The Cat’s Paw is a scary story for kids. It is based on an old German folk tale called “The Witch Who Was Hurt”. A version of this story appeared in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz.
There was a butcher who ran a successful business. Everyone in town bought their meat in his shop. One day, the butcher discovered that someone was stealing meat from the storehouse behind his shop. Every night, one of his sides of beef or his pork chops would disappear. This was a real problem because it was causing him to lose money. He decided he needed to do something about it.
One night, after he closed up his shop, the butcher went out to his storehouse. He switched off the lights and stood there in the darkness, clutching his meat cleaver and waiting for the thief to arrive.
He didn’t have to wait long, because soon a black cat came slinking in through a gap in the door. It was the biggest cat the butcher had ever seen. It jumped up and tried to pull down a leg of lamb that was hanging from the ceiling.
The butcher switched on the lights and the cat turned and stared at him. Instead of running away, it jumped at him and tried to bite him. The butcher was taken by surprise. He swung his meat cleaver and chopped off one of the cat’s paws.
The cat let out a terrible shriek and began spitting and yowling and tearing around the room. Then it ran out the door and disappeared.
The butcher looked down, expecting to see the cat’s paw. Instead, he saw a woman’s hand that had been severed at the wrist. It was wriggling around in a pool of blood on the floor.
The next morning, when the butcher was opening up his shop, one of his neighbors came running down the road, crying out for help. He said his wife had been in an accident. The butcher ran to the man’s house to see if there was anything he could do.
When he got there, he saw the man’s wife sitting in a chair by the fire. She was clutching her arm and writhing around in pain. Her hand had been cut off and there was nothing left but a bloody stump. The strangest thing about it was that she was spitting and yowling just like a cat.
The butcher told everyone in town what he had seen and, that night, they took the woman out to a deserted field and burned her alive, because they knew she was a witch.