The Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat
A miller wants to make the servant his heir who brings him the most beautiful horse. The third succeeds with the help of a kitten. How? A kitten?
In a mill lived an old miller, who had neither wife nor children, and three miller's boys served with him. After they had been with him for some years, he said to them one day, "I am old and want to sit behind the stove: go out, and whoever brings me the best horse home, I will give him the mill, and he shall feed me for it until my death. But the third of the boys was the small servant, who was considered silly by the others, and they did not begrudge him the mill; and he did not even want it afterwards. So all three went out together, and as they came to the village, the two said to the silly Hans, "You can only stay here, you'll never get a horse your whole life. But Hans went along, and when night came, they came to a cave, where they lay down to sleep. The two clever ones waited until Hans had fallen asleep, then they got up, went away, and left Hans lying there, and thought they had done quite well; yes, you will not be well after all! Now when the sun came, and Hans woke up, he was lying in a deep cave: he looked all around and cried out 'oh God, where am I!' Then he got up and crawled up the cave, went into the forest and thought "I am here all alone and deserted, how am I supposed to get to a horse! While he was walking along in his thoughts, a little colorful kitten met him, and said very kindly, "Hans, where do you want to go? I know what you want," said the kitten, "you want a pretty horse. Come with me and be my faithful servant for seven years, and I will give you one more beautiful than you have ever seen in your life.' 'Now that is a strange cat,' thought Hans, 'but I want to see if what it says is true.
Then she took him to her cursed little castle and had all the kittens there to serve her: they jumped nimbly up and down the stairs, were merry and in good spirits. In the evening, when they sat down to dinner, three of them had to make music: one played the bass, the other the violin, the third the trumpet and blew his cheeks as much as he could. When they had eaten, the table was taken away, and the cat said 'now come, Hans, and dance with me.' No,' he answered, 'I won't dance with a pussycat, I never have.' 'So take him to bed,' she said to the kittens. Then one of them shone a light into his bedchamber, one took off his shoes, one his stockings, and finally one blew out the light. The next morning they came again and helped him out of bed: one put on his stockings, one tied his garters, one fetched his shoes, one washed him and one dried his face with his tail. 'That's quite gentle,' said Hans. But he also had to serve the cat and cut wood every day; for this he was given an axe of silver, and the wedges and saw of silver, and the mallet was of copper. So he cut wood, stayed in the house, had his good food and drink, but saw no one but the colorful cat and its servants. Once she said to him, 'Go and mow my meadow, and make the grass dry,' and gave him a scythe of silver and a whetstone of gold, but also told him to deliver everything again properly.
Then Hans went and did what he was told; after he had finished his work, he carried the scythe, whetstone and hay home, and asked if she did not want to give him his wages yet. No,' said the cat, 'you shall first do one thing for me, there is timber of silver, carpenter's axe, angle iron and what is necessary, all of silver, first build a small house for me. Then Hans finished building the little house and said he had now done everything, and still had no horse. But the seven years had passed him by like half a year. Did the cat ask if he wanted to see his horses? Yes' said Hans. Then she opened the little house for him, and because she opened the door like that, there were twelve horses standing there, oh, they had been quite proud, they had shone and reflected so that his heart rejoiced in his body. Now she gave him food and drink and said, "Go home, I won't give you your horse, but in three days I'll come and bring it to you. So Hans set out, and she showed him the way to the mill. She had not even given him a new dress, however, but he had to keep his old ragged little smock, which he had brought with him and which had become too short everywhere in the seven years. When he came home, the other two miller boys were there again: each had brought his horse, but one was blind and the other was lame.
They asked, "Hans, where is your horse?" "It will come in three days. Then they laughed and said, "Yes, Hans, where will you get a horse, that will be something right! Hans went into the parlor, but the miller said he should not come to the table, he was so torn and ragged, one would have to be ashamed if someone came in. So they gave him a little food, and when they went to sleep in the evening, the other two would not give him a bed, and he finally had to crawl into the little goose house and lie down on a bit of hard straw. In the morning, when he wakes up, the three days are already over, and a carriage comes with six horses, ei, which shone that it was beautiful, and a servant, who brought a seventh, that was for the poor miller boy. But a splendid king's daughter got out of the carriage and went into the mill, and the king's daughter was the little colorful kitten that poor Hans had served for seven years. She asked the miller where the grinder, the little servant, was. Then the miller said, "We can't take him into the mill, he's so wicked and lies in the goose house. Then the king's daughter said they should fetch him right away. So they took him out, and he had to pack up his smock to cover himself. Then the servant unstrapped splendid clothes, and had to wash and dress him, and as he was ready, no king could look more beautiful. After that, the maiden asked to see the horses that the other grooms had brought, one of which was blind and the other lame. She had the servant bring the seventh horse, and when the miller saw it, he said that such a horse had not yet come to his farm; 'and this is for the third grinder,' she said. He must have the mill,' said the miller, but the king's daughter said that there was the horse, and he should keep his mill, too, and she took her faithful Hans and put him into the carriage and drove away with him. They went first to the little house he had built with the silver tools, and there it was a great castle, and everything in it was of silver and gold; and there she married him, and he was rich, so rich that he had enough for his life. Therefore let no one say that he who is foolish can therefore become nothing right.