The White Cat pt. 2


Madame d'Aulnoy

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Tonight, we’ll read the second part to the fairy tale called "The White Cat", credited to Madame d’Aulnoy. In part 1, the old king devises to distract his sons from taking over the throne with a sort of fool’s errand to find him the perfect beautiful lap dog. Whoever won would also take over the kingdom.

The youngest son stumbles upon a magical castle with a lovely talking cat, known as the White Cat. She gives him an acorn that she says carries the tiniest, most perfect dog, to bring to his father.

As an aside, the story mentions that the prince brings with him a “turnspit dog”. This was a lowly breed of dog that is now extinct. It was kept in kitchens and ran on a wheel to turn the spit, or rotisserie that meat cooked on. The turnspit may have been an ancestor to either a modern Corgi, or the Glen terrier.

In order not to overexert a dog with this hot and unpleasant work they were often kept in pairs, so that they could be worked in shifts. It is believed that this is the origin of the proverb 'every dog has his day.’ The Turnspit dog was also used as foot warmers at church, and it is said that Queen Victoria kept retired turnspits as pets.