We were once lords and ladies but now we’re just hands. That’s all you see. Our bodies have been invisible ever since our dear mistress was turned into a cat. Still, we do our best to serve, here in the castle, hidden in the Forest of Gloom.
Someone has sounded the silver bell at the door. We arrive, holding torches. A young man is standing there, and he is understandably shocked by our appearance. He claps his hand on his sword, but our loveliest voices reassure him that he has nothing to fear if his heart is in the right place. We are here to do his bidding. We lead him through glittering rooms to comfortable quarters. Then our pretty, soft, clever hands remove his muddy clothes. We wash and dress him in the richest stuff.
After he has had a rest, we guide him to a table laid with two golden plates. Cats arrive with guitars, and when they start to sing, they mew in such an awful way that our guest bursts out laughing, “What funny thing will I see next?” he asks.
Even before the Queen of Cats comes in, he has forgotten his troubles. We live to amuse, you see, and he has never been in better hands.
Hands, The White Cat, Blue Fairy Book. Illustration by Jemima W. Blackburn.