BUT now good people, the cream of the jest,
In what sort of manner this creature was drest,
With Cat-skins she made, for a robe I declare,
The which for her cov’ring she daily did wear.
Her new rich attire, and jewels beside,
Then up in a bundle by her they were ty’d,
How to seek her fortune, she wandered away,
And when she had travell’d a whole winter’s day,
In the evening-tide she came to a town,
Whereas at the knight’s door she then sat her down,
For to rest herself, who was tired be sure,
This noble knight’s lady she came to the door.
And seeing this creature in such sort of dress
The lady unto her these words did express,
From whence cam’st thou girl? and what wilt thou have?
She cry’d a night’s quarters in your stable I crave.
The lady said to her, I’ll grant thy desire,
Come unto the kitchen, and stand by the fire,
Then she thanked the lady, and went in with haste,
Where she was gaz’d on from biggest to least.
And being well warmed, her hunger being great,
They gave her a dish of good meat for to eat,
And then to an out-house this creature was led,
Where she with fresh straw, then made her a bed.
And when in the morning that day-light she saw,
Her rich robes and jewels she hid in the straw,
And being very cold, she then did retire,
To go to the kitchen, and stand by the fire.
The cook said, my lady, hath promis’d, that thou
Shall be as a scullion to wait on me now;
What say'st thou girl? art thou willing to bide?
With all my heart, truly, to him she reply’d.
To work with her needle she could very well,
And for raising of paste, few could her excel;
She being very handy, the cook’s heart did win,
And then she was call’d by the name of Cat-skin.