Enjoy reading the most well-known short story by Edgar Poe «The Black Cat». This is a horror story about a man who was becoming evil under the influence of drinking alchohol. Through life his character changed completely and in the end he became the murderer. At first he killed his favourite pet, the black cat, but the dead cat started to take revenge … In the end it helped to reveal the most cruel murder.
The story is adapted for beginners and is easy to read. While reading online, you can translate the words you don’t know. Just click on any word to see its Russian translation. Enjoy learning English through the classics!
The Black Cat. A Horror Story by Edgar Poe (1843, for pre-intermediate)
I was a kind child. I was fond of animals and always had a lot of them. I spent my time with them and felt happy.
When I grew up, I still had my love for the living creatures. I married early and was happy to find a woman who I could share my love for animals. We had a lot of pets: birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey and a cat.
The cat was a large and beautiful animal, all black. His name was Pluto. It was my favourite pet and a playmate. I fed my cat myself and he followed me everywhere about the house.
But years passed and my character changed because I had a decease. The decease was drinking alcohol! Day by day I became more and more evil. I did not care about the feeling of the others. I became rude with my wife. My pets, of course, felt the change in my character as I treated them badly if they came in my way. But I still had my love for Pluto. But soon Pluto, who was old now,— even Pluto was afraid of me.
One night I came back home drunk. The cat got in my way and I caught him. He was frightened and bit my hand with his teeth. I got very angry. It seemed as if my soul left my body and a demon got there instead. I took a pen-knife, opened it and cut one of his eyes from the socket!
When I got up in the morning and saw the poor thing, I didn’t feel pity. My soul became calm and soon the wine helped me to forget all memory of it.
The cat slowly recovered. Now he was ugly, but he no longer felt any pain. He went about the house as usual but always ran away when he saw me. At first I felt uneasy about the creature which had loved me so much. But soon this feeling changed to dislike and then to hatred. So one morning I put a rope about his neck and hung him on a tree. The tears were in my eyes but I finished the cruel thing.
On the night of the next day, I woke up by the cry of fire. The curtains of my bed were in flames. The whole house was on fire. With great difficulty my wife, a servant, and myself escaped from the place. My house was in ruins. Now I was a poor man.
Did the fire happen because of the cruel thing I had done? The next day I visited the ruins. All the walls had fallen in. The only wall left was the wall of my bedroom. I saw people in front of the wall who were looking at something there. I came near. On the wall there was a figure of a gigantic cat with a rope on its neck. I was terrified.
Continue reading «The Black Cat» (adapted for pre-intermediate) on the next page