The Vanity Cat

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Princess and Cat

Read by Jana
Written by Bertie based on a fable by Aesop.

The Vanity Cat
This is Jana and welcome to Storynory.
This is a story about a princess cat who is vain. If someone is vain, it means they have a high opinion of themselves. Another word very like this is “conceited”. But maybe I’m being a bit hard on her. See what you think.

In ancient times, a cat lived in the palace with the royal family. Her name was Princess Cat, and she was an exceptionally beautiful cat with fluffy white hair and sky blue eyes. She understood very well that she was beautiful, because everyone was always saying so, and she always felt there was something special about her. In fact she was quite certain that she was as royal as any human prince or princess.

Now it so happened that the one person in the palace who did not stop to admire her, or scratch her behind the ears, was the King’s oldest son. His indifference annoyed the cat very much. Princess the cat could do nothing to get his attention, still less to win his admiration.

When he came downstairs to breakfast, she tried escorting him with her tail held high, but when he went into the breakfast room, he let the door swing into her face.


She did not like that.

When he was sitting in the garden under a tree, she climbed up onto a high branch and meowed in distress, pretending that she was stuck and did not know how to return to the ground. Surely the noble prince would rush gallantly to her aid? But no. At first he ignored her. And then he moved to another spot in the garden where her meows could not disturb him.

Once she slipped into his bedroom and settled down on his silken pillow. How comfortable she was there. But when he came to bed and saw her, he merely clapped his hands and ordered the servant to remove the pillow and the cat, and to bring him a fresh pillow without any cat hairs on it.

So all of her attempts to be noticed, admired, and loved by the prince, ended in dismal failure.

But worse still, when a human princess visited the palace, his eyes followed her everywhere she went.

Princess cat certainly noticed how he was enchanted by the human princess. And she was so sad and annoyed that she went to hide down in the dark cellar where the mice lived. It was the only place she could go where she could not hear the music and the laughter of the ball that was taking place in the grand hall. The happy sounds made her feel even more sad, because she wasn’t included in the human merry-making.

Down in the cellar, she cried to herself.

“So, he hardly notices Me! Correction. He does not notice me one little bit! But when SHE’s around, his eyes are stuck to her like glue. What has she got that I haven’t? Her eyes are grey like a rainy day, where mine are sky blue. Her hair is straggly brown, like mud, where mine is all white and fluffy. And she walks like she is wearing clogs, where I stroll elegantly. And have you heard her speak? She laughs like a hyena, and she’s not nearly as smart or intelligent as I am. The only thing she’s got that I haven’t is that she’s a human. It’s so unfair. If only I was a human, he would love me, not her. I know he would. He wouldn't be able to stop himself falling right in love with me. If only I was a human princess. This isn’t fair to us cats!”

Now it so happened that a number of old things were kept down in the cellar. These included a statue of the goddess of love, Aphrodite no less. This Aphrodite heard the cat meowing pitifully to herself and she spoke through the darkness.

“You are right. If only you were a human princess, he would fall in love with you at first glance.”

“Well at least someone agrees with me,” meowed back the cat whose name was princess. “But it’s a fat lot of good, because I shall never be a human princess. He’ll never look at me.”

“Not so,” replied Aphrodite. “Love conquers all. At least when I’m around. But remember, 9/10ths of life is about showing up! So stop all this pitiful meowing. Get up! And go back to the ball !”

Princess the cat felt inspired by the words of the goddess, and so she rose to her four feet. But hang on. Not to her 4 feet, but to her 2 feet. And there was a swish of silk and a gust of rose scented perfume. This was strange. She had never felt like this before.

She climbed the stairs back to the ground floor of the palace. And when she stepped back into the hallway, right in front of her was a gilded mirror. She looked into the mirror and saw herself. She had become a beautiful princess with sky blue eyes and flowing white hair falling down in curls. But the white hair did not make her look old. It was striking and unusual for one with such a youthful and beautiful face.

She strolled into the ball-room just as the young people were pairing off for the next dance. Princess the former cat, now human, was very gratified to see that the Prince was staring right at her. Forgetting the other princess, he strolled right over to her and asked her for the next dance. And of course, being a former cat, she had perfect balance and danced most gracefully. The couple danced away the night together, and in the morning, the young prince went to see his father the king to declare that he was in love and absolutely must marry the mystery princess. The king, who would do anything for his eldest son, readily agreed, and set the wedding day for a month’s time.

During the month away, the former cat went to live in the cellar so that nobody would see her or suspect that she was nothing other than a real human princess. She spent the time happily talking to Aphrodite about love and romance, and wasn’t ever hungry, because there were plenty of mice down in the cellar.

On the appointed day of her wedding, Aphrodite dressed her in a wonderful dress and did her hair like a fairy tale princess - because after all, that was exactly what she was. And she arranged for a golden chariot pulled by a pair of white horses to carry her up the hill to the temple of Aphrodite where the wedding was due to take place.

How the crowds gathered and cheered! Kings and queens, dukes and duchesses, generals and wise counsellors had come from all the nearby kingdoms as honoured guests. At the gates of the temple she stepped down from the chariot and all the on -lookers were delighted by her beauty - all except for one, and that was the other princess whom the prince had lost interest in so suddenly at the ball.

The mystery Princess who was formerly a cat was escorted into the temple by the king’s top general. The prince was waiting for her at the altar. The moment she had dreamed of for so long had almost arrived!

But oh no! As Princess Cat was walking up the aisle, what did she see out of the corner of her eye, but a mouse! A cheeky little mouse who had sneaked into the temple on her wedding day. How dare he! Immediately she pounced on the little fellow and gobbled him up. The guests had never seen anything like it! They were shocked and amazed!

Realising her mistake, and covered in shame, the princess cat ran up a tree and jumped onto the wall of the temple, where she hopped down the other side and ran into the forest, now transformed, once again into a cat. Eventually, after the fuss had died down, she sneaked back into the palace to restart her former life as a pampered kitty cat, which was much more ideal than fending for herself in the forest. And she never again wished that she could be human.

And this fable goes to show that a person or an animal can change his or her appearance, but it’s much harder to change their true nature. A form of this story has been told many times, in many places, including by the Greek writer, Aesop. This version was written for Storynory by Bertie and read by me, Jana.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. Bye for now!