The Seven Brothers Simeon
So the eldest Simeon made for the third brother a gun, and took bread for their travels; and the thief Simeon took a cat with him, and so they set out. Now thief Simeon had so accustomed this cat to him, that she ran after him everywhere like a dog; and whenever he stopped, she sat up on her hind legs, rubbed her coat against him and purred. So they all went their way, until they came to the shore of the sea over which they must sail. For a long time they wandered about, seeking wood, to build a ship with. At last they found a huge oak. Then the third Simeon took his axe and laid it at the root of the tree, and in the twinkling of an eye the oak was felled, and a ship built from it, fully rigged, and in the ship there were all kinds of costly wares.
After some months’ voyage they arrived safely at the place to which they were bound, and cast anchor. The next day Simeon the thief took his cat and went into the city; and walking straight up to the Tsar’s palace, he stood under the window of Queen Helena. Immediately his cat sat up on her hind legs, and fell to rubbing him and purring. But you must know that no cat had ever been seen or heard of in this country, nor was anything known of such an animal.
The fair Tsarina Helena was sitting at her window, and observing the cat, she sent her attendants to inquire of Simeon what kind of animal it was, and whether he would sell it, and for how much. And when the servants asked him, Simeon replied: “Tell her Majesty that this creature is called a cat, but I cannot consent to sell her; if, however, her Majesty pleases, I shall have the honour of presenting the cat to her.”
So the attendants ran back and told what they had heard from Simeon; and when the Tsarina Helena knew it, she was overjoyed, and went herself to him, and asked why he would not sell it, but would only give it to her. Then she took the cat in her arms, went into her room, and invited Simeon to accompany her; and, going to her father, the Tsar Sarg, the Tsarina showed him the cat, and told him that a stranger had presented it to her.