Source: Elphinstone Dayrell, Folk Stories from Southern
Nigeria, West Africa
(London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910)
Ansa was King of Calabar for fifty years. He had a very faithful
cat as a housekeeper, and a rat was his house-boy. The king was an obstinate,
headstrong man, but was very fond of the cat, who had been in his store for many
The rat, who was very poor, fell in love with one of the king's servant girls,
but was unable to give her any presents, as he had no money.
At last he thought of the king's store, so in the nighttime, being quite small,
he had little difficulty, having made a hole in the roof, in getting into the
store. He then stole corn and native pears, and presented them to his
At the end of the month, when the cat had to render her account of the things in
the store to the king, it was found that a lot of corn and native pears were
missing. The king was very angry at this, and asked the cat for an explanation.
But the cat could not account for the loss, until one of her friends told her
that the rat had been stealing the corn and giving it to the girl.
When the cat told the king, he called the girl before him and had her flogged.
The rat he handed over to the cat to deal with, and dismissed them both from his
service. The cat was so angry at this that she killed and ate the rat, and ever
since that time whenever a cat sees a rat she kills and eats it.