A cock and a hen wanted to go visit a Mr. Korbes. So the cock built a little carriage pulled by four mice. Along the way they met a cat who asked to go with them. They agreed and the cat got in the carriage.
Later, they came across in turn, a mill stone, an egg, a duck, a pin, and a needle, who all got in the carriage to go to Mr. Korbes. But Mr. Korbes was not at home.
So the mice took the carriage into his barn, the cock and hen perched on a beam, the cat sat by the fire, the duck settle in some water in the sink (apparently), the egg wrapped up in a towel, the pin stuck itself in a chair cushion, the needle got in bed with the pillows, and the mill stone laid by the door.
When Mr. Korbes returned, he went to build up the fire but the cat – for some reason – threw ashes in his eyes. He went into the kitchen and the duck splashed water on his face. When he tried to dry his face with the towel, the egg broke. He tried to sit down, and the pin stuck him. He jumped into bed, and hit the needle. And when he finally tried to run out of the house, the mill stone killed him.
The last line in the story is “What a bad man Mr. Korbes must have been!”
I have some questions about this “story.” I could almost see this as almost a bunch of little pranks they pulled on him, right up until they killed him. Did all of these things have some reason to wish Mr. Korbes ill, or is this a “bad things happen to bad people” type of story, and since so many bad things happened to Mr. Korbes, there must have been a reason.
Or am I missing something? Would the people from hundreds of years ago have recognized the cat as referring to … the French, or something?