The local burgesses, after reviewing the evidence and stories of the townspeople, decide to pass a law that forbids the killing of cats in Ulthar.
It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire.
For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see.
The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
In Ulthar, before ever the burgesses forbade the killing of cats, there dwelt an old cotter and his wife who delighted to trap and slay the cats of their neighbours.
In this short story, written in August 1921 and first published in November 1933, Atal, now an adult, becomes an apprentice to Barzai the Wise and travels with him to seek out the tale's eponymous deities.