The King o' the Cats
A quick dip pen and watercolour sketch, inspired by one of my favourite folk legends.
On his way to his friend's house a lonesome traveller becomes lost in the gathering darkness. Seeing a light ahead he walks on until he comes to a hollow tree from which the light is emanating. Inside he witnesses hundreds of cats, each holding a candle, singing around the ornately carved sarcophagus of one of their kind.
Spooked by this unworldly sight the man fled the scene and ran as fast as he could, until at last he stumbled by chance upon the house of his friend. Sitting down by the fire with a drink and a bowl of stew the man recounted his bizarre encounter to his incredulous friend and his wife.
When at last he mentions the funeral procession and coffin the friend's ginger tom, sitting at his owner's feet until this point, stood up suddenly upon his hind legs and exclaimed "What? Tim Toldrum is dead? Then I am the King o' the Cats!" and with that, flew up the chimney, never to be seen again!
There are many versions of this story from all across the country. This particular version, with that particular name for the deceased feline, is from Oxford-shire.