Section 36 of the children’s wonder book This is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit librivox.org Recording by Linda Marie Nielsen, Vancouver, BC The children’s wonder book the king cat by a a brawling Next Saturday always seem far off to willy heart. He counted the days on his fingers He would say to his mama Sunday Monday Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday That makes seven days and when seven days come it will be Saturday Now one of those long look for Saturday’s had arrived Really was at the breakfast table the bright Sun told of a pleasant day The birds were singing and the leaves were rustling and Willie was enjoying these things without knowing it He supposed he was only enjoying his griddle cakes and maple molasses Willie had been taught politeness Never to leave the table without saying excuse me in many other manners of good breeding But this morning he had dropped from his chair Had thrown down his napkin and had reached the door before his momma knew what he was doing She called him back you have forgotten to be polite Willie She said now you must sit at the table two minutes longer Willie sighed as he mounted his chair mama I don’t like to be polite on Saturdays that will be two minutes gone Fannie he continued turning to his sister a naughty sparkle in his eye What do you think I am going to do today? I don’t know replied Fannie I’m going to make top see a little muslin cap lined with blue Topsy was Fanny’s kitten and although named after a little black girl in a storybook He was as white as snow Without a spot of color and with lovely pink eyes Shaw said Willie just like a girl dress up a cat I’ll tell you what I am going to do I’m going to chase cats and throw sticks and stones Adam and I’m going to run after him and catch him and drown him and Where’s Topsy, and he looked over at the little white fuzzy ball curled up in the rocking chair Fannie ran and caught Topsy in her arms and turned to Willie with very bright eyes and very red Cheeks and stamping her foot to make him understand She cried out Willie heart You promised me you never never would as long as you lived hurt my little Topsy Now shall he mama Willie’s cheeks were almost bursting with the laughter he was keeping in but his momma said very seriously I Hope my little son would not make anything suffer. I think it’s shameful to give pain Willie turned away he didn’t like his mama to look so and He went out on the Piazza feeling quite uncomfortable Now Willie had no thought of chasing cats when he laid his plans for the day before his sister Fanny he had said that just to tease her still he was rather fond of vexing both cats and dogs and While he was standing on the Piazza step. He aspired the gray family cat basking on the railing and regarding him with big yellow eyes as if in a spirit of defiance he picked up a stone with one hand and a stick with the other and flung them with a whoop loud enough to have come from the throat of a young savage and Mama and Fanny rushed out in time to see Willie pursuing the poor old pet with the vindictiveness 20 bad boys Willie chased the cat far into the woods Feeling comfortable in the thought that as it was Saturday. He need not hurry back to school pussy still remained unhurt and Sometimes would turn back and look at him with two big yellow eyes in a queer way Until finally he determined he would not put up with it So he threw sticks and shouted louder and ran faster But the only result was to make pussy laughs this startled him He tried to convince himself that the cat did not laugh But still he could see that the cat was laughing and now he began to catch sight of other cats Running in and out among the trees He was sure he saw a spotted cat and then a white one and then a black one for a moment he felt Disposed to run after them But the yellow eyes of the gray pussy looking down at him now from a tree decided him Oh Oh gray You don’t get rid of me yet he shouted throwing a stick by way of emphasis But old gray sprang from tree to tree Willie chased on until they were in the very middle of the woods Then he lost both his breath and his patience and sat down on a log to rest While sitting there he felt sure he saw other cats Plenty of them there were rows of them behind every fallen log They peered at him from behind every stump and from every tree He could count 24 from where he said What jolly fun? He cried? I wish dick and Jack Harris were here wouldn’t we skadam though? He was answered by the sound of laughter it came from the cats as they darted in and out among the trees Startled he looked up at the gray cat he sat in a tree down at him with great Mirel yellow eyes You impertinent thing shouted Willy throwing a clump of moss up at him. I’ll teach you But pussy spraying to a large tree not far off and then through a hole in the trunk and disappeared Willy was astonished he sprang for the tree to Darted through the hole after the cat and landed headfirst at the foot of some winding stairs he did not seem to wonder at the winding stairs, but Supposing pussy must have gone That way he climbed them just as fast as he could until he came out among the branches For a moment he thought only of the delightful Situation he found it cool and comfortable among the great green reach leaves And he was joyfully looking for some branches That would serve as a seat when a curious stir below attracted his attention Creeping along a stout limb he looked over and saw what so startled him that he almost lost his balance He saw cats of all sizes and colors black cats and white cats and spotted cats gray cats and yellow cats and Maltese cats and each cats standing on its hind feet with a club in its right paw Each cat lashing its great tail right and left and all looking up at him You may not believe it, but will he laughed aloud it seemed very funny to him He would have laughed longer But now the cats began to climb the tree as they came nearer and nearer He could see that they did not look friendly and seized with a sudden Fear he began to creep backward in his haste. He missed his hold and tumbled heel overhead down the winding stairs and reached the foot without his hat and with several aching spots on his elbows and He hurriedly felt for the entrance But it had been blocked up the few rays of light came from far above Where he did not feel able to climb the next moment He was conscious that the cats had begun the descent not a stick or stone was to be seen while searching for something with which to defend himself He saw a square piece of wood with an iron ring in the middle of it and without Stopping to think he slipped his fingers through the ring gave a pole and the gain down he went With a thump that jarred him soundly The square board was a trapdoor and Willie had pulled it up He had not much time for surprise. He knew the cats were coming down the stairs He hurriedly reached up and closed the trapdoor over him when Willie’s eyes had become accustomed to the darkness he found he was standing on another stairway a glimmer of light from below a Turning told him which way it led But he was too much bruised to explore besides. He felt it must lead underground He said to himself the old things will go away By-and-by, and then I will lift the door and climb to the opening But the old things did not go away He could now hear them scratching and spitting at the trapdoor at first He felt safe for cats cannot open a trapdoor But when he reflected that these cats could walk on their hind feet with the club in the paw He began to think that animal so extraordinary might even open a trapdoor in That case they might all at once a light on his head So he concluded to go down the steps and see if he could not burrow out When he had turned the first winding he stood still and said oh The stairs were rock and the walls were rock But it was the lights on the walls that made Willie say oh, they looked like clusters of eyes Willie felt that a thousand cats were staring at him But they were not cat eyes they were clusters of rats eyes put together into all sorts of fanciful shapes in squares and circles and stars and flowers Willie went on down and down looking up at the wall as he went His mind so filled with daring delight that he forgot all fear Suddenly an abrupt turning brought him into an immense Hall of rock brilliantly Lighted in the same manner only on a larger scale the lamps being in the form of trees and fountains the ceiling filled with stars back of the lights were curious furry hangings of rat skins looped with wrapped tails and The floor as well as the couches along the sides of the hall were covered with the same soft material Willie walked along the hall his shoes making no noise on the furry carpet Looking right and left with admiration Across the side which he was approaching extended white steps which led to a platform on Each end of which was a row of chairs cushioned with pale grey most furs Upon a throne in the center appeared a huge object. That was all fur Willie soon saw that this object had two feet and He was just going nearer to satisfy his curiosity When the words don’t come near it is dangerous for boys Made him draw back He looked sharply and discovered that it was an enormous cat His left paw resting on an arm of the throne his right paw holding a huge club above his head Willie to back still farther his eyes fixed on the Cat’s face. They at each other for fully a minute then Willie remarked What a stunning cat you are You are the biggest fellow. I have ever seen The cat took no notice of this disrespectful Observation he sat dignified and solemn after a pause which Willie had not the courage to break The king cat asked are you William Hart? Willie immediately answered yes, sir And then he left because he had said sir to account What brought you here asked the cat? Why said Willie why I was chasing and then he stopped catching Chasing what asked the cat? Well he began a strange obligation upon him to tell the truth our cat he kept a going and I kept a chasing the old thing wouldn’t stop long enough for me to hit him and He went into a hole in a tree very Strange that a cat wouldn’t stop to be hit very strange. I must say Reflectively observed the king cat a boy now would have stopped to be hit of course He would be so obliging Why I don’t think began Willie, but the king cat interrupted him I’ll give you time to think You may sit down there and think and he pointed with his club to a couch near the platform Will he sat down? Obediently the King cat seemed in no hurry to speak again. He sat on his throne Looking straight before him his left paw on the arm of the throne his right paw resting on his club Will he thought and thought all the cats he had ever seen? Came to his mind and all except his sister Fanny’s little Topsy were running from him Some he was pursuing with sticks some was stones And they all were getting away as fast as they could His tension was attracted to a cat who had just entered it Was walking on its hind feet and carrying a tray in his forepaws It was the grey cat of the morning’s adventure Pausing before the king gray made as low a bow as he could Considering he had a tray in his paws and said here is your Majesty’s mail when the king cat had read the missives he said Inform the judge and jury and the ladies and gentlemen of the court that we are ready to proceed to try the case Thereupon a fine-looking cat walked in He had a sunflower wand in one paw and a roll of paper in the other Making his bow he took his seat at the left of the throne then twelve cats came in each carrying a club and saluting the king Six took the seats at one end of the platform and six at the other then followed the members of the court all silently passing to the seats at the other end of the hall and Finally 40 fierce looking cats armed with clubs filled the outside row of seats Willie looked at the cats and the cats looked at him and he started with surprise when he Recognized his sister Fanny’s little Topsy among them the King turned to the first officer and said You may proceed the first official arose Willie felt sure it was his cousin Tom’s pet cat and he remembered seeing Tom trying to teach him to write and After bowing to the king and jury and then to the court read from the paper as follows to your royal highness the gentlemen of the jury and the ladies and gentlemen of the court greeting at the request of your royal highness I have prepared the statement of our grievances from this boy and others of his race First I confess that many other people do wrong and deserve the chase Manette some notwithstanding a careful bringing up Allow nature to get the better of them and in order to satisfy the cravings of hunger Jump up on the dinner table and even run away with pieces of B Steak and mutton chop such conduct deserves the punishment, which generally follows But your Royal Highness what I complain of is the persistent tyranny exercise towards us By that class of human beings called boys Why your Royal Highness if a cat? do but curl in a corner to Sun himself or settle comfort Li on a post or a fence if He stopped for a moment to wash his face or take a roll in the cool grass these boys pounced on him with sticks or stones and He is obliged to flee for his life Not content with that They chase him this particular boy your raw highness is one of the worst of his kind but he shows no mercy especially in the chase and But that we are a fleet-footed race Many of your loyal subjects would be found lying dead on the ground killed by him We think you’re wrong on us that these Things should be stopped It was by your orders this morning that Lord grey cat enticed him into the tree Which stands as a tower to our underground castles by your orders also? We are now meant to consider. What shall be done with him the king then said I give all Opportunity to speak and in order to avoid confusion The cat highest in court may begin the others may follow in order lord grey cat we will hear you Lord gray cat made his speech stating he knew William Hart intimately and many of the court testified after him as will he listened his color came and went he felt himself growing hot and cold by turns and He owned to himself that all they said was true Then the King turned to Willie boy you may speak if you have any reason for your conduct make it known Willie arose not to be outdone by cats in politeness He bowed first to the king and jury and then to the court Your royal highness. I didn’t suppose that cat scared I didn’t think your raw highness, then he stopped not knowing what to say next But catching sight of Topsy he continued in a faltering voice Your royal highness. I was always good to Topsy wasn’t I Topsy and my sister Fanny loves eats Loves cats and it would grieve her if you should hurt me then He sat down after a moment of silence that King was turning to the jury When the first official again came forward with his sunflower wand what is it asked the King? Your royal highness miss Topsy wishes to speak certainly said the king the first official brought forward miss Topsy leading her by the paw a Thrilling sensation ran through the court many of the cats clapped their paws silently Evidently miss Topsy was a favorite She certainly did look lovely with a little ruffled Muslin cap mined with blue stuck over one ear a blue ribbon around her neck and a little embroidered handkerchief in her right paw Even His Royal Highness smiled there she stood looking so pretty that Willie could not help saying Oh Topsy I wish Fanny could see you Topsy took no notice of Willie she kept her eyes on the king and jury Now and then putting her handkerchief up to wipe away the tears She pleaded for Willie in a soft Paree tones Dwelling on his uniform kindness too, and the goodness of Fanny and of his mother to all cats occasionally she would turn to some big dreamin and Ask if what she said were not true, and he would directly say that it was The whole jury indeed seemed to feel the influence of her words and when she returned to her seat Will he felt that public opinion had been changed? The jury retired it seemed to Willie that they were gone a long time, but in fact They were gone only five minutes at the expiration of that time they returned as quietly as they had left at a Nod from the king the first official arose and read the decision it seemed very Severe to Willie we think a persecutor of cats ought to be condemned to death but as some extenuating Circumstances have been related in regard to this boy We think the punishment of the second degree may do in his case the forty executioner shall be ranged opposite each other 20 in a row with clubs raised at The signal the boy shall run between the lines and all shall hit him who can The boy shall then return through the lines all striking at him with the left paw claws on muffed This shall be done six times if the boy survived He shall remain a prisoner until he has done some deed of great service to the race of cats the King turned to the executioner’s preparer There was an immediate movement Topsy went anxiously from one to another of the Executioner’s Willie heard her say don’t strike hard. Please scare him only the executioner’s ranged themselves The first official led Willie to the head of the line Willie’s heart beat fast, but he was a brave boy He hold up his head and awaited the signal like a young Indian the order was given the clubs were Raised and Willie ran. He reached the foot of the lines not much hurt the Executioner’s had remembered miss Topsy some had made a great fuss But had not touched him and the others had hit him lately At the end of the sixth run Willie had lost some hair had received some scratches and a black Eye, but on the whole he had come out safe And he now stood panting and wondering what would occur next The King nodded his head as a signal for all to leave and Willie was left standing before the king Boy his majesty said at last be seated strive to think of some good deed you can do Willie was glad to sit as he was rather tired But as I have said he was a brave boy And he immediately set to work Thinking of something good to do for the king and his subjects. He was fond of using tools He had a very nice set at home, and he had amused himself every rainy day with them He now soon remembered a Rattrap. He had just finished He arose and said please your royal highness I could make a rat trap if I had the things and stuff that please the king and he said I like to see a boy do the best he can Pass into the next room and you will find everything you need Willie passed in he found a carpenter’s bench some wood and wire and all the tools he needed He never worked so steadily before he gave himself. No time to rest he measured He saw it he planned He bored holes as if his life Depended on it and indeed how did he know but that it did? At the end of an hour his rat trip was finished He took it to the cat and explained it the king said rats know too much to go in there Will he replied they will go after cheese sir? I wish I had some cheese you will find some in the closet in the next room said the king Sure enough Willy found it on a shelf put away with other nice bits for the Kings dessert Willy showed the King just how to set the trap and then put it by a hole Which the King pointed out if that can catch rats said the king it will save my subjects a deal of trouble For it is necessary for my health that I eat a rat at every meal they both fix their eyes on the trap Willy would now and then glance at the king, but the King never once took his eyes off It was so still and the lamps burned so brightly that will he almost dropped asleep After a watch of about two hours Willy heard a little click And then another he held his breath and looked at the king the King turned his head towards him and said He is caught bring him here will he carried the trap to the King feeling very happy Now you will let me go He said the King took out the rat Then he bade Willy set the trap again and place it back it soon caught another Then he knocked with his club on the floor and Lord gray cat and Miss Topsy entered After they had expressed their satisfaction the King cat turned to Willy boy You are to go, but first. I wish you make a solemn promise Yes, sir said Willy eagerly Accordingly at the king’s command Willy repeated after him these words I solemnly promise that I will no more torment cats By chasing them throwing sticks or stones after them or in any way whatsoever And I will do all I can to discourage these acts in other boys The King then turned to Lord grey cat conduct the boy out of the castle and show him the way home Willie bowed politely and said thank you, sir To the king and followed Lord gray cat up the stairs out of the hollow tree out into the beautiful woods The Sun was just gilding the tops of the trees so he knew it must be near teatime When will he look down again Lord gray cat was still before him? But he was walking on his four feet and he had Willie’s hat in his mouth Give me my hat will he shouted but lord gray cat ran on Once will he forgot and picked up a stick But remembered in time and dropped it when they came in sight of the chimneys will he knew where he was lord grey cat dropped his hat and Disappeared will he picked it up and running soon reached the house and entered the dining room just As the family were seating themselves at tea Willie where have you been what is the matter? Greeted him on all sides for you Must remember his hair had been pulled his face scratched And his eye bruised besides his trousers and jacket were torn Willie’s appetite astonished everybody So did his silence and last he drew a long breath and looked around There was the grey cat on the rug and there sat Topsy with her muslin cap and blue ribbon Fannie noticed his look She said Topsy went off this morning. Don’t you think and she lost her beautiful little handkerchief? Willie went around and smoothed Topsy’s fur and called her miss Topsy and then he patted the old cat and called him Lord gray cat and everybody shouted with laughter Everybody but Willie he looked perfectly serious It was sometime before Willie took his father and mother and Fanny into his confidence His parents grieved him by doubting his story But Fanny won his heart by believing every word of it one day Willie and Fanny went together Into the woods in search of the hollow tree they saw several cats wandering around but the hole was filled with rubbish and the Branches were so thick that Willie could not climb them so they contented themselves with leaving some nice pieces of meat and a little note directed to the king cat and When they went again both the note and food were gone after that they often went with Topsy and Lord gray cat who seemed to enjoy the visits very much and To be acquainted with all the cats they met But none of them could be induced to walk on their hind feet without help Willie kept his promise he was a friend to all cats from that time And he also persuaded many a boy to cease tormenting them end of section 36 recording by Linda Murray Nielsen, Vancouver, BC end of the children’s wonder book by various