One European superstition says that at midnight on Christmas Eve animals have
the power of speech. But no one can hear the beasts talk with impunity. Once
upon a time there was a woman in Brittany who starved her cat and dog. At
midnight on Christmas Eve she heard the dog say to the cat, "It's quite time we
lost our mistress; she's a regular miser. Tonight burglars are coming to steal
her money; and if she cries out they'll break her head."
"Twill be a good deed," the cat replied. The woman in terror got up to go to a neighbor's house.
As she went out the burglars opened the door, and when she shouted for help,
they broke her head.
Well, she shouldn't have starved them should she?