Here is the author note from my picture book.—Aaron
This is a much expanded retelling of the story as told by the great English folklorist Joseph Jacobs in his More English Fairy Tales (1894). Other versions are found in Ireland and in continental Europe, where the cats may be replaced by other creatures—even tree spirits or werewolves. The oldest known version features the Greek demigod Pan, as related by Plutarch in the first centuryA.D. and found in his Moralia.