Once upon a time, a hunter was sitting alone in his hut before a peat ﬁre. Near him his faithful Dogs lay stretched, resting after a hard day’s run. The Storm howled outside, and the hunter sat listening to the Rain and Wind.
Suddenly the latch was lifted, and a Black Cat, shivering with the cold and wet to the skin, sprang across the threshold. She stood trembling in the middle of the floor, while the Dogs rose up, every hair on their bodies bristling.
“Great Hunter-of-the-Hills!” cried the Black Cat pitfully. “Spare, oh, spare a poor creature that is so hungry, wet, and cold!”
“Come, sit by the ﬁre,” said the hunter, moved with pity. “Nothing shall harm you.”
He then tried to calm the Dogs, and they lay down again, growling, their hair still bristling. But the Black Cat did not move.
“I cannot come near the ﬁre, good hunter,” she said gently, “unless you ﬁrst bind your two furious Hounds with this hair.”
And the hunter saw that she held a long black hair in her mouth. He took it, but instead of binding the Dogs, he threw it across a beam near the chimney.
The Black Cat thought that the Dogs were tied, so she approached the ﬁre, and squatted down before it, as if to dry herself.
When she had been there only a few minutes, the hunter saw that she was swelling.
“Bad luck to you, Puss!” he cried. “You are getting bigger!”
“Yes — yes —” purred the Cat, “as my hairs dry they stand out.”
But she kept on swelling, and swelling, and swelling.
“More bad luck to you, Puss!” cried the hunter. “You are as big as my bucket!”
“Yes—yes,” snarled the Cat. “When my skin dries, it expands.” And still she kept on swelling, and swelling, and swelling.
“Black death to you, evil beast!” cried the hunter. “You’re as big as the door!”
At that the Black Cat reared her back up until it touched the ceiling, and screeched: —“Fasten hair! Fasten!” for she thought the Dogs were tied.
And the hair fastened itself so tightly around the beam that it cut it in two. Then up sprang the Dogs, their eyes rolling and red, and leaped toward the Cat.
But before they could touch her, she turned into a Witch, and ﬂew yelling up the chimney.