The Golden Beetle or Why the Dog Hates the Cat
I will wait here for your return. Ah!" laughed Whitehead to herself, "luck seems to be coming our way again!"
Five minutes later the rat appeared, bearing the trinket in its mouth. It passed the beetle over to the cat, and then with a whisk was off for ever. Its honour was safe, but it was afraid of Whitehead. It had seen the gleam of desire in her green eyes, and the cat might have broken her word if she had not been so anxious to get back home where her mistress could command the wonderful kettle once more to bring forth food.
The two adventurers reached the river just as the sun was rising above the eastern hills.
"Be careful," cautioned Blackfoot, as the cat leaped upon his back for her ride across the stream, "be careful not to forget the treasure. In short, remember that even though you are a female, it is necessary to keep your mouth closed till we reach the other side."
"Thanks, but I don't think I need your advice," replied Whitehead, picking up the beetle and leaping on to the dog's back.
But alas! just as they were nearing the farther shore, the excited cat forgot her wisdom for a moment. A fish suddenly leaped out of the water directly under her nose. It was too great a temptation. Snap! went her jaws in a vain effort to land the scaly treasure, and the golden beetle sank to the bottom of the river.
"There!" said the dog angrily, "what did I tell you? Now all our trouble has been in vain—all on account of your stupidity."
For a time there was a bitter dispute, and the companions called each other some very bad names—such as turtle and rabbit. Just as they were starting away from the river, disappointed and discouraged, a friendly frog who had by chance heard their conversation offered to fetch the treasure from the bottom of the stream. No sooner said than done, and after thanking this accommodating animal profusely, they turned homeward once more.
When they reached the cottage the door was shut, and, bark as he would, Blackfoot could not persuade his master to open it.
The Renowned Hero, Bova Korolevich and the Princess Drushnevna
Category: Russia folktales
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