Peter and the cat, adapted by Karleigh Bon
You may be sad about the hand you’re dealt or you might not. You could also find your best friend and marry them. Godjule friends! We’re kicking off this holiday season with stories dug out of the past. This one is an old Norwegian Folktale. Don’t forget season three of, “Tales of Eldelórne, book One,” starts up again on January 7, 2021. See ya there!
Melodic Interlude and Tranquil Fields by Alexander Nakarada (www.serpentsoundstudios.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Exotic Plains and Illusory Realm by Darren Curtis, and found on his website by Darren Curtis www.darrencurtismusic.com and is licensed and used with permission.
Tusk Lord, First Christmas Song by Fesliyan Studios Licensed under Creative Commons BY Attribution 4.0 License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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Welcome back to the Eldelorne Yuletide Celebration. This is where I dive deep into ancient northern ancestry and bring you stories from the past.
This next gift for you is sometimes called Lord Peter or Squire Pier. It is a Norwegian fairytale collected from ancient oral traditions back in the day by two guys named Asbjørnsen and Moe. I like to call my own adaption of the tale…
Peter and the Cat
There was, once upon a time, a poor couple who had nothing in the world but three sons. They could barely keep with the payments to the landlord. As the weather grew colder and summer left the land, both parents died. Their children were to have all they left behind; but there was nothing but a porridge pot, a grid-iron and a cat. The eldest, who had to have the best, took the pot.
“Every time I lend the pot I shall get the scrapings,” he said.
The second took the gridiron. “For when I lend it I shall get a bit to taste,” said he. And the two older brothers took their prizes and set out into the world to try their fortune, and each went his own way.
But there was no choice for the youngest; if he wanted anything he would have to take the cat.
Now, the young man’s name was Peter, and he had always liked the cat and treated her kindly.
“It would be a pity if she should be left behind to pine.” He said. “Come along cat,” as they headed out the door
“Since it is coming into winter soon, we may freeze or starve to death soon enough,” Peter sadly shook his head as he stroked the cat’s back.
When Peter and the cat had gone awhile down the road the cat said:
“You’ll not be sorry you didn’t leave me behind. I’ll now go into the forest and fetch some fine animal which you must take to the king’s palace you see yonder, and say to the king you have come with a small present for him. When he asks who it is from you must say it is from the Lord of the land to the North”
Peter had not long to wait before the cat came back with a reindeer from the forest; she had jumped upon its head and when she had settled herself between its horns she said: “If you don’t go straight to the king’s palace I shall scratch your eyes out.” The reindeer dared not do otherwise.
When Peter came to the palace he went into the kitchen with the reindeer and said:
“I have come with a small present for the king, which I hope he will accept.”
The king came out into the kitchen and when he saw the fine big reindeer he was much pleased.
“But, dear friend! who is it that sends me such a fine present?” said the king.
“Oh, it’s from the Lord of the land to the North!” said the lad.
“the Lord of the land to the North!” said the king. “Ah, let me see, where is it he lives?” for he thought it was a shame he should not know such a worthy man.
But the lad would not tell him. He dared not for his master, he said.
So the king gave Peter some gold and asked him to give his master his greetings and many thanks for the present.
The next day the cat went into the forest again and jumped up on the head of a stag, settled herself between its eyes and compelled it to go to the palace. Peter again went into the kitchen with it and said he came with a small present for the king if he would accept it. The king was still more pleased with the stag than with the reindeer, and asked again who it was that had sent him such a fine present.
“Oh, it’s from the Lord of the land to the North,” said the lad; but when the king wanted to know where the Lord of the land to the North lived he got the same answer as the day before. This time he gave Peter still more gold.
The third day the cat brought an ennormous elk. When Peter came into the kitchen at the palace, he said that he had a small present for the king if he would accept it. The king came out at once into the kitchen, and when he saw the fine, big elk he became so pleased he did not know which leg to stand upon. That time he gave Peter much more gold; The bag he gave Peter was so heavy, he thought it must have been more than a hundred pieces.
The king was now most anxious to know where the Lord of the land to the North lived and began questioning him backwards and forwards, but the lad said he dared not tell him, for his master had given him strict orders not to disclose it.
“Well, ask your Lord to pay me a visit then,” said the king.
Yes, he would do that, said the lad, but when he came out of the palace and met the cat, Peter said:
“You have got me into a fine scrape; the king now says I must visit him and I have nothing but the rags I walk in.”
“Oh, don’t trouble about that,” said the cat. “In three days you shall have coach and horses, and fine clothes with gold trimmings and hangings, and then you can surely visit the king.
The cat had proven herself in the past so Peter decided to wait for her at a nearby Inn until the cats return. When the three days were over the cat came as promised, with the coach and horses and clothes and everything that Peter wanted; all was so grand that no one had seen anything like it before.
Peter put on the clothes and prepared to present himself to the king. Then the cat said, “You must not tell the king your real name and Whatever you see at the palace, you must say you have grander and finer things at home; you must not forget that.”
“Okay,” said Peter. He assured the cat he would be sure to remember her words.
So the newly quaffed Lord Peter, set out for the palace with the cat running alongside him.
The king received the Lord of the land to the North well, but whatever he offered him and whatever he showed him Peter said it was all very well, but he had everything finer and grander at home. The king was not pleased to hear this; but Peter went on just the same and at last the king became so angry that he could no longer contain himself.
“I’ll go home with you,” said the king, “and see if it is true that you have everything so much grander and finer; but if you have not told the truth it will be the worse for you. I’ll say no more!”
“You have got me into a fine scrape this time,” said Peter to the cat; “the king now wants to go home with me, but it will not be an easy thing to find my home that does not exist.”
“Oh, don’t be trouble about that,” said the cat, “I will run on in front, and you need only follow me on the road to the north.”
So they set off. Peter’ carrage followed the cat, who ran on in front, followed by the king with all his entire suite. When they had driven a good bit on the way, they came to a large flock of fine sheep; the wool was so long it almost reached to the ground.
The cat, being at the front of the parade, stopped and talked to the herds boy,
“If you will say that the sheep belong to the Lord of the land to the North when the king asks, you shall have a gold piece,” said the cat to the herdsboy. Yes, he would willingly do that, said the herds boy. The cat gave him one of Peter’s gold pieces to seal the bargan.
When the king came by, he leaned out his carrage window and said:
“I’ve never seen such a fine flock of sheep! To whom do they belong, my boy?”
“Oh, they belong to the Lord of the land to the North,” said the herds boy.
In a little while they came to a great big herd of fine brindled cows; they were so fat that their hides glistened.
“If you will say the cattle belong to the Lord of the land to the North when the king asks, you shall have this gold coin,” said the cat to the cow-girl.
“Yes, that I will,” smiled the girl, as she pocketed the gold. When the king came up, he was quite surprised at the fine big cattle, for such a herd he thought he had never seen before; and so he asked the girl to whom those brindled cows belonged.
“Oh, they belong to the Lord of the land to the North!” said the girl.
So they travelled on again, and then they came to a great big drove of horses. They were the finest one could see, big and sleek, and six of each of the, brown and red, and cream-colours.
“If you will say those horses belong to the Lord of the land to the North when the king asks, I’ll give you this gold coin,” said the cat to the boy.
“Yes, that I will,” said the boy. He bit down on the coin and smiled as he put it into a pocket. When the king came by, he became quite dazed at the fine drove of horses, for he had never seen the like of such horses, he said. He then asked the boy to whom those brown, red, and cream-coloured horses belonged.
“Oh, they belong to the Lord of the land to the North!” said the boy.
When they had travelled a long, long way, they finally came to a castle. The cat and the line of carrages passed through a gateway of stone and brass, then one of silver and polished marble, and then one of gold. The castle itself was edged in silver and gold, and glistened so brightly that it made one’s eyes smart, for the sun was shining full upon it when they arrived.
They entered the expansive courtyard , and the cat told Peter to finally introduce himself and say he lived there.
Inside the castle was still more splendid than outside; everything was of gold, both chairs and tables and benches. When the king had seen it all from top to bottom, he became quite confounded.
“Yes, tis Lord of the North is much grander than I; there is no use denying that,” he said; and then he wanted to return home. But, our newly titled, Lord Peter finally introduced himself as the owner of all and asked the king to stay and sup with him, which the king agreed to; but he was cross and peevish the whole time.
While they sat at table a troll, came and knocked at the gate.
“Who eats my food and drinks my mead in there?” he cried.
As soon as the cat heard him, she ran to the gate.
“Wait a little, and I’ll tell you how the farmer gets his winter rye,” said the cat. “First he ploughs his field, and then he manures it, and then he ploughs it again”; and so the cat went on and on with her mesmerizing story till the morning sun peaked over the horizon.
“Just look behind at that beautiful damsel!” exclaimed the cat to the troll. The troll then turned round, and when he saw the sun he turned to stone and then burst into a pile of dust.
The King packed up his entourage and left for his own kingdom to the south. Barreling out the gate he coughed on some dust pile the carrage knocked into the air.
Peter and the cat stood alone in palace courtyard.
“And now you must cut my head off; it is the only thing I ask for all I have done for you.” The cat said.
“No,” said Peter, “that I will never do.”
“Please,” the cat begged but Peter felt that would not be a fine end for such a grand cat. Besides, he’d grown fond of the cat and all her wild antics.
“You must, or I’ll scratch your eyes out.” The cat finally growled. Peter knew she would never harm him, but he could see she was serious.
Peter did not want to kill the cat but the two looked into one anothers eyes and the cat was so pitiful, he finally agreed to do it.
Peter drew his sharp knife and cut the cat’s head off. In the same moment as the head of the cat fell to the ground as dust, the body of the cat transformed into the most beautiful young woman Peter had ever set eyes upon. He fell in love with her right then and there.
“All this splendour belonged to my family and is mine,” said the girl, “but the troll got me into his power and turned me into a cat, I ran away, and ever since I have been hiding at your parents’.
After all our adventures would you stay with me as my king? The princess who once was a cat asked.
Peter was, of course, only too glad to marry his good friend. So the wedding took place, and because it was the season of Yule, the feasting and partying lasted for twelve more days!
And if you are asking, the couple really did live happily ever after.