MOTTO FOR THE MOTHER"Allm o the r lo ve attracts the child,Its wo rld-wide te nde rne ss he fe e ls.And e vry be ast that lo ve s he r yo ung ,His m o the rs lo ve to him re ve als ."
Mrs. Tabby Gray, with her three little kittens,lived out in the barn where the hay wasstored. One of the kittens was white, onewas black, and one gray, just like hermother, who was called Tabby Gray fromthe color of her coat.
These three little kittens opened theireyes when they grew old enough, andthought there was nothing so nice in all thiswonderful world as their own dear mother,although she told them of a great manynice things, like milk and bread, which theyshould have when they could go up to thebig house where she had her breakfast,dinner, and supper.Every time Mother Tabby came from thebig house she had something pleasant totell. "Bones for dinner to-day, my dears," shewould say, or "I had a fine romp with a balland the baby," until the kittens longed forthe time when they could go too.
One day, however, MotherCat walked in with joyful news."I have found an elegant newhome for you," she said, "in avery large trunk where someold clothes are kept; and Ithink I had better move atonce.“Then she picked up the smallblack kitten, without any morewords, and walked right out ofthe barn with him.
The black kitten was surprised, but heblinked his eyes at the bright sunshine,and tried to see everything.Out in the barnyard there was agreat noise, for the white hen had laidan egg, and wanted everybody toknow it; but Mother Cat hurried on,without stopping to inquire about it,and soon dropped the kitten into thelarge trunk. The clothes made such asoft, comfortable bed, and the kittenwas so tired after his exciting trip, thathe fell asleep, and Mrs. Tabby trottedoff for another baby.
While she was away, the lady who ownedthe trunk came out in the hall; and when shesaw that the trunk was open, she shut it, lockedit, and put the key in her pocket, for she did notdream that there was anything so precious as akitten inside.As soon as the lady had gone upstairs Mrs.Tabby Gray came back, with the little whitekitten; and when she found the trunk closed,she was terribly frightened. She put the whitekitten down and sprang on top of the trunk andscratched with all her might, but scratching didno good. Then she jumped down and reachedup to the keyhole, but that was too small foreven a mouse to pass through, and the poormother mewed pitifully.
What was she to do? Shepicked up the white kitten,and ran to the barn with it.Then she made haste to thehouse again, and wentupstairs to the lady’s room.The lady was playing withher baby and when MotherCat saw this she rubbedagainst her skirts and cried:"Mee-ow, mee-ow! Youhave your baby, and I wantmine! Mee-ow, mee-ow!“
By and by the lady said: "Poor Kitty! she must behungry"; and she went down to the kitchen andpoured sweet milk in a saucer, but the cat did notwant milk. She wanted her baby kitten out of thebig black trunk, and she mewed as plainly as shecould: "Give me my baby—give me my baby, outof your big black trunk!“The kind lady decided that she must be thirsty:"Poor Kitty, I will give you water"; but when she setthe bowl of water down Mrs. Tabby Gray mewedmore sorrowfully than before. She wanted nowater,—she only wanted her dear baby kitten; andshe ran to and fro, crying, until, at last, the ladyfollowed her; and she led the way to the trunk.
"What can be the matter withthis cat?" said the lady; and shetook the trunk key out of herpocket, put it in the lock,unlocked the trunk, raised the top—and in jumped Mother Cat withsuch a bound that the little blackkitten waked up with a start."Purr, purr, my darling child,"said Mrs. Tabby Gray, in greatexcitement; "I have had a terriblefright!" and before the blackkitten could ask one question shepicked him up and started for thebarn.
The sun was bright in thebarnyard and the hens werestill chattering there; but theblack kitten was glad to getback to the barn. His motherwas glad, too; for, as shenestled down in the hay withher three little kittens, shetold them that a barn wasthe best place after all toraise children.And she never afterwardschanged her mind.