The White Cat

image from The White Cat

The White Cat cover

Another book illustrated by the wonderful Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. This is a French fairy story by Madame la Comtesse d’Aulnoy written in 1682. Published by Dean 1972. This isn’t a story that appears in fairytale collections very often, let alone in a book to itself. It’s a classic enchanted-creature, dividing the kingdom tale, but in this story the enchanted creature is the princess and the prince is on the journey.

Three princes are sent on a quest to find the prettiest, tiniest dog for their father. The youngest prince gets lost in the forest and finds his way to a mysterious castle where the servants are strange disembodied hands. It turns out that the castle is the home of the Queen of Cats.

image from The White Cat

The prince meets the Queen of Cats

The Queen of Cats takes quite a fancy to the prince and he stays with her until it is time to return to his father. The Queen gives him a dog that fits inside a cob nut. Of course the King was a bit put out by this and sent his sons on another quest and so on and so on.

While the youngest prince is living with the Queen of Cats she treats him to entertainments, parties and feasts. She even has her own theatre – isn’t this great!

image from The White Cat

Cat theatre!

I won’t tell you the end of the story – but suffice to to say they lived happily ever after…

image from The White Cat

Watching the fireworks

The illustration is sumptuous and the costumes are authentic late-1600s. Costume was one of the Johnstone sisters’ great strengths and interests – especially Anne (I believe Janet focussed on animals).

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2 thoughts on “The White Cat

  1. Gen says:

    Hello,
    I have been trying to find a copy of this exact book (author/illustrator) that I had as a child. Any suggestions on how I can find a copy?
    Thank you!

    • Hi It’s pretty rare as far as I can tell. There was one copy on Amazon marketplace when I was looking for it (that I bought). You could try looking there and also Abebooks and ebay. Hope that helps

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