MOUSE AND MOUSER – English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs

The Mouse went to visit the Cat, and found her sitting behind the hall door, spinning

MOUSE. What are you doing, my lady, my lady, What are you doing, my lady?

CAT (sharply). I’m spinning old breeches, good body, good body I’m spinning old breeches, good body.

MOUSE. Long may you wear them, my lady, my lady, Long may you wear them, my lady.

CAT (gruffly). I’ll wear’ em and tear ’em, good body, good body. I’ll wear ’em and tear ’em, good body.

MOUSE. I was sweeping my room, my lady, my lady, I was sweeping my room, my lady.

CAT. The cleaner you’d be, good body, good body, The cleaner you’d be, good body.

MOUSE. I found a silver sixpence, my lady, my lady, I found a silver sixpence, my lady.

CAT. The richer you were, good body, good body, The richer you were, good body.

MOUSE. I went to the market, my lady, my lady, I went to the market, my lady.

CAT. The further you went, good body, good body The further you went, good body.

MOUSE. I bought me a pudding, my lady, my lady, I bought me a pudding, my lady.

CAT (snarling). The more meat you had, good body, good body, The more meat you had, good body.

MOUSE. I put it in the window to cool, my lady, I put it in the window to cool.

CAT. (sharply). The faster you’d eat it, good body, good body, The faster you’d eat it, good body.

MOUSE (timidly). The cat came and ate it, my lady, my lady, The cat came and ate it, my lady.

CAT (pouncingly). And I’ll eat you, good body, good body, And I’ll eat you, good body.

(Springs upon the mouse and kills it.)

NOTES AND REFERENCES
X. MOUSE AND MOUSER.
Source.—From memory by Mrs. E. Burne-Jones.
Parallels.—A fragment is given in Halliwell, 43; Chambers’s Popular Rhymes has a Scotch version, “The Cattie sits in the Kilnring spinning” (p. 53). The surprise at the end, similar to that in Perrault’s “Red Riding Hood,” is a frequent device in English folk tales. (Cf. infra, Nos. xii., xxiv., xxix., xxxiii., xli.)

ENGLISH FAIRY TALES
By Anonymous
COLLECTED BY JOSEPH JACOBS

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