First Cat, The

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  • Teideal (Title): First Cat, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840113.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): story.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 22/11/1983.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

The Holy Family – the Blessed Virgin and Jesus – are walking down the road, and Jesus gets hungry and asks his mother to go into a nearby house and ask the woman for something to eat. They are turned away. The same thing happens at a mill they pass, when they ask for some flour to bake bread. But then the miller agrees to let the Blessed Virgin dip her hand in water, and take as much grain as will stick to her hand.

Coming to a second mill, they go in to ask if they can grind the grain, and this miller agrees – in fact, he gives them some more, and sees them off with enough for a loaf. After they’ve gone, his mill starts to produce more and more flour – and at that point he realizes who his visitors were, and he runs after them to thank them for their generosity to him.

Unfortunately as he’s running after the Holy Family he falls, and an iron stake goes through his heart. But he is so energized from the miracle he has seen that he breaks the stake off, and keeps running. When he catches up with them, Jesus puts his hand on the man’s wound, and cures him.

That night, the miller sets out a bowl with meal in it on the floor of his mill. His servant girl, seeing this, puts out another bowl, with a single grain of meal under it. In the morning, the miller’s bowl contains a huge loaf of bread. When the servant lifts her bowl, a dozen mice scurry out. She had a glove, and she threw it after the mice – and it turned into a cat.

That’s the story of how the first cat was created.