MRS. TABBY GRAYBy Maud LindsayRevised for Younger Readers
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 lived out in the barnstored with her three little kittens. One of thekittens was white, one was black, and onegray. The gray one was just like her mother.Mrs. Tabby Gray got her name from thecolor of her coat.
These three little kittens think thatthere their dear mother was the nicestthing in the world. But Mrs. Tabby Graywould tell them of many other nicethings, like milk and bread. She toldthem about the big house where shehad her breakfast, dinner, and supper.Every time Mother Tabby came fromthe big house, she had somethingpleasant to tell. "Bones for dinnertoday, my dears," she would say, or "Ihad a rough play with a ball and thebaby." Soon, the kittens also wishedthat they could go there too.
One day, Mother Cat walkedin with joyful news."I have found an elegant newhome for you," she said. “I sawa very large trunk where someold clothes are kept. We bettermove at once.”Then she picked up the smallblack kitten. Without any morewords, she walked right out ofthe barn with him.
The black kitten was surprised. Heblinked his eyes at the bright sunshine.He tried to see everything.Out in the barnyard, there was agreat noise. The white hen had laid anegg. She wanted everybody to knowit. But Mother Cat hurried on. Theywent to the big house.Soon, she dropped the kitten intothe large trunk. It was full of clothes.The clothes made such a soft,comfortable bed. The kitten was sotired after his exciting trip. He fellasleep at once.
Then, Mrs. Tabby trotted offfor another baby.While she was away, the ladywho owned the trunk came outin the hall. She saw that thetrunk was open. She shut it. Shelocked it. Then, she put the keyin her pocket. She did not knowthat there was a precious kitteninside.As soon as the lady had goneupstairs, Mrs. Tabby Gray cameback. She was with the littlewhite kitten.
Mrs. Tabby Gray foundthe trunk closed. She gotterribly frightened. She putthe white kitten down andsprang on top of the trunk.She scratched andscratched the trunk. But itdid no good.Then she jumped down.She reached up to thekeyhole. But the keyholewas too small. The poormother mewed pitifully.
What was she to do? Shepicked up the white kitten. Sheran to the barn with it. Then, shewent hurriedly back to thehouse.She went upstairs to thelady’s room. The lady wasplaying with her baby. MotherCat rubbed against her skirts.She cried: "Mee-ow, mee-ow!You have your baby. I wantmine too! Mee-ow, mee-ow!“
By and by the lady said: "Poor Kitty! She must behungry.”She went down to the kitchen. She put some sweet milkin a saucer. But the cat did not want milk. She wanted herbaby kitten out of the big black trunk.She mewed as much as she could: "Give me my baby—give me my baby, out of your big black trunk!“The kind lady thought the cat is thirsty: "Poor Kitty, I willgive you water.”When the lady gave her water, she mewed moresorrowfully than before. She did not want water. She onlywanted her dear baby kitten. She cried and cried. She ranto and fro. At last, the lady followed her. She led the wayto the trunk.
"What is the matter with this cat?"said the lady. She took the trunk keyout of her pocket. She unlocked thetrunk. Then, she raised the top.Mother Cat jumped in! The littleblack kitten woke up. He wassurprised."Purr, purr, my darling child," saidMrs. Tabby Gray. "I have had aterrible fright!" Before the black kittencould ask a question, she picked himup. Then, she walked towards thebarn.
The sun was bright in thebarnyard. The hens were stillchattering there. The blackkitten was glad to get backto the barn. His mother wasglad, too.She nestled down in thehay. Her three little kittens didthe same. Mother Cat toldher kittens: “The barn was thebest place to raise children.”And she never afterwardschanged her mind.