The Poor Miller's Boy and the Kitten

(Der arme Müllerbursch und das Kätzchen )

GDR, 1970, 51 min, color
In German; no subtitles
Music (Score)


There once was a poor miller who had no children but only three apprentices to work for him. The two older boys were lazy, mean and stupid, but youngest was hard-working, friendly, and cheerful. When the miller grows too old to work, he send the boys out into the world. Whoever brings back the most beautiful horse will inherit the mill. 


When the two older boys leave the youngest behind, he meets a magic cat who promises to give him a beautiful horse after he completes three tasks: chop wood with a silver axe, cut down all the grass in the field, and finally, cut down trees and build the cat a home. He returns to the mill to wait for his reward, where he receives not only the horse, but some even better surprises as well!


An animated film based on the fairytale by the Brothers Grimm.


The DEFA animated version of this tale and its moral differ slightly from the Grimms’ version. In the Grimms’ tale, Hans must serve the cat for seven years and complete any number of tasks during that time, including the ones the cat gives him in the film. Also the moral of the story is changed. In the Grimms’ tale, Hans is considered stupid by the older boys, and his success at the end proves that even those who may seem stupid can turn out to be quite intelligent in the end. By introducing an evil character, a green and black cat who tries to tempt Hans with an easy way out, the DEFA version focuses on the theme of sticking to your word: “Versprochen ist versprochen” ("a promise is a promise") is the moral of this film. 


1971 Entered at the Summer Film Days


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