Cattenborg part I

May 12, 2010 at 11:26 am (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time, there was a woodcutter and his wife who lived with their two children at the edge of the forest. All the couple owned was a chainsaw, a cow, and a cat (they rented their cottage). The woodcutter and his wife bickered all day long. If he liked a thing, she disliked it. If he wanted something, she wanted something else. One day, the wife tried to make peace by making a pudding for her husband. As she made the pudding, she thought “He won’t be satisfied with this fabulous pudding I am working so hard on. I’ll bet he will grumble all while eating it.” At that very same moment that the wife was making the pudding, the woodcutter was thinking to himself “I will eat whatever vile thing my wife makes me to eat. But she will grumble all the while. I will have no peace.” Both thought the other started the quarrels.

At dinner that night the pudding was so good that the woodcutter ran to the kitchen to lick up all the little bits of leftover pudding in the pan. The wife ran in after him, and snatched the pan away, shouting that since she had worked so hard to make the pudding, she should get the scraps. He shouted that it was his house, and his hard work that provided their food, so he should get to eat the pudding. With a final shout of “It’s not even your house! We rent it!” she ran away with the pan, and he followed after with the ladle. Their two children stood at the doorway, watching as their parents ran off into the distance.

A few days passed, and the boy and girl watched and waited for their parents to return, but they never did. Finally, they acknowledged that waiting was futile (they had been given notice by their landlord for not paying rent on the cottage), and so they planned to divide the assets and try to make their ways in the world.

“I will take the cow,” proclaimed Markku. He thought he was being quite generous, considering under normal circumstances he would get everything. “And you may have the cat.”

Just as Brigit was about to protest at the unfairness of this division, the cat, named Alphonse,  rubbed against her leg and said, “I promise you will never regret your choice if you take me.”

Brigit picked the cat up, and said to her brother, “Yes, you may keep the cow Markku. I’ll take Alphonse.”

Markku couldn’t believe his luck, and quickly ran out the door with the cow, snatching up the chainsaw and shouting good-bye to his sister so that she wouldn’t have a chance to change her mind. When the door slammed behind Markku, Alphonse turned to Brigit and said, “If you do exactly what I tell you to do, I will bring you great happiness.” Brigit promised to follow the cat’s instructions, because she hadn’t the slightest idea what else to do.

“Let’s go,” said Alphonse, “We don’t want to still be here when the landlord comes to kick us out. We will take the path through the forest, rather than taking the high road like Markku did.”

The forest was very eerie, and Brigit was a little bit frightened as they walked between the fir trees, for she knew that trolls lived in the forest. But she and Alphonse walked on and on, until Brigit was so tired she could hardly take another step. Alphonse told her that she could rest, but only if she took off all her clothes and gave them to him. She did, and then Alphonse ripped her clothing into shreds and scattered the pieces on the forest floor.

“Hey! Those were my only clothes. What have you done?” Shouted Brigit.

“Don’t ask questions,” replied Alphonse, “just do as you’re told. It is all part of the plan. Now hide in that tree.”

Brigit did as she was told, and climbed the tree. Alphonse then ran off to the royal castle that was not too far away. Brigit was frightened of being all alone in the forest, with nothing to cover her nakedness but her hair, but she trusted the cat, and waited for him to return.

Once Alphonse arrived at the castle, he told everyone he met about the horrible disaster that had befallen his mistress while they traveled through the forest. He told them that he was the only one other than the princess who survived.  He told them that a vicious gang of thugs had attacked them, killing and dragging everyone away, and stealing all the princess’s fine clothes and jewelry. “Now she is hiding in a tree and won’t come down because she is naked.”

The king heard about this and was very upset that such a thing could happen in his kingdom. The prince heard this and wanted to rescue the beautiful and naked girl. “Oh, Father! Do let me go rescue the naked, I mean unfortunate, girl. I would love to see, I mean help, her!”

The king decided to let his son lead the rescue mission for the princess, but before he left, the queen sent a maid along with a fine dress, so that the princess would be properly clothed when she got out of her tree.

When the rescue party’s stretch hummer arrived, the Princess’s entourage was nowhere to be found, but there were signs of a violent fight and bits of cloth littering the ground.

“Princess?” called Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV. “”Where are you Princess? It is I, Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV come to rescue you!”

“OH! Why, hello,” responded Brigit. “You see, I can’t come down out of this tree. I am naked.”

The Prince opened his mouth to say something, but the maid cut him off, “Princess, we have clothing for you. Which tree are you in? I will climb up and help you get dressed.”

Brigit indicated her hiding spot, and the maid climbed up into the branches. A few minutes passed, and then the maid and Brigit climbed down out of the tree. Prince Diederick was stunned by the beauty of Brigit, and immediately invited her to stay at his father’s castle.

Brigit had never dreamed of such wondrous things like the gown she now wore, and the castle she would be staying in. Luckily clever Alphonse had, and had planned for just this possibility. He warned Brigit that whenever she did not know what to do, she should say “It was quite different at home in my beautiful castle Cattenborg.”

When the rescue party, Brigit and Alphonse arrived at the castle, she was received very cordially by the King and Queen. The King was very impressed with the beauty and manners of his guest, as was the Queen. The Queen, however, had some doubts about Brigit’s royal birth (she was related to Queen Henrietta, of the pea incident, and is therefore naturally suspicious). Because her son had told her that he planned on marrying this beautiful princess, she devised a plan to test the legitimacy of Brigit’s royal heritage.

Before diner, the Queen sent Brigit a marvelous gown with a long train, thinking “If she is a real princess she will certainly know how to walk in it.” For no one wears gowns like that anymore, unless it is for a royal function.

Alphonse saw the Queen’s scheme, and set off at once to warn Brigit and teach her how to walk in a dress with a train. He soon left, however, to see what other tests the Queen had in mind. He found the Queen in the large banqueting hall where she was talking with the master of Ceremonies.

“If she is truly a royal princess, she must know that we use the silver cups for the first course and the gold ones for the second,” said the Master of Ceremonies.

Alphonse was too late to warn his mistress, for the guests were already arriving for dinner, and Brigit had already walked into the banqueting hall. She was wearing the magnificent gown with the long train, and she had a golden crown on her head — a gift from Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV. Everyone looked in wonder at the beautiful foreign princess. Only the Queen doubted her royal birth.

Once all the Guests were seated, the Queen made the signal that they should taste the wine. She waited to see what her guest would do. Just as Brigit was about to take the golden cup, because it was closer to the plate, she felt Alphonse scratching at her leg. She felt he must be warning her, so she reached for the silver cup instead; the scratching stopped, and she drank from that cup. The Prince nudged his mother in the ribs several times to make sure she noticed that the girl had taken the correct cup, and must therefore be a princess.

Even though her son was convinced, the Queen still wasn’t quite sure of Brigit’s royal heritage; she had to have absolute proof! So before Brigit went to bed that night, the Queen snuck into the guest room and placed a straw under the sheet. “Henrietta’s pea-under-the-mattress theory is insane, but she did have the basis of a good idea! If the girl really is a princess, she cannot help but notice the straw in her bed,” she thought.

Once again Alphonse, the sneaky cat, witnessed the Queen’s devious plot. When Brigit retired that night, Alphonse told her of the Queen’s newest plan, and told her what to say the next morning.

At breakfast the next day the Queen asked Brigit how she had slept during the night.

“Thank you, your Majesty, I slept quite well, because I was very tired; but I felt as if I slept in 100-thread count sheets. I am sure I’m covered in scratches. How different it was in my beautiful castle Cattenborg!”

This little speech convinced the Queen that Brigit must be a very high-born princess, and had no further objections to her son marrying the girl. So they were betrothed, and Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV asked Brigit when they could travel to her beautiful castle Cattenborg to get married. But she had no answer to give him.

Want to read the rest of the story? Tune in next week!

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1 Comment

  1. Brenda said,

    The thread count sheet comment made me think of Aziz . . . normally it feels like she’s sleeping in lotion! 🙂

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