1920 The Cats of Ulthar

Fantastic Novels 1951.01, Hannes Bok
Written 1920.06, published in The Tryout 1920.11, Weird Tales 1926.02, 1933.02, Booklet 1935.

Opening Statement:
     It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire.
What in Brown Jenkin's Name..?
     When an evil couple kills a gypsy boy's cat, he casts a spell to have the village cats dispose of the evil couple in an unappetizing manner.
     In the city of Ulthar, an old, reclusive couple is known for killing cats who intrude on their property. A caravan of foreigners arrives in town. The orphan boy Menes finds his kitten missing.  Menes hears about the cat-hating couple and performs a strange ritual which causes strange cloud formations. The caravan leaves and the townspeople notice that all of the cats have disappeared. However, the inn-keeper’s son Atal sees the cats prowling in circles around the old couple’s cottage in the night. The next day the couple is found as skeletons and the cats all seem well-fed. A law is passed forbidding the killing of cats.
From Dr. Armitage's Notes:
  • The Cats of Ulthar return in "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath"
  • 1st Atal, he reappears in “The Other Gods” and “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath”. 
  • 1st Ulthar, Atal, Hatheg, Nir (also "The Other Gods" and "Kadath").
  • The name “Menes” is from the founder of the Egyptian city of Memphis.
Weird Tales 1926.02, Art: Petrie.
The Horrible Conclusion:
     They talked of the old cotter and his wife, of the caravan of dark wanderers, of small Menes and his black kitten, of the prayer of Menes and of the sky during that prayer, of the doings of the cats on the night the caravan left, and of what was later found in the cottage under the dark trees in the repellent yard.
      And in the end the burgesses passed that remarkable law which is told of by traders in Hatheg and discussed by travelers in Nir; namely, that in Ulthar no man may kill a cat.
Read it here.

Follow'd by "The Temple"
Fantastic Novels 1951.01, Hannes Bok