• Jo-Anne Blanco

The King o’ the Cats


The British folktale ‘The King o' Cats’ contains a prototype of a Cat-Sìth. In the story, a sexton’s wife and her black cat, Old Tom, are waiting by the fire for the sexton to come home. When he rushes in, he demands to know, “Who’s Tom Tildrum?” The wife and the black cat both stare at him, and he explains that he fell asleep while digging a grave and when he woke up, he heard a cat’s miaow. He peered over the grave and saw nine black cats with white spots on their chests carrying a small coffin with a gold crown on top. When the cats saw him, they came towards him, crying “Miaow!” in unison and staring at him with glowing green eyes. The leader of the cats came up to him and spoke in a squeaky human voice, “Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toidrum’s dead!” The sexton tells his wife that’s why he asked who Tom Tildrum was, but the wife shrieks, “Look at Old Tom!” Their black cat, who is swelling up, exclaims, “Old Tim’s dead? Then I’m the King o’ the Cats!”, and disappears up the chimney, never to be seen again.

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