Once upon a time there lived a young man called Dick Whittington.
Dick decided to travel from his small village in the country to the great city of London, to seek his fortune.
Dick had very little money and carried all his possessions over his shoulder in a scarf on a stick. And on the stick sat his cat! Dick walked and walked and walked until at last he looked up and saw London.
Dick was amazed at how big London was. What could he do there? What kind of work could he find? He was afraid that London was no place for a man like him. No, he should go back home to the village. That is where his future lay.
He got up to go when he heard something very strange - church bells and they seem to be speaking. "Turn again, Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London!" The church bells he heard seemed to be talking to him. Dick listened once more... "Turn again, Dick Whittington, Lord Mayor of London!"
Instead of going home, Dick decided to follow the bells into the great city. When he reached the city he found a place to stay, in the attic of a kind man called Mr Fitzwarren. He worked hard in Mr Fitzwarren's house, dusting, cleaning, until as night fell Dick himself would fall into a deep and rich sleep.
Every morning when he got out of bed he would go the window and watch the ships in the harbour, setting off for places around the world. "One day I too will sail away in a ship." And one day he did...
He made friends with the Captain of a great ship and set off to visit far-away lands. He took his cat with him of course. The ship they sailed on travelled far and wide. Dick worked hard on the ship, dusting, cooking, cleaning. And his cat worked hard too, catching all the rats and mice that tried to eat the sailor's food.
On the journey they visited places where cats had never been seen before. The mice and rats fled whenever they saw Dick's cat. And the people gave both Dick and his cat gifts of beautiful cloth, perfumes and jewellery.
When Dick returned once more to London, once again he carried all his possessions over his shoulder, in a sack full of wonderful things. And on his sack sat his cat.
And very soon Dick became Lord Mayor of London just as the church bells promised!