THE OLD WOMAN AND THE CAT
These tales were originally translated to the English language by A. G. Seklemian and Z. C. Boyajian
Once upon a time there was an old woman who had a goat. She milked the goat every day and kept the milk in the cupboard; but a sly cat came and licked it up. One day, however, the old woman succeeded in getting hold of the cat, cut off her tail as a punishment, and let her go.
“Meow! meow!” cried the cat; “Give me my tail!”
“Bring me my milk and I will give you your tail,” said the old woman.
The cat went to the goat and said: “Goat, kind goat, do give me some milk! I will give it to the old woman and get back my tail.”
“Bring me some boughs from that tree, and I will give you milk,” answered the goat.
The cat went to the tree and said, “O good tree, do give me some boughs! I will take them to the goat, get a little milk and give it to the old woman, and get back my tail.”
“Bring me some water and I will give you some boughs,” answered the tree.
The cat went to the water-carrier and said, “Kind water-carrier, give me some water! I will take it to the tree and get some boughs, give them to the goat and get some milk, and give it to the old woman and get my tail.”
“Bring me a pair of shoes and I will give you some water,” said the water-carrier.
The cat went to the shoemaker and said, “Shoemaker, good shoemaker, do give me a pair of shoes! I will give them to the water-carrier, who will give me some water; I will take it to the tree and get some boughs for the goat; she will give me some milk, which I will take to the old woman and get my tail.”
“Bring me an egg and I will give you a pair of shoes,” said the shoemaker.
The cat went to the hen and said, “Hen, good hen, do lay me an egg! I will take it to the shoemaker and get a pair of shoes for the water-carrier; he will give me some water, which I will take to the tree and get some boughs for the goat; she will give me some milk, which I will take to the old woman and get my tail.”
“Bring me some barley and I will lay an egg for you,” answered the hen.
The cat went to the threshing-floor and said, “Threshing-floor, kind threshing-floor, do give me some barley!”
The threshing-floor said: “There, you may gather the scattered barley which my good master has left as food for the birdies and ants.”
The cat gathered the barley and took it to the hen, which laid her an egg. She took the egg to the shoemaker and got a pair of shoes. She took the pair of shoes to the water-carrier and got a pailful of water for the tree. The tree gave her some boughs that she took the goat. The goat gave her some milk that she took to the old woman.
“Here is your tail,” said the old woman, “and be careful from now on not to steal my milk.”
The cat took her tail and tried to stick it in its place but she could not. She tried over and over again to stick it with resin, with tar and with glue, but it was of no use. So that cat has remained tailless to this day, as a sign of her being a thief.