use in a vegetable business, which, while it never made them rich, kept them well-fed and healthy well into old age.
The third son was a lazy fellow, who had been waiting for his father to die to get away from the farm. By the time he went to the town everyone had heard of his father's deathbed promise, so all the girls stayed away. As he sat on some steps near the main street, a grey cat with a necklace of white markings walked by and he picked it up and began to pet it.
Some passing townspeople pointed and laughed, "There's you first female. You must marry the cat." The young man couldn't ignore his father's wish and was too lazy to argue, so he went through with the marriage ceremony with the cat. Then he took the cat home to his rented room beside the livery stable, where it developed the habit of sleeping in front of the fireplace.
The young man went out to work every day and found a few odd jobs, but as stated earlier, he was lazy and not the most desirable employee. One day when he had been let go early from a house painting job where his slip-shod work had to be done over by someone else, he thought he heard a woman singing, the voice coming from his room. He crept up to the window and looked and looked in, where he saw a beautiful young woman stretching in front of the fire. As he watched the woman pick up some pearl necklaces from the table and put them around her neck. In a flash she was transformed into the grey cat.
The next day, instead of working, he went out and hid by the window. He saw the grey cat get up, check carefully around the house, then put its paws up to the necklace of white markings, which before his eyes became necklaces of pearls in the hands of the beautiful girl. She walked around the room humming to herself and stretching her lithe limbs as if awakening from a deep sleep. After a few hours like this she put the necklaces back on and resumed the form of the cat.
He continued to watch her like this for several days until one day as he watched, she stretched out in a chair in front of the fire and fell asleep. He crept into the room and took the pearls from the table where she had left them. and hid them in the attic and crept out again. Then he pounded on the door loudly and reentered the room. The girl woke with a start.
The young man quickly confessed that he had spied on her and knew she had been the cat, but then he lied and said that he had seen a thief stealing her necklaces while she was asleep and he had rushed in to save her. She told the young man that she was an enchanted princess who must remain in the form of a cat until she is found by her prince charming. The witch who had enchanted her told her that it was very bad luck to remove the necklaces, but she had found the form of a cat confining, so she had gotten into the habit of returning to her original form for a few hours every day.The witch had told her to wait and her prince charming would return her to her original form, but her present circumstance wasn't exactly what she had expected.
The young man said that since they were already married that she should just make the best of it. So she tried. The next year she gave bith to twins, then three years later triplets and the next year twins again. The young man, who no longer seemed so young, was still only working occasional jobs. In order to feed the kids The young woman who used to be a cat took in laundry and mending, but her royal education hadn't prepared her well for this vocation, so she graciously accepted the generosity of her brothers-in law who assisted her family with gifts of vegetables and other farm produce.
One day the now-not-so-young man was weeding in his brother's zucchini patch when the oldest of the oldest twins came up to him and said, "Hey Dad, is it true that our mom's a cat? The people in town said she was a cat." The now-not-soyoung man said, "Yes, it's true." Then he told the oldest twin the story of how he had seen the cat change into a woman and how he had hidden the necklaces in the attic, and he made the twin promise that he would tell no one.
But as there are no secrets between twins, it wasn't long before the younger twin had searched the attic and found the pearls. Concealing the pearls in a back pocket, the younger twin went down to the kitchen where the disenchanted princess was bent over some steaming kettles, looking more like a young witch than former royalty.
"Mom, mom, I need to ask you something," said the twin. Wiping her damp hair out of her eyes with an air of annoyance she said, "What is it?" "Is it true you were a cat?" the twin asked. "Don't be silly. Who told you that?" she said. "Then what are these?" said the twin, holding out the pearls. "Where did you get those?" cried the ex-princess with a look of mixed disbelief and ferocity. And then in an ice cold tone, "Give them to me!" The twin timidly held them up and she grabbed them. "Better a cat than a drudge!" she exclaimed as she slipped them over her head and before the child's astonished eyes, turned into a cat and bounded out the door and over the fence, never to be seen again.