THERE was once a princess whose mother
died when she was born. She grew up very beautiful, with lovely golden hair.
Her father wanted her to marry against her will. So she thought of a plan to
put off the wedding. 2 She asked to make her three new
dresses. One was to be 3 golden like the sun; the second was
to be silver like the moon; and the third must sparkle like the stars. She
also asked for a fur cloak with a hood made of a thousand different skins from
a thousand different animals.
The princess said to herself, "It will
be very difficult to make these clothes, and the wedding will be put off for a
But her father set all his best
workmen to make the three dresses, and his hunters took a tiny piece from the
fur of a thousand different animals and a cloak with a hood was made. So the
dresses and the cloak were soon ready and the wedding could not be put off
At night the princess got up secretly
and took from her jewel box 4 a gold ring, a gold necklace
and a gold brooch.
Then she took the golden dress like
the sun and the silver dress like the moon and the dress that sparkled like
the stars, and folded them. They were so light and so magic that she could
pack all three into a nutshell. 5 She put on her fur cloak
and pulled the hood over her golden hair, and rubbed soot on her face and
hands so that no one would know 6 who she was. Then she left
her father's palace.
She walked till she was tired, and
when she came to a hollow tree she crept inside and fell asleep.
Next day the king of that country was
out hunting, and his hunters found the girl in her fur cloak, asleep in the
tree. When the dogs barked, she woke up and was very frightened. She said:
"I am a poor girl and I have no
parents. Please take me with you."
"Yes, Miss Catskin," said the hunters.
"We shall take you with us and you can work in the kitchen."
And they took her to the palace and
showed her a little dark room under the stairs, and said;
"You can sleep there, Catskin."
They thought it was quite a good room
for a girl who had sooty hands and a sooty face.
She had to work very hard in the
kitchen. She fetched water and wood, looked after the fires and raked out the
ashes. 7 At night she often cried in her little dark room.
One day there was a feast in the
king's palace and she asked the cook, "May I go and watch the fine ladies and
"You can go for just half-an-hour,"
said the cook, "and then you must come back and rake out the ashes."
So Catskin washed the soot off her
face and hands, and went into her little room. She opened the nutshell, shook
out her golden dress, and put it on. She went to the party and no one knew who
she was. The king thought she was very beautiful and danced with her himself.
When the dance was over, she slipped
away to her tiny bedroom, took off her golden dress, put on her fur cloak, and
blackened her hands and face with soot. She began to rake out the ashes, but
the cook, who wanted to have a look at the fine people herself, said:
"Heat up the king's soup and don't let
even a hair tall in it or you'll be in trouble." 8
So Catskin heated up the king's soup,
fetched her gold ring and put it at the bottom of the bowl.
When the king ate the soup, he liked
it very much. Then he was surprised to find the gold ring lying at the bottom.
9 He asked who made the soup.
"I did," said the cook.
"That is not true," said the king. "It
tasted better than the soup you make."
Then the cook said it was Catskin who
had made the soup. So the king sent for Catskin and asked her who she was.
Catskin only answered that she was a
poor girl without parents and was good for nothing but to do dirty jobs in the
He asked her if she knew how the gold
ring got into the soup, but she shook her head.
Later on there was another feast at
the palace and again Catskin asked the cook, "May I go and watch?"
"Yes," said the cook, "but be back in
half-an-hour to make the king's soup because he likes the way you make it."
11 So Catskin ran to her little room and washed herself
carefully. Then she opened the nutshell, shook out the silver dress, and put
it on. The king was very glad to see her again and they danced together. When
the dance was over, she slipped away and dressed herself as Catskin again.
Then she cooked the king's soup and put her gold necklace at the bottom of the
Once again the king sent for her and
asked her if she knew anything about the gold necklace. She answered as before
that she was a poor girl who could only do dirty jobs in the kitchen, and knew
nothing about the necklace. Some time later the king ordered a third feast to
be held. 12 Catskin washed herself again, opened the
nutshell and shook out the dress that sparkled like the stars, and put it on.
The king was so very glad to see her again that he held her hand very tightly
as they danced, and when she was not looking, he slipped a gold ring on her
This time she was late in leaving the
party, 14 and she had to throw her fur cloak over her fine
dress, and she did not rub the soot properly on her face and hands. One finger
was left white. She cooked the king's soup and put her gold brooch at the
bottom of the bowl.
When the king had finished eating his
soup, and found the gold brooch at the bottom, he sent for Catskin. He soon
noticed the one white finger with the ring he had put on it. He took her sooty
hand in his, and when she tried to pull it away, the fur cloak slipped a
little, and her dress sparkled like the stars.
The king took off her fur cloak and
saw how beautiful she was, with her golden hair and her shining dress. He fell
in love with her at once.15 Then she washed the soot off
herself so that she looked even more beautiful than before. Everyone saw that
she was a real princess. So Catskin told her story to the king.
In a few days they were married and
lived happily ever afterwards.
1 Catskin - Кошачья
2 to put off the
wedding — чтобы отложить свадьбу
was to be — Одно (платье) должно было быть
her jewel box — из своей шкатулки для
5 she could pack all
three into a nutshell — она смогла упаковать все три (платья) в ореховую
6 rubbed soot on her
face and hands so that no one would know — вымазала сажей лицо и руки, чтобы
никто не узнал
7 raked out the ashes
— выгребала золу (из печей)
8 Heat up the king's
soup and don't let even a hair fall in it or you'll be in trouble. - Подогрей
суп для короля, но смотри чтобы даже волосок не упал в него, иначе тe6e не
поздоровится (букв. у тебя будут неприятности).
9 to find the gold
ring lying at the bottom - когда нашел на дне золотое кольцо
10 and was good for
nothing but to do dirty jobs in the kitchen - способна выполнять только
грязную работу на кухне
11 he likes the way
you make it — ему нравится, как ты его (суп) готовишь
12 the king ordered a
third feast to be held — король приказал устроить третье празднество
13 he slipped a gold
ring on her finger — он незаметно надел золотое кольцо ей на палец
14 she was late in
leaving the party — она поздно ушла с бала
15 He fell in love
with her at once.— Он сразу же в нее