Bang! Bang! Bang! The pounding on the peasant womanâs door awoke her from her slumber.
âHear Ye! Hear Ye! By order of the Queen, you are hereby ordered to meet with the Princess, Lady Laura and a castle minion on the morrow. Once a method of meeting has yet been determined, you will be notified as to whether you need to travel to the castle, or have the information relayed to you by messenger.â
The lowly cat herding peasant woman was confused, but happy that a meeting was to be had about her meager stipend.
Next day, the woman was awaiting news as to the method of the meeting. Two missives were sent to her door, telling her that she was to meet with the Princess, Lady Laura and the castle minion, but not how they were to meet. Finally, she was summoned to the soothsayer. She peered into a steaming basin of water and there, in the reflection, she saw the Princess, Lady Laura and the castle minion. Lady Laura and the minion were girded in their armor, ready to defend their positions, even though the peasant woman had no way of harming them. The Princess had a look of worry upon her blonde brow.
âWe have come together to discuss the wonderful work the cat herder does for the Princess. The Queen wishes to let the peasant woman know how much she appreciates what she does, thus she has decided to cut the cat herders pay, create more work for her and limit the time in which she must complete it!â stated the castle minion. Lady Laura beamed with pleasure. Surely the peasant woman would be pleased that the Queen had bestowed her with such an honor.
âBut this is not what the Queen told me!â sputtered the Princess. âShe assured me the cat herder would get a larger stipend and some help from the royal cat stables.â
âPish Posh!â replied Lady Laura. âThe peasant woman knows we are all very pleased with her work. She should be happy to have her stipend reduced and her work increased! It is an honor!â
âAnonâ, added the castle minion, âthere are no spare stable workers to be loaned out. The cat herder will have to do her work in less time and with no pay when she travels to neighboring lands to herd special groups of cats! You know how much the Queen enjoys those special herds, however, the cat herder should be happy that we all like what she does! That should keep her heart warm on those cold winter nights.â
The Princess and the peasant woman gazed at each other in astonishment. The Soothsayer began to mumble some words. The waters began to swirl and become cloudy, and the images began to fade. Faintly, the lowly peasant woman cat herder could hear the castle minion and Lady Laura laughing.
Believing this to be the way of the world, the peasant woman continued to work hard, hoping that her skills with herding cats would eventually make the Queen realize that with all the extra milk her herd of cats were providing to the castle, it was in Queenâs best interest to help the cat herder, for milking cats is not an easy thing!
One morning, just as the peasant woman was rubbing the sleep from her eyes, a missive came from the castle.
âHear Ye! Hear Ye! The Lowly Peasant Cat Herder is required to be present at the castle for a meeting with the Queen, a castle minion, the Princess and Lady Laura. This meeting will occur on the second Tuesday, following the first Monday, in the third Quarter of the fourth sennight after the moon rises and sets and is haloed by the red frost on the first virginal slaying to appease the Harvest God, where a discussion will be had about how the Lowly Cat Herder will continue to herd her cats with no help from the castle, in less time and with an even more meager stipend! The Lowly Peasant Cat Herder should feel honored by this appearance!!â