Previously on Beware the Cat: Mouseslayer is recounting her life story to an assembly of cats. She has also defended herself against claims by the obnoxious Catchrat.
Layer 1: framing narrative spoken by Baldwin
Layer 2: main narrative spoken by Streamer
Layer 3: The council of cats
Layer 4: Mouseslayer’s stories
The last two stories from Mouseslayer concern her time with the young woman we met in the previous story.
The third story initially makes Mouseslayer the object of humour. A man sticks walnut shells to her feet so she can’t walk properly. However, events spiral out of control when Mouseslayer is mistaken for a demon. There are bottom jokes and people shitting themselves but not much theology other than a priest has to improvise because he isn’t allowed to make holy water anymore.
The fourth story returns to the plot of the second story. The young woman who was convinced, by trickery, to have an affair is still seeing the man involved. Worse yet she and her lover have secretly spent all the husband’s money. Yes, a tale of cuckoldry which should make any alt-right readers happy if I had any, which I hope I don’t. This one has testicle jokes.
If you like cat themed farces you may enjoy them.
Mouseslayer’s Third Story
“After I was come to my young mistress,” quote Mouseslayer “she made much of me, thinking that I had been my old dame’s daughter, and many tales she told me. My master, also, made much of me, because I would take meat in my foot and put it in my mouth and feed.
Now in this house there dwelt an ungracious fellow who, delighting much in unhappy turns, on a time took four walnut shells and filled them full of soft pitch and put them upon my feet into cold water till the pitch was hardened, and then he let me go. But, Lord! how strange it was for me to go in shoes, and how they vexed me! When I was upon any steep thing they made me slide and fall down. So all that afternoon, angry that I could not get off my shoes, I hid in a corner of the garret which was boarded, under which my master and mistress lay.
That night when they were all in bed, I spied a mouse playing in the flour, and when I ran at her to catch her, my shoes made such a noise upon the boards that it waked my master, who was a man very fearful of spirits ; and when he with his servants harkened well to the noise, which went pit pat, pit pat, as it had been the trampling of a horse, they became all afraid, and said surely it had been the devil. And as one of them, a hardy fellow, even he that had put the walnut shoes on me, came up stairs to see what it was, I went down to meet him, and made such a rattling that when he saw my glistering eyes, he fell down backward and broke his head, crying out: “The devil! The devil! The devil!” His master and all the rest hearing this, ran, naked as they were, into the street, and cried the same cry.
Whereupon the neighbours arose and called up among other and old priest, who lamented much the lack of holy water, which they were forbidden to make. So he went to the church, and took out of the font some of the christening water, and took his chalice and there in a wafer unconsecrated, and put on a surplice and his stole about his neck, and fetched out of his chamber a piece of holy candle which he had kept two year, and came back to the house, and with his candle lit in one hand, and a holy water sprinkle in the other hand, and his chalice and wafer in sight of his bosom, and a pot of font water at his girdle, up he came, praying, towards the garret, and all the people after him.
When I saw this, and thinking I should see some mass that night as many nights before in other places I had, I ran towards them, thinking to meet them. But when the priest heard me come, and by a glimpsing had seen me, down he fell upon them that were behind him, and with his chalice hurt one, with his water-pot another, and his holy candle fell into another priests below, who, while the rest were looking for me, was conjuring our maid at the stairs foot, and all to besinged him, for he was so afraid with the noise of the rest which fell that he had not the power to put it out.
When I saw all this business done I ran among them where they lay on heaps; but such a fear as they were all in then, I think was never seen before; for the old priest, which was so tumbled among them that his face lay upon a boys bare arse, which belike had fallen headlong under him, and was so astonished that when the boy shat himself out of fear, had all mired his face. The priest neither felt nor smelt the shit, nor removed it from him.
Then went I to my young mistress which lay among the rest, God knows very madly, and so mewed and curled about her, that at last she said, “I think it be my cat” Hearing the knave that had put shoes on me, and calling to mind that erst he had forgot, said it was so indeed and nothing else. Hearing that the priest in whose holy breech the holy candle all this while lay burning, he took haste a grace, and before he was spied, rose up and took the candle in his hand, and looked upon me and all the company, and fell a laughing at the handsome lying of his fellows face. The rest, hearing him, came every man to himself, and arose and looked upon me, and cursed the knave which had shoed me. This done they got hot water and dissolved the pitch, and plucked off my shoes; and then every man, after they desired each other not to talk again of this night’s work, for shame, departed to their lodgings, and all our household went to bed again.
Mouseslayer’s Fourth Story
(When all the cats, and I as well, had laughed at this apace, Mouseslayer proceeded, again)
After this, about three quarters of a year later at Whitsun last, I played another prank. The gentleman who by mine old dames lying, and by my weeping, was accepted and retained of my mistress, came often home to our house (always in my masters absence) and was doing with my young mistress. They had spent my master’s goods so lavishly between them that notwithstanding his great trade of merchandise, they had, unknown to him, almost undone him already. So I sought how I might betray them
At the time I just mentioned, it came to pass that while this gentleman was doing with my young mistress, my master came in so suddenly that he had no time to pluck up his hose, but with them still about his ankle ran into a corner and hid behind the painted cloth, and there stood, I warrant you, as still as a mouse.
As soon as my master came in his wife, according to her old wont, caught him about his neck and kissed him, and devised many means to get him forth again, but he, being weary, sat down and called for his dinner; and when she saw there was none other remedy she brought it him, which was a mess of pottage and piece of beef (whereas she and her lover had broken their fast with capons, hot venison, marrowbones, and all other kinds of dainties). I seeing this, and minding to show my master how he was being treated, got behind the cloth, and, to make the man speak, I pawed him upon his bare legs and buttocks with my claws, and for all this he stood still and never moved. However, my master heard me, and thinking I was catching a mouse, bad my mistress go help me, who knowing what best was there, came to the cloth and called me away, saying, ‘Come, puss ! come, puss!’ and cast me meat into the floor.
I minding no other thing, and seeing that scratching could not move him, suddenly I leapt up and caught him by the genitals with my teeth, and bit so hard, that when he had restrained more than I thought any man could, at last he cried out, and caught me by the neck, thinking to strangle me. My master not smelling so much as hearing a rat, came to the cloth and lifted it up, and there found this naked gentleman strangling me who had his balls in my mouth. When I saw my master I let go of my hold, and the gentleman his, and away I ran immediately to the place where I now dwell, and never came there since, so that how long they agreed among them I cannot tell, nor never dare I go for fear of my life.
Thus have I told you, my good lords, all things that have been done and happened to me, wherein you perceive my loyalty and obedience to all good laws, and how shamefully and falsely I am accused for a transgressor; and pray you as you have perceived so certify, my liege, great Cammoloch (whose life both Hagat and Hag preserve), of my behaviour.