Once upon a time the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, clad in rags, dared to enter the Witch’s Forest to steal her silver; for a little man had armed him with a magic fiddle. Deep in the Forest he met a beautiful girl, clad in black. She had huge blue eyes, slit like a cat’s, and on her necklace she wore the symbol of an outcast faith.
“Stand and deliver, Witch!” he said, raising the fiddle to his chin.
“Do your worst, Brigand,” she replied. So he played; and as he played, birds fell out of the sky, squirrels and deer spasmed and collapsed, plants and trees withered, and black clouds filled the sky.
But the beautiful girl stood straight and unharmed, for she jammed fingers into her ears and she hummed real loud. And as she hummed, she glared at the Seventh Son with her huge blue cat eyes, until he lowered his bow, then his fiddle, then his head.
“For shame!” said she. “You call that fiddling? Here, let me show you how!” She held out her hand; abashed, he gave her the fiddle and bow. She tucked the fiddle under her chin, and she played.
And as she played, the sky cleared up, the beasts revived, and the birds flew up high into a sky as blue as her eyes. Plants and trees put forth shoots, then leaves, then flowers, then fruit and seeds.
She lowered the magic fiddle and she said “There! That’s how to fiddle! I’ll keep this one, thank you very much; and for it you may have my only silver possession; this mirror. You need it more than I do.”
She gave him a hand-mirror; he looked into it, and saw that he too had cat eyes. He thanked her politely for that revelation, and he left the Forest. From then on he would consult the mirror whenever he doubted himself. Thus inspired, he rose from Brigand to Knight to King to Church Banker, and so lived happily ever after.
Moral: Self-knowledge pays, and self-expression wins.
Commentary: Cat eyes are a point of view, an outsider’s view, one they shared. His cat-eyes were as golden as a lion. His rise from brigand to knight to king to church banker was an improvement in degree but not in kind.