Dick Whittington is a character in a British folklore, very loosely based on Richard Whittington, a medieval merchant as well as Lord Mayor of London and a Member of Parliament. In this traditional story, Dick, a boy from a poor family, sets out for London to make his fortune, accompanied by his cat. They have a number of remarkable adventures along the way.
Bernie keeps a barn full of animals the rest of the world has no use for: two retired trotters, a rooster, some banty hens, and a Muscovy duck with clipped wings who calls herself The Lady. When the cat called Whittington shows up one day, it is to the Lady that he makes an appeal to secure a place in the barn. The Lady's a little hesitant at first, but when the cat claims to be a master ratter, that clinches it.