Cats have often been in the news and in folklore, but, of the many stories told of the popular long-hair breeds, none capture the imagination quite like these.
A Queen’s Hope
France, 1791: The French Revolution was at its height, and Queen Marie Antoinette knew she had to make one last break for freedom.
After successfully persuading her husband, King Louis XVI, to leave their Paris prison, the queen committed herself and her family to what would become known as The Flight to Varennes.
Poorly planned and poorly executed, her attempted escape failed, and the royal family soon found itself being escorted back to Paris to await execution.
What’s less well known is that the queen had allegedly made other plans to escape her beleaguered country, plans that included getting her six precious Turkish Angora cats to safety in the New World.
Making contact with Captain Samuel Clough, Marie Antoinette made sure that his ship, filled with her dearest possessions, would be waiting at anchor for her when she and her family escaped.
Unfortunately, the longed-for escape never happened, and Clough, fearing for his life due to his ties with the queen, set sail under cover of darkness.
His ship found safe harbor in Wicasset, Maine, and there he unloaded the French royal family’s possessions, including Marie Antoinette’s six darling cats.
The years passed; the Angoras settled in Maine. They had kittens, and their kittens had kittens, and they found that these kittens changed over time.
They adapted to their new, cold and snowy home by growing denser and longer fur, their paws became bigger to help them walk in the snow, they became efficient hunters.
In short, they became Maine Coons.
Honey and Amber
Once upon a time, the great Norse God Thor was woken from his rest by the sound of singing.
Grumpy and tired, Thor searched for the singer and, to his surprise, eventually came upon an old grizzled tom cat who was singing sweet lullabies to two tiny blue kittens.
Thor chastised the tom for disturbing his rest, but the cat looked him in the eye and explained how hard it was to take care of his children.
Old Grizzled Tom then continued singing, much to Thor’s displeasure. Thor stamped away and complained to Freya, a very powerful Norse Goddess, and she immediately went to look for Tom and the kittens.
She found them, scooped up the kittens and vowed to care for them evermore. Old Grizzled Tom, his work done, left the contented pair of tiny blue kittens mewing in Freya’s arms.
Many years later, the great blue cats, Bygul and Trjegul – Honey and Amber – could be seen pulling Freya’s chariot.
They always protected her and never forgot the kindness she had shown them when they were helpless kittens.
To this day, it is said, Bygul and Trjegul still roam the dark Norwegian woods alongside the other Norwegian Forest cats.