A few years ago, when I was exploring Charles Perrault’s version of Cinderella, I had quite an enlightening chat with the rat. You might remember that when the fairy godmother shows up, she puts Cinderella to work. She has to fetch a pumpkin from the field and free some mice and lizards for horses and footmen. Finally, she needs to find a rat. She goes up to the attic and brings back a barred wooden trap. The fairy godmother releases three little fellows, selects the fattest one, and turns him into a coachman. He’s a fine fellow in a waistcoat, with the smartest whiskers you ever saw.
Now the rat had been waiting some time for his moment to shine. He stood before me, patting his belly, twirling his whiskers, and summoning his new powers with great satisfaction. (My drawing is up above!) Here’s what he had to say: